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Old Aug 22, 10, 9:34 am   #1
 
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Can I fly with gold coins/bullion?

I need to move a quantity of gold from a safe deposit box in one state to another. I could send it registered mail but they limit insurance to $25k, so it would be more than a dozen shipments. And I have the problem of timing, since I would need to be in one state to ship and another to accept the shipment.

Anybody know if I can carry on, say 100 or 200 ounces of gold coins/bars each time I fly? (Gold is currently $1,225 per ounce) Any money laundering laws I need to worry about? TSA restrictions?

This is strictly domestic US, no international movement.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 9:37 am   #2
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Originally Posted by modern View Post

Anybody know if I can carry on, say 100 or 200 ounces of gold coins/bars each time I fly? (Gold is currently $1,225 per ounce) Any money laundering laws I need to worry about? TSA restrictions?

This is strictly domestic US, no international movement.
TSA has no authority over cash or precious metals. As long as you don't melt your bars down into something that resembles a gun, you can tell them to go pound sand.

If the cops talk to you, our nation's disgusting money laundering laws/RICO might come into play. Consult an attorney about how to prove that this gold is yours, should Sheriff Lobo decide to try to take you off.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 10:08 am   #3
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I would be concerned about screener theft - too many sticky fingers around. Besides that, they could scream for the police and get them involved.

Technically, you are free to move as much money as you want through the airport. If traveling outside the country, Customs requires you to declare anything over 10k, but that does NOT mean taking or bringing cash or equivalents over 10k is illegal, contrary to some of the ridiculous comments posted by screeners in this forum. You just need to file a form (on the way out), or check your customs declaration on the way in.

Unfortunately, asset forfeiture laws are used by cops to confiscate pretty much anything they want - forcing you to prove the valuable belongs to you and was not acquired through, or involved in an illegal transaction. If the screeners call over the cops, you're now at their mercy if they decide to confiscate the gold.

It would help to know which airport you're flying from, as that would help color the risk level.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 10:12 am   #4
 
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If you have that much gold then I suggest you contract out a private courier to transport the gold for you, or charter a private plane.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 10:22 am   #5
 
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A private flight does not make economic sense. I do have a Marquis Jet card (I use it mostly for shorter hard to fly to places, like Jackson to Palo Alto, or Santa Fe to Santa Monica), but this would be a 4-5 hour flight, so roughly $25-30k. Brinks Armored will move it also, but I expect the cost, while lower, will still be fairly high.

Simplest thing would be to carry as much I can handle (damn stuff is heavy!) each time I fly out. I can bring my purchase receipts, maybe that would help if the police get involved.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 10:31 am   #6
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Originally Posted by modern View Post

Simplest thing would be to carry as much I can handle (damn stuff is heavy!) each time I fly out. I can bring my purchase receipts, maybe that would help if the police get involved.
Again, consult an attorney, preferably one who specializes in asset seizure/forfeiture laws.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 10:48 am   #7
 
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Drive!

The only practical way to move the gold would be to drive it yourself.
Maybe rent a nice car, and see some of the country.

This is the only real way to avoid a possible national incident.

My advise would be stay the f* away from any airport with gold. It cannot possibly turn out well!
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Old Aug 22, 10, 11:15 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Wimpie View Post
The only practical way to move the gold would be to drive it yourself.
I'm actually shipping a car out there in the next few weeks via an enclosed car carrier. I thought of hiding the gold within it, would be easy as gold is quite compact. Decided that was not a good idea!

Driving it myself has it's own problems. Leave it in the hotel room when I go to dinner? Lug it along?
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Old Aug 22, 10, 11:21 am   #9
 
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I'm actually shipping a car out there in the next few weeks via an enclosed car carrier. I thought of hiding the gold within it, would be easy as gold is quite compact. Decided that was not a good idea!

Driving it myself has it's own problems. Leave it in the hotel room when I go to dinner? Lug it along?
Bring your own food and a handgun. eat in the hotel room.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 11:36 am   #10
 
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A dozen registered mail shipments seems like much less inconvenience than the other options discussed - and that's before you even consider risk.

If you can fly and take 100-200 ounces with you, then surely you can equally send several packages by mail, fly, and then be present to receive at the other end ?

I also agree with those who suggest consulting an attorney with asset seizure expertise. Although less likely to be a problem if mailing the gold, could still be an issue.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 12:05 pm   #11
 
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Have you checked into a Licensed insured private carrier?
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Old Aug 22, 10, 12:15 pm   #12
 
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Bring your own food and a handgun. eat in the hotel room.
What do they call that? The "American Dream"?
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Old Aug 22, 10, 12:21 pm   #13
 
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I will carry it for you !
I'll even buy my own air ticket.....
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Old Aug 22, 10, 12:33 pm   #14
 
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Hundreds of coin dealers fly every few months to attend coin shows with millions of dollars in hand-carried coins/currency/bullion. (I'm a currency buff myself)

Coin forum threads about first-hand dealer experiences differ greatly from the "doom & gloom" guessing in this one. I'm sure there are many stories of Ma & Pa losing their rare coins and such during bag checks to opportunistic thugs. However, I don't recall any stories about coin dealers having the same theft issues with TSA. I'm sure that going in with a large "inventory", knowing what to expect, and requesting a controlled search environment differentiates you. As long as you hand-carry, and nothing of value is checked in, you should be fine.

Travel with a friend, if you can, and bring all of your valuables as carry-on. Its usually possible to get the X-Ray operator's attention, and then to let him know the bag you're about to send through will need a private screening. If you're pretty paranoid, ask that at least one of the screeners checking your bag to be a lead. Two screeners will be in the room with you, and you and your travel companion should have a clear line of sight on both of them as they go through your things. When they're finished, let them know you'd like to repack yourself, and do a mini-inventory of all your belongings before you leave.

Here's a good read on the subject, if you have the time. It's a little dated, (FAA regulation number #108.9???), but the general information is still relevant. Flying Wise: Security in the Skies.
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Old Aug 22, 10, 12:36 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by deadpass View Post
If you have that much gold then I suggest you contract out a private courier to transport the gold for you, or charter a private plane.
This is a very good suggestion.
Judging from recent trends, a TSO might decide that you are divorcing your spouse and running off with the proceeds, or some other bewildering fantasy. A charter flight out of General Aviation will give privacy, no bag check, and peace of mind.
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