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Customs Tips

Item # 65767 - Fifty-three Stations of Tokaido (Hoeido) - Arai - Sold for $200 - 7/5/2015
"Tokaido Goju-san Tsugi no Uchi; Minakuchi" (Fifty-three Stations of Tokaido). Arai.

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By Hiroshige Ando 1797-1858

artelino is located in Germany. But our customers are from all over the world, and we ship worldwide to countries from A like Austria to Z like New Zealand. This page tries to give you some information about possible import duties, taxes or charges for your country, based on our experience of numerous shipments since our foundation in 2001.

Please note that this page is in no way a legal advisor. The content of this page has been compiled with care and to the best of our knowledge. However, we cannot assume any liability for the up-to-dateness, completeness or accuracy of the information of this page.


The overwhelming majority of our clients - like our customers from the USA or the European Union - are not affected by customs duties, taxes or charges. If your shipment destination is the United States of America or a member state of the European Union, you can stop reading here.

But some destination countries like Switzerland or Norway may impose import duties, taxes, or charges when you import goods like Japanese or Chinese art prints. These additional charges are not included in our item price or shipping fee and are the buyer’s responsibility. Please check with your country’s customs office to determine what these additional costs will be.

The Good News

The good news is that for most of our clients no customs fees and no customs clearance is required at all.

And the second good news: For those destination countries that have customs requirements for the import of your art goods, we at artelino provide you with all documents that even a grumpy customs employee could ask you for.

In a nutshell, your import should not cause any major problems.

Some Information by Country

Let me take a closer look at customs practice for our main export destinations.

United States of America

Dear Americans, you can stop reading here. No custom fees, and no import restrictions when you buy from us. God bless your nation. Your administrations have been smarter than those of other nations. They do not put any obstacles in your way when you import Japanese or Chinese art prints into the USA.

And thus it comes that the best art museums for European art are today in the USA, like the Moma in NY or the famous Barnes Collection.

European Union

When your destination country is a member of the European Union like the UK, France, Italy or Austria, artelino generates your invoice with VAT and charges you including the VAT sales tax. artelino acts as a kind of sales tax collection office. You pay the German VAT and this is it for you.

Our shipment is delivered directly to you by your shipper, usually the National Postal Service. No customs involved, not in any way. That's the advantage of the EU market, and you guys from Austria, France or the Netherlands can stop reading here.


Canada is different from the USA, and has to our knowledge customs fees imposed when you import goods of art. For rates and details please check your local customs authorities.


Sorry, dear Swiss, but among all countries that we serve, Swiss customs is presumably the most austere country for import of art goods, judging from the feedback of our clients.

Many years ago we had a client in Switzerlands, a collector and professional dealer. He used to compare Swiss customs with the prosecution of the Christians in old Rome. I am sure that was a bit exaggerated. We have never heard that one of our Swiss customers was thrown into the lions compound of the Zuerich zoo.

Jokes aside. What may make Swiss customs clearance more difficult, is the fact that Switzerland makes a difference in taxation for art goods younger/older than 100 years. And Switzerland has a law about the import and export of cultural properties, the Cultural Property Transfer Act.

And therefore Swiss customs may ask you for detailed specifications of the art goods like name of the artist, measures of the art work and especially the age of the art work.

But no problem with your import of Japanese or Chinese prints from artelino. You have everything you need for customs clearance. The invoice is included inside the package plus attached outside in a plastic envelope. And inside the package you find our certificates for each art object in the package. it contains the same description plus a little image as you know it from our auction catalogs.

Important: In case that any of these papers should have gone lost, you can print invoice(s) and certificates from your account. See below for detailed instructions.


Norway is not an EU member state and the import of Japanese or Chinese prints bought from us is subject to customs taxation. Like Switzerland you may be asked about the age of the art goods - older than 100 years old. Please read on bottom which documents artelino provides and how you can print additional copies from your account login if required.

Other Non-EU Countries

Other typical destination countries for our shipments outside the European Union are Australia, Japan, Hongkong, Singapur or New Zealand. We have not heard about any major customs related problems from our clients for these countries. Please check for your local customs regulations.

Documents Provided by artelino

We ship your art objects with 2 invoice copies. One is included inside the package and the second one is attached outside in a plastic slip. Inside the package is a certificate for each art object. It contains everything we know about the Japanese or Chinese art print including the presumed age of first publication, provided we know it. The certificate is basically identical with the detailed description that you know from our auction catalogs.

How to Print More Copies from Your Account Login

In case you should need additional copies of invoices or certificates, you can print them yourself. Log to your account and select ORDERS from the menu. Click on the little printer icon. For certificates select MY COLLECTION and click on the little printer icon from the catalog listing.

Dieter WanczuraAuthor: Dieter Wanczura