Flying with Gold Coins? Know TSA Guidelines

Flying with Gold Coins? What You Need to Know About TSA Guidelines


Written by John Rothans

Dec 11, 2019

You’ve decided to buy gold coins for your four kids as holiday gifts, and you’ll be flying from Albuquerque to Atlanta with these prized presents.

First off, you’re a great gift giver! Gold coin gifts are Santa-approved.

Second, and more importantly, you need to know that the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA)—the folks who screen you and your luggage before you hop on a flight—has guidelines about flying with gold coins aboard a commercial jet. Follow our five tips to help ensure your trip isn’t tripped up by gold coin gifts.

When Flying with Gold Coins…

1. Don’t Put the Coins in Checked Bags

Above all else, don’t keep gold and silver coins in your checked luggage. While the odds of an airline losing your bags are incredibly low (about two bags per every 1,000 passengers), you don’t want to risk your luggage—and those coins—winding up missing.

A bigger danger is having the coins taken from your checked bag, either while it’s on the way to or from your plane or when it’s spinning around on a baggage-claim carousel at your destination airport. TSA receives thousands of claims each year about items going missing or being stolen from checked bags.

To help avoid these hassles, pack the coins in a carry-on bag that you can tuck under the seat in front of you or place in an overhead bin. The under-the-seat option is best, as you can keep a close eye on the bag throughout your flight.

2. Be Up-front

It’s perfectly legal to transport gold coins across state lines if their price is assessed at less than $1 million—just don’t try to sneak through a TSA checkpoint with gold coins in one of your bags, thinking they’ll go unnoticed.

For one thing, TSA agents likely will be annoyed if they unexpectedly discover the coins. Also, it could raise suspicions about you and potentially lead to delays in getting to the gate on time as TSA seeks to sort out your situation.

If you happen to be flying to another country, you could face a fine for transporting gold coins, cash, or other cash equivalents priced more than $10,000 but failing to declare them, notes CoinWeek. The $10,000 rule applies to gold coins, too.

To be on the safe side, let TSA know that you’re carrying gold coins before you pass through a security checkpoint. Your best bet is to contact the TSA office at your departure airport at least 24 hours in advance to provide a heads-up that you’ll be transporting gold coins. If you don’t alert TSA ahead of time, you could be making a mistake that costs you both time and money.

3. Request a Private Screening

Don’t be surprised if a TSA agent decides to inspect your coin-toting bag. It could be a simple matter of the coins showing up on an x-ray monitor and being unrecognizable to the TSA agent who’s doing the screening.

If TSA wants to inspect your coin-containing bag, ask for a screening in a private room. This way, other travelers won’t spot your gold.

4. Travel with the Receipt

To help avoid problems with TSA, stash the sales receipt or invoice for the gold coins in your carry-on bag. Proper documentation can help assure TSA agents that the coins definitely belong to you.

5. Watch Your Bag

As your coin-holding bag is heading down the conveyor belt of TSA’s x-ray machine, keep close track of it. There’s a chance that a fellow flustered (and distracted) flier could grab your bag before you’re able to retrieve it, particularly if you’re delayed by a TSA patdown or another security holdup.

You also should keep your bag within sight when you’re waiting for your flight at the gate or in a lounge, visiting the restroom, grabbing a bite to eat at an airport restaurant, or doing some holiday shopping.

We hope these tips help your trip go smoothly. If you still need help picking gifts for loved ones, we can help there, too! Call 1-844-307-1589 and one of our knowledgeable Account Executives will help you select the best coin gifts for your friends and family. Our orders ship fast—from our vaults to your door in five days or less!


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