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International shipping of coins: USA to Australia

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Pillar of the Community
United States
4000 Posts
 Posted 04/03/2011  7:50 pm Show Profile Check Jaobler's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add Jaobler to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I'm hoping for some good advice. According to the USPS I could ship a small, flat-rate priority box (up to 4 lbs) to Australia for about $14. However, they have a "Country Conditions for Mailing - Australia" information page that specifically lists coins as a "prohibited" item for mailing to Australia. That would appear to put the kibosh on any plan to send a few coins to the land down under.

Does anyone have a legal work-around that would let me ship a few inexpensive coins to Oz?

Thanks!

Pillar of the Community
United States
1231 Posts
 Posted 04/03/2011  8:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add onejinx to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
List them as numismatic items, or round metal discs
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Australia
11236 Posts
 Posted 04/03/2011  10:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The problem is entirely at the USPS end, a misunderstanding of badly-worded anti-money-laundering regulations laid down by Australian Customs. Neither Australian Customs nor Australia Post has any problem with importing coins into Australia.

I agree with onejinx and suggest "Numismatic items". If you happen to run into a postal clerk that knows what "numismatic" means and tells you they can't accept it for shipping to Australia for that reason, try to find a less well-informed clerk at a different post office.

If that still doesn't work, try using "collectables" or "machined metal discs".
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Pillar of the Community
United States
1381 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2011  01:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Darth Anarchus to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've seen that for other countries as well... The USPS sounds like it needs to wake up. Money laundering isn't a couple pennies or dollars... Thanks for the thread Jaobler, and the info guys, I was almost scared of mailing coins out of country for that reason...
Pillar of the Community
Australia
8885 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2011  03:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
'Machined metal discs' show up exactly as they are supposed to on x-ray.

I have seen exactly this sort of description on customs declarations for numismatic items sent from the 'States.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
2819 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2011  07:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Peter THOMAS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
sorry to disagree with you Sap -

Australia Post's Dangerous and Prohibited Goods and Packaging Post Guide 2009
at page 7: SECTION 1 -- QUICK REFERENCE TO COMMON PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED ARTICLES
The following is a list of some common articles and substances prohibited or restricted in all or some
Australia Post services. ...
[page 9] Valuables (coins, securities, jewels, etc) Restricted in International Post.
See D4.12. See packing requirements at D10.17.

[page 15] SECTION 3 -- OTHER GOODS PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED IN ALL SERVICES
D3.0 -- General principles
This section defines articles that, while not necessarily dangerous, Australia Post prohibits in all
services, or carries only with specific restrictions or conditions. ...
D3.2 -- Banknotes and Coins
Banknotes are currency notes that are legal tender in the country of issue. Australian notes of
whatever age, currency or denomination are legal tender within Australia.
Coins are coinage in either Australian or foreign currency and includes coins made from precious
metals whether or not such coins have a denomination.
Australia Post prohibits banknotes or currency notes and coins:
♦ in the International Post
♦ in all services within Australia except Registered Post.
In Registered Post within Australia, Australia Post accepts banknotes or coins to a maximum face
value of $A200 in any one consignment. However, Australia Post accepts no liability for the loss of
or damage to any such notes or coins.
D3.3 -- Bullion
Bullion is lump or bulk metal, pure or impure, refined or unrefined.
Bullion includes ingots but excludes manufactured items, such as jewellery.
Australia Post prohibits bullion in all services.

[page 17] D4.2 -- National heritage items
Australia Post prohibits in the International Post all national heritage items, unless the sender
produces a permit from the Minister for the Commonwealth Department of Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts.
National heritage items are objects of heritage significance that are deemed so important or rare that
their export would represent an irreplaceable cultural loss to Australia. They include: ...
♦ works of art, books, documents, maps, diaries, stamps, coins and furniture ...

http://auspost.com.au/media/documen...st-guide.pdf

I think these rules are most likely directed at minimizing claims against OzPost, rather than any higher purpose.

In spite of those rules, I have received hundreds of packages via mail, from within Oz and overseas, including from USA, UK, France, Turkey, and others (mostly European, now I think of it).

Back to the OP:
UPS are hopeless. I have no experience of FedEx.
USPS 1st Class is the quickest and most cost-effective way of moving small parcels from USA to Oz.

Peter

Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
1183 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2011  08:12 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add kena to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So if coins can't legally be sent in the post in Australia, how does the Royal Australian mint fulfil their domestic and international orders?

On their web site, it says:

Orders will be dispatched within 21 working days of an order being processed and 30 working days for international orders.
CCF member Member Since: 07/27/2008
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Australia
11236 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2011  09:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
No, Peter, those are the "badly-worded anti-money-laundering regulations" I was talking about. Technically, those regulations are aimed at people sending stuff within and from Australia, and should have no bearing on imported items at all. The Cultural Heritage section, in particular, deals with exporting coins, not importing them (and, assuming the Minister hasn't recently added your particular coins to the Protected Schedule, then the threshold for a "culturally significant" coin is Au$15,000 - and if at least two public institutions already own one each, then it is deemed no longer significant. Scroll down to Section 7 of the Schedule).

Part of the problem I suppose is laying down rules about something as ephemeral and opinion-based as the "collectable value" of what is legally just a piece of money. And of course if they actually did include a loophole in the regulations for "collectable coins", all the drug dealers, criminal gangs and other money-launderers would suddenly become "coin and banknote collectors" in order to exploit the loophole.

This section appears to have been added in acknowledgement that people were in fact mailing collectable coins and notes to each other:

Quote:
In Registered Post within Australia, Australia Post accepts banknotes or coins to a maximum face
value of $A200 in any one consignment. However, Australia Post accepts no liability for the loss of
or damage to any such notes or coins.

I assume "A$200" was chosen because at the time the regulation was written, the highest face value collectable coin was $200. It talks about "face value" as if it were mere money being sent, but then denies liability for "damage". If people were simply mailing money around, "damage" would be irrelevant. It's only coin collectors that insist that their money be delivered undamaged. Nobody else cares.

It's not Australia Post's job to police incoming mail for illegal and prohibited items; that's Australian Customs' job. And Australian Customs makes no mention of coins or money of any kind on their list of prohibited items - I thought they did, but if they used to, they don't seem to anymore. But it's because Australia Post has that in it's regulations on outgoing mail, USPS has imposed a blanket ban on posting coins to Australia.

The topic's been a point of debate for longer than this forum's been around; see here, here and here, among other threads on the forum, for some previous discussion on the subject.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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Australia
11236 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2011  09:57 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
So if coins can't legally be sent in the post in Australia, how does the Royal Australian mint fulfil their domestic and international orders?

By breaking Australia Post regulations, of course. We should also be clear that posting coins isn't "illegal", in the sense of criminal activity - these aren't laws - they're regulations. The only people saying that mailing coins within Australia is prohibited is Australia Post.

Furthermore, Australia Post breaks its own regulations when it sells coins on behalf of the Mints. Talk about the left hand doing what the right hand said was against regulations to do.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Pillar of the Community
United States
1006 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2011  11:19 pm  Show Profile Check matchbox's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add matchbox to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have sent coins to and received coins from Australia many times without any problems through the mail. On the customs label I always list the contents as "coin collecting supplies". This is all news to me.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
641 Posts
 Posted 04/07/2011  9:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Yass to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was the instigator of Jaobler's topic. I have never had any problems with receiving coins from anywhere. Customs labels have ranged from hobby supplies (my preferred), machined discs, numismatic materials and simply "coins". IMHO the first two are the best, numismatic may be problematic and 'Coins' should be a no-no. Why save the thieves time and effort in identifying the contents of a parcel. Our respective mailing organisations can lose our packages without our additional help. LOL
Pillar of the Community
Australia
641 Posts
 Posted 04/07/2011  9:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Yass to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, and by the way, the US Mint has no difficulty in sending me their product (apart from the US postal service requiring a physical address and not a PO box)
Pillar of the Community
United States
4000 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  10:16 pm  Show Profile Check Jaobler's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Jaobler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
FYI, Yass received his machined metal discs about one week after mailing, no problems. Good to know!
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