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Smart-Guard, a new way to pack, ship and store fine art
Smart-Guard is a sturdy, re-usable and economical fine art packing system that just hit the market.

PALM BEACH, FLA.- Fine art dealers and collectors who are tired of the worry and hassle of shipping their treasured pieces using bubble-wrap, packing tape and Styrofoam will be relieved to know there’s a better, safer, cheaper (and greener) way. Smart-Guard is a sturdy, re-usable fine art packing system that just hit the market, having secured a patent and registered trademark.

Users place their artwork between two protective panels, which are then secured using hook-and-loop closures around the perimeter. That is placed into an appropriately sized vacuum bag, into which a desiccant pouch is placed. The bag is sealed using a zipper pull, and air is removed from the Smart-Guard system using a vacuum pump (or vacuum cleaner). After that, just box and ship.

To view a brief YouTube video clip about Smart-Guard, please visit

Smart-Guard is the brainchild of John Prayias, who invented the product quite by accident and with no background in the fine art world. His late wife, Adele, was the owner of Adele Prayias Fine Art and her years of shipping art for her business and personal use between Florida, New York and Connecticut inspired John to see the need for simple, safe and economical packaging.

“I was in the restaurant business, but every Tuesday I drove my wife from Greenwich to New York City, to go to auction galleries and art galleries to buy for her business,” Mr. Prayias said. “As we became more and more involved in the art world, we found ourselves shipping fine art from time to time, as well as receiving art from other dealers. And let me tell you, it was a pain.”

Not only was it a time-consuming and laborious chore – wrestling with the bubble wrap, paper and tape – but then came the worry that the artwork would arrive in one piece. Years passed – and so did Mrs. Prayias – but it took the shock of a cost estimate to ship the couple’s sizable art collection from New York to Florida that led to John’s epiphany and the birth of Smart-Guard.

“The price the mover gave me was so outrageous, I decided to crate three of the more valuable pieces and pack the rest myself, using bubble wrap and tape,” John said. “It took three days and three people to pack the art. Then, when the art arrived at my new home in Palm Beach, it took another three days to unpack it. After it was all over, I was left with a big mountain of garbage.”

He hung as many paintings as he could in his two-bedroom apartment and decided to put the rest into storage. But he quickly learned that art storage was expensive, too, so he opted to place all the paintings into temporary storage. Then one day he noticed all the overhead sprinklers in the storage facility. “That’s great in case of a fire, not so great for the fine art if they go off,” he said.

The whole experience led John to experiment with different methods of quickly, securely and safely packing, shipping and storing fine art. The result was Smart-Guard. “Now, every artwork, no matter how valuable, can be crated and stored safely, at a fraction of the cost. It’s quick and easy, with no mess or waste, and the artwork is protected from sprinklers, bumps, dirt and more.”

High-end art galleries are already using Smart-Guard to wrap fine art for their customers. One customer recently transported a Picasso worth millions from his restorer using Smart-Guard. Mr. Prayias, in developing the product, wrapped an artwork using the Smart-Guard system and put it in his bathtub, filled with water and secured in place with bricks, for days. It stayed perfectly dry.

Practically speaking, the purchase of a Smart-Guard system pays for itself over time. It’s sturdy, it’s reusable, and it’s far better for the environment than Styrofoam packing peanuts or plastic bubble wrap that can’t even be recycled in many communities and remains in the landfill, intact, for decades or even centuries. And the time saved in packing and unpacking art is immeasurable.

Smart-Guard is currently available in two sizes, with panels of 26 inches by 30 inches and 32 inches by 36 inches. A third size is on the way; it will be the largest size permissible via UPS before being considered “freight”. Panels, dessicant bags and vacuum bags can be purchased separately or in package price deals. The Smart-Guard vacuum pump has a price tag of $29.95.

The panels are made from an impact-resistant, double-layer rigid corrugated material with foam layering that protects artwork. The heavy duty Velcro tabs enclose and secure artwork between the panels. The industrial strength sealed outer bag protects the artwork from dust and moisture.

The moisture-absorbent desiccant pouch guards the artwork against moisture and humidity damage during transport or long-term storage. Information about contents and instructions can be easily applied to the package with the adhesive-backed content labels included with each order. For buy-American fans, all Smart-Guard systems are made and assembled in the United States.

To recap, Smart-Guard is a reusable system that eliminates the need to buy disposable art packaging materials, saving money and saving the environment every time it is used. Smart-Guard offers modern protection from water, dampness, temporary flooding, mold and mildew and impact damage. It protects a person’s investment in fine art and gives them peace of mind.

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