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Flying With Gold Coins: TSA Rules & Requirements5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Traveling is one of the most common activities for retired individuals. The convenience of traveling on a plane beats every other method. Today I’ll discuss at length what it takes for you to travel with gold or silver coins safely via plane. These traveling with gold situations way occur more frequently than you think.

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For example, you’ve been on vacation and you’ve found a great pawn shop specialized in your favorite vintage gold coins or perhaps the French 20 Franc. You’ve bought five of these at an incredible price, and now you need to fly back home with them. Here’s some advice that will help you travel safely with gold coins.

How To Fly With Gold Coins

Here are the most important things you need to be cognizant of when traveling with gold coins in your possession. Yes, that means in your luggage, your carry-on bag, or your personal physical possession aka pockets. 

Be Upfront

There is no law forbidding or restricting you from traveling with gold coins across state lines in the United States of which are valued at less than $1 million. The essential thing to note is not to sneak by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoints thinking you can smuggle the coins.

Instead, you should take the smart approach and report your coins before the TSA agents discover them. If you try to hide them and get caught, you’ll get a fine for transporting goods in cash equivalent to $10,000 without declaring them. 

By reporting your gold coin cargo at least 24 hours before you are to depart, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of headaches, time, and money. You should call the TSA service at the airport you are to depart from and announce that you’ll be carrying gold coins with you.

Now, at no point in time does it ever really make sense to travel with half a million dollars and definitely not a million or more. However, in gold coins that have a high value, it’s reasonable to assume one may travel with them.

Have Your Receipt Ready

As with any other item of value, you need to have proper documentation when traveling with gold or silver coins. The proper documentation is necessary to prove that you are the rightful owner of the gold coins, and you should always keep the receipt with you. It is a means to prove that you’ve paid for your gold coins, and you have the right to carry these with you across state lines.

Request A Private Screening

Even if you announce to the TSA agents that you will be traveling with gold coins, there is no guarantee that each TSA agent on duty will be aware of your cargo. The gold coins will show up on the X-ray machine and raise suspicion with the TSA agent checking your cargo.

If the TSA agent is going to inspect your bag, you need to ask for a private screening room. This way, the TSA agent will open your bag, the contents and other passengers will not get a good view of your gold coins.

Warning: Don’t Put the Coins in Your Checked Bags

Never leave your items of value in your checked bags, which is especially important for gold coins. There is a real chance that the airline will lose your luggage, and even though this does not happen often, it is still a real possibility.

Of course, if you put your gold coins in your checked luggage and the luggage goes missing, you risk losing your coins. It is not rare for items to go missing from checked bags, as TSA gets thousands of claims about missing items.

There is no way to know who took the item from a checked bag, so to avoid risking the loss of your gold coins, don’t leave them in your checked bag. Instead, pack the gold coins in your carry-on bag and keep a close eye on them.

Keep A Close Eye On Your Bag

As noted above, you should store your gold or silver coins in your carry-on bag and keep a close eye on them. Another passenger may have a similar bag as yours and mistakenly takes yours as it travels down from the X-ray check. You could be delayed by patdown or another holdup and lose track of your bag.

Never lose track of the carry-on bag with the coins, even when using the facilities or getting something to eat at the airport. Keep your bag close to you while you wait for the flight at the gate or the lounge.

Next, stow away your carry-on nearby, preferably in the under-seat compartment in front of you, so you don’t risk anyone else taking hold of it, and you end up losing your precious coins.

Conclusion: Traveling Via Airplane With Coins Is Easy

Well, now that you know what to be aware of when traveling with gold coins across state lines via airplane, you can prepare for the upcoming holiday season and gift your friends or family with impressive gold coins. You’re also now prepared to travel with your significant other as you sightsee and explore the world throughout your retired years. Whether you’re traveling to various retirement destinations throughout the United States or abroad, you must always be ready for what’s expected. 

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Edwin Cannon has spent his entire career in the financial industry and specializes in alternative investments and surviving marketing turbulence. He started My Retirement Paycheck to help educate consumers about retirement investment options that aren't typically introduced by advisors.