Any updates from the OP?
Our company does tons of shipping, so from experience, the biggest issue is going to be size and not the weight, as previously stated. Is there any chance Jack is even partially articulated to cut down on what the ultimate packing dimensions will be? Those hands and knees are killers. Even better would be the option to have him disassembled, but from the picture, it looks like that’s not going to happen.
In addition to the 6-sided crating method, there are also palleting options in shipping, where a product gets packed up with traditional materials then tied down to a pallet. It would take a lot of time and materials to do properly, which you may be willing to take on but the seller/shipper has to do right as well. Those fingers and jacket tails would probably need to be wrapped in bubble sheets and the whole thing boxed (reinforced) and filled pretty tightly with peanuts. Something like shredded foams or shredded polystyrene would fill it more densely, but Jack would be shedding for a LONG time
Some boxes are too big for palleting though, which is probably going to be an issue if he can’t be moved or disassembled. If they can take it, UPS would be cheaper, but you may have more flexibility in size with common carriers and LTL shipping, however the price wouldn’t likely be as good. It’ll probably take calls and back and forth with different companies to see what they will and will not do.
All this being said, I don’t think people have been wrong in their shipping estimates unfortunately. Honestly, if you have the time, the U-Haul idea may be enough of a savings to make it worth your while, or you could even toss it in the back of a large SUV. You’d also have the assurance that it’s packed and handled the right way. It would make it an even better conversation piece too!
“... Remember that time I drove 1,400 miles to get this thing?”