I'm trying to send a sword from Ireland to England, does anyone know a courier company that will handle swords? I've tried UPS, DHL, Fedex, and TNT so far and just got a flat no from them all. Cheers.


Spent a good bit of time looking for a courier today, can't find any company willing to ship it. So if anyone knows a company who will I'd really appreciate it. If it's not possible to send a sword out of Ireland how can anyone here get anything done with their sword?

Hi, Good question as I'll be


Good question as I'll be sending a sword out of Ireland soon too. I don't know any working options, but as a backup you may try shipping it out of Northern Ireland - there should be less problems there. If in doubt, I know few people (living up North) who did it few times.


I've tried all the main

I've tried all the main companies here and not one will even consider it. None of them will ship antiques, never mind swords. I've been on to specialist courier companies. If any of them work out I'll let you know. One crowd wanted £200 to ship it uninsured. I'm amazed it's such a issue, and it's certainly a problem. I'd people lined up in England to do work for me.


Hi Adam,

Any luck with finding a courier? I will be shipping a sword to Japan soon, so I'll let you know if I find a suitable option. Any additional information would be appreciated.


Getting there

I've a few options now, after so many phone calls and emails I've lost count. Nightline said they'd ship it uninsured, though I wouldn't be surprised if they changed their mind if I phoned again, €36 to the UK. Irish Art Couriers will take it, and it would be insured but it works out to nearly €300.
The only other people were Wells Cargo, €180 uninsured. Not great options really. I don't have great faith in couriers as I've have had things lost and damaged in the past, so I'm not keen on sending it uninsured but €300 is a lot for a quick hop over to England. All the big companies won't ship antiques and the antique shippers (mailboxes) I got on to didn't want to ship a weapon. If you're willing to take a risk on no insurance you might find someone to do it for less than an arm and a leg, but otherwise I'd look to art couriers. Maybe the To-ken society in the UK would know how to get a sword to Japan from there but you'd still have the problem of getting it from Ireland to the UK. I'm amazed how difficult this is proving to be. I'm still waiting to hear back from a few companies so I'll let you know if I find any other options.

Good to know

Thanks Adam, that's very helpful. I got few numbers to call next week too. Will let you know how it goes. I've been advised (for a number of reasons including tax implications in Japan) to insure the sword separately (i.e. buy a international personal property cover) and ship it with more modest insurance options. This can be an attractive option for you too in terms of insurance, because you may already have an 'all risks' cover in your home insurance, and most of the local insurers have UK covered this way as far as I can tell.

I think it's a reasonably new thing about great difficulties with shipping swords, and it's a worldwide trend, unfortunately. I expect it only to get worse in the medium term. It's driven by airlines and tighter security measures as far as I know.


I forgot to mention:

I forgot to mention: depending on the age/quality of the sword you are trying to ship and its condition it may not necessarily qualify as a 'weapon'. Definitions like 'weapon' and 'sword' scare couriers away which may be an understandable reaction if we are talking about gunto and shinkens, but for antique swords the typical declaration would be 'original antique Japanese art work, over 100 years old' or something like that.

Also, just out of interest,

Also, just out of interest, have you tried calling An Post Express Post and International Courier Service? They are in the list of EMS operators ( and EMS is still shipping swords (at least INTO Ireland, through An Post).

I did try to get insurance

I did try to get insurance for it, the quote I got was €280 to cover it for the trip only. Most house insurance policies don't cover antiques at all (as I found out). If you find a policy that works will you let me know? I’m going to try Chubb insurance in the morning.

An Post say on their site the won’t ship art or antiques.

I tried to explain to a few different people I was talking to that it’s art, but they didn’t really care. No-one, apart from the companies that were willing to take it, have been in anyway helpful, they just don’t want the hassle.

It might be a different story in the UK, more companies and more used to unusual items, but the couriers and insurers I spoke to seemed completely thrown by the mention of an antique japanese sword.

Hi,Recently wanted to send a

Hi,Recently wanted to send a sword from UK to New Zealand.Contacted all the major couriers but all said Flight cargo do not allow swords/knives etc !!! In desperation contacted TNT.First they said NO then asked if I was a business.I said YES so they said was I sending to another business? I said Yes again.You can then use their TNT Direct Internet booking service as their OWN Cargo planes do the flights so no worry of Hijacks by Ninja.Fair prices and you only have to give them a "business name" (e.g.W.H. Exports)and usual contact details and business name of receiver(FJ Imports) again with contact details.Sword got to NZ in 6 days!!!Hope this may help.

Thanks for that. One question

Thanks for that. One question though, was it insured? That's where I'm stuck at the moment, the cost to send it properly insured is massive. In fairness I don't see why it should cost so much to insure a courier against loosing or mishandling something!

Thanks John, that's very

Thanks John, that's very interesting!


So far it's not so good. I made a couple of calls today:


I rang An Post and asked them about their Express Post/International Courier service. They were very helpful, asked lots of questions and contacted some office in London (I guessed it's their closest mail exchange). Unfortunately they came back with a 'no' answer.

I will try few specialist couriers tomorrow.


FBD said they don't do antiques. I went though other major insurers' websites and I couldn't find any related covers on offer.

I sent an enquiry to one UK company who seem to have some interesting insurance options - will give you an update once I get something from them.

I also found another worldwide insurer, rang their London office but they said they don't do personal property insurance in the UK and I need to contact their office in States. I did but it was lunch break down there - will try them tomorrow.

While I've found a few people

While I've found a few people willing to take it uninsured the only people willing to ship and insure are art couriers, and although it's expensive it looks like it will be cheaper than insuring it myself. I'd also have a reasonable degree of faith that they will get it there safely.

Maybe it is cheaper to take

Maybe it is cheaper to take an Easyjet flight, drop it off and have a pint and some fish and chips for a few days..?

Hi,No,they would not cover it

Hi,No,they would not cover it for insurance as it seemed the "antique" element worried them.I had double checked by phone with their International section and they were quite happy that "Japanese swords" were shippable uninsured but I always get the feeling with these firms that it depends who you talk to at the time and I will be very cautious about shipping swords overseas again.Also,I checked that NZ had no bans on such items as it seems the gates are shut in many countries now.All very sad for the genuine enthusiasts like myself.

Two options

Finally think I've explored all the options and I'm left with two. Nightline for €36 not insured, Irish Art Couriers for €300 insured. Got on to Ryanair and they said I wouldn't be able to have it in checked baggage, so going over myself wont work, and it would have been uninsured while it was in their hands anyway. So I can take a gamble or cover myself at significant cost, neither is a great option really. Don't know what it would cost to send to Japan with an art courier but could be the best way.

Thanks Adam, For your

Thanks Adam,

For your information, a friend of mine was in contact with Aer Lingus in February and they confirmed they will be able to take the sword in checked baggage (and they agreed to it in writing). I'd say it will depend who you are talking to, but it's a route worth exploring.

After exhausting other options I contacted Night Flight ( and they agreed to ship the sword to Japan, insured. Both shipping and insurance are expensive (on par with the numbers you mentioned), but this option also brings additional reassurance that the item will arrive safely to destination as I used this service before.