USPS will not ship coins? What's this all about?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Libby007, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. Libby007

    Libby007 Member

    Hello fellow CT members:

    I know this subject has been kicked around for years. However, this morning at my local Post Office I was told that USPS is no longer shipping “coins”; it’s on their “prohibited” list.

    I’m a small ancient coin dealer in Virginia. The majority of coins I sell are in the $300-$3,000 price range. I want to “insure” delivery and have the coins insured for full value in case of loss.

    In the past four years I have mailed 100’s of coins both domestically and internationally via the USPS.

    In the last nine months I have had two separate coins sales lost in transit – in the receiving country (Germany). Although I sent them Registered with declared value, I am told that “declared value” means nothing. Subsequently, USPS rent me refunds for the postage paid ($86. for both) but nothing for the value declared ($2,100).

    So now I’m in a rock/hard spot. How do I ship/mail my coins – domestically and internationally - so that they are insured for full value? I checked with UPS and was told that they will not ship ancient coins to Europe.

    So ….. ANY advice or “pointers” would be appreciated.

    Wash – Wash – Wash …. And stay healthy!
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  3. bcuda

    bcuda Supporter! Supporter

    I would try Fedex, Roma Numismatics uses them and they are fast getting here from England 2 days!
    ominus1, Theodosius and Alegandron like this.
  4. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Never heard of that.
  5. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    This happens quite a bit. In general USPS will not ship "coins" they equate that with sending cash. If you send them as numismatic items it will be fine. There are restrictions from ancients which you will need to check depending on what is being sent and the country, but also registered mail is not the way for international.

    Priority mail or express mail (though right now times aren't assured) is much better for that.

    Declare it as numismatic so they don't get confused that it was cash and use priority or express for it for international and just make sure there aren't country restrictions on the ancient coins. Domestically you should be fine.

    Declared value use the sale price and your sales receipt will be proof of the value as I have had to make claims with classic us coins before in this manner. It may get rejected initially but can be appealed and usually works.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I just checked the USPS site for restricted and prohibited items. Unless I missed something, or their site is not up-to-date, coins are not listed.
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Gee, I hope this is not the case. I suppose this could impact folks like @John Anthony or @fsrcoin - once in awhile I ship coins to other folks that are duplicates or LRB's that I have a lot of.
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I agree. I always had a little more hesitancy using USPS. I have been in the manufacturing industry for 40 years, and always used FedEx for important small shipments worldwide and domestic North America with virtually no problems (samples, pre-production prototypes, tooling, dies, small shipments, test items, raw materials, production proofs, etc.) The only real issues I truly encountered was when volcanoes would erupt or spew, grounding aircraft in affected areas (Alaska, and I believe in Iceland once). Sometimes other natural disasters, like Typhoons, or man-made disasters like government coups or terrorist activities. Nothing was lost in those cases, they were just delayed because of the issues. Yes, ANYone are going to make mistakes, and I have had a very few lost-in-space shipments - but that is over 40 years. However, FedEx always had the best track record for me. Customs was rarely a problem.

    I have / had FedEx accounts (different companies I was with). Use it. Track with it. Call them or email/text them. They see the volume you produce, and they will work with you to ensure you are a satisfied customer. I had a couple major personal coin shipments pending customs. They called me, handled my customs duties, took my CC info to ensure rapid shipment.

    Sometimes it is amazing to consider FedEx logistics: It takes me a minimum of 16 hours to fly to Asia from North America (actual flight time - not considering waiting in airports or personal transportation to and from airports). That is half-way around the globe. I can get FedEx shipments door-to-door, and through customs in less than 48 hours total time... yeah, 2 days, and that is going through a couple government bureaucracies' customs departments, paying some duties, fees, etc...

    Excellent service to me. USPS sometimes can hide behind the size and anonymity of their system to not get me answers...

    Hmm... coins: Many folks shipped me "tokens" as silver, gold, or bronze/brass.

    I believe Herr @panzerman is a big adherent to Postal Services and no description / minimal description quite successfully with most of his gold collection...

    Those are my thoughts and experiences.

    I like coins. I always think it is good to post them in any thread. That is why we are here...

    Here is a RR Heavy Denarius / Didrachm that looks like the silver content is being lessened due to it being struck after Hannibal destroyed several Roman Legions... in battle after battle, and Rome was hitting their lowpoint in History. Their Denarius was reformed to a smaller standard in 211 BCE.

    RR Anon AR Heavy Denarius Quadrigatus Didrachm 215-213 Janus Roma Relief tablet S 32 Cr 28-3
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  9. Libby007

    Libby007 Member

    Bing - The USPS clerk made it a point to show me the creen on here computer that states "coins" are prohibited. There in lies my conundrum.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  10. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    "Coins" as in cash not numismatic items. Fedex and UPS have greater restrictions insurance wise on them
    Deacon Ray likes this.
  11. Libby007

    Libby007 Member

    The ONLY problem with that approach is that in case of loss there would be no coverage because of miss-stateing the contents. Am I missing somethin here?
    Deacon Ray and Alegandron like this.
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Agreed. I think that is a risk that John takes, but it seems that it works well for him.
    Deacon Ray likes this.
  13. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Smiles, everyone! Supporter

    Interesting post @Libby007 ! I’ve sold some coins on eBay and labeled them “Vintage Hobby Supplies.”—probably not a good idea :confused:

    Alegandron likes this.
  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    When I ship coins, I describe them as "Antique Tokens". True enough where I believe I could make an insurance claim.
    Alegandron and Deacon Ray like this.
  15. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    I just went to the PO this morning and shipped a bunch of coins and even bought insurance on a few of the packages.
  16. David@PCC


    What the OP is saying is true for international shipping to many countries, and insuring coins beyond a nominal amount is not an option for USPS. shows what is prohibited in each country. For Germany:

    Coins; banknotes; currency notes, including paper money; securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler’s checks; platinum, gold, and silver; precious stones; jewelry; watches; and other valuable articles are prohibited in Priority Mail Express International shipments to Germany.

    Many countries have restrictions when importing coins.
    Deacon Ray likes this.
  17. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    FedEx is nice, but I have some major problems with it.

    Mainly, the price you see at the store or online is NOT always the price you actually pay. About 1 in 10 times I get billed more, sometimes significantly more, than the advertised price.

    Greatest offender was a label priced at $8.50 which was billed at over $25.

    Unless you’re fine with the element of surprise, I prefer USPS for its price guarantee.
  18. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Hmmm... Coins vs Tokens...

    Coins are currencies that can be used for buying and selling things. You can buy a token with a coin, but not vice versa. Coin operates independently, while token has a specific use in the project's ecosystem.

    So, since Ancient “Coins” are no longer used as a currency or in an economy system, are the actually coins anymore?
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  19. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Legally, I think not. After enough time hydrogen peroxide turns to water, so even though it used to be H2O2 how it’s just H2O
  20. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Legally ancient coins have BY FAR the most laws applicable to them especially when it comes to import/export as many countries have made national significance type laws to claim them and restrict their movement
  21. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    As a retired postal employee it sounds like a clerk heard or read something and in that employees mind it was exactly what they told the OP. I would suggest that @Libby007 call their local post office and speak to the postmaster to straighten this out.
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