How to Safely, Securely, and Affordably Ship Coins March 03 2014
As an affirmed numismatic addict, I purchase a large number of coins from eBay every month. Whenever I receive a new package or envelope in the mail, I cross my fingers hoping that the seller managed to ship the coins safely and securely. Unfortunately, A+ shipping seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I’ve received many a coin taped directly to a piece of paper or just haphazardly thrown in an envelope – it’s a miracle that more of them haven’t ended up damaged.
I’ve decided to write this guide in order to share some of my own methods for mailing coins – after nearly a decade of selling on eBay and other websites, I’ve yet to receive negative feedback for a coin that’s been damaged in transit. Shipping coins securely doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. If you use my method, you can all-but-guarantee that your coins will travel across the country and arrive unharmed, for a cost of about $2.
First off, buy yourself some flips. If you toss your coin into a plastic baggie or straight into the envelope you run the risk of adding hairlines and scratches as the coin slides around in transit. While I always recommend buying archival quality non-PVC flips, nearly any type of Mylar or cardboard flip will do as long as it protects the surfaces of the coin.
Once I’ve got the coin in a flip, I then place it in a corrugated cardboard Safe-T-Mailer and seal it up. These mailers add a further protective barrier around the coin, shielding the coin from dings or dents and preventing the coin flip from sliding around in the envelope. You can encase one or multiple coin flips within a single Safe-T-Mailer. As a disclaimer, I am not promoting this product on behalf of the company that makes them. I honestly believe that it’s a great tool for shipping coins, but I’m sure there are similar products out there that accomplish the same job just as well.
For my envelopes, I go with size #000 bubble envelopes. These are the smallest standardized size of bubble envelopes out there, but they’re just big enough to fit a Safe-T-Mailer with a few coins inside. I’d be comfortable shipping up to maybe 4 or 5 ounces within one of these guys – after that, you’re probably going to want to upgrade. A single Morgan dollar weighs in at less than an ounce, so 4 ounces is a lot of coins. At that point, you may want to look into a Priority Mail flat rate box.
You can buy both the bubble envelopes and Safe-T-Mailers in bulk, which significantly cuts down on the cost. I would estimate that I spend about 25 cents on packaging for each coin I ship. Unless a buyer requests otherwise, I send the coins via USPS First Class Mail (2-5 business days). If you’re selling through eBay, you can buy postage online and print out USPS labels from the eBay website. If not, you can do the same thing at www.paypal.com/shipnow. The current cost of a 3 ounce or less envelope with tracking number included is $1.93. That means that my total cost for shipping is just over $2, a very reasonable cost to pass onto my buyers. And for higher-value coins, I can comfortably absorb the cost myself and offer free shipping.
If you use my shipping method, you’ll make your buyers happy in more ways than one. The packaging not only protects the coins, but also helps present your buyers with an image of competence and trustworthiness. If a person receives two identical coins, one taped to the inner side of an envelope and one securely packaged with a tracking number, they’re going to look more favorably on the seller who shipped the coin well. It’s a simple method, but it can make a world of difference.