Jump to content
  • The above Banner is a Sponsored Banner.

    Upgrade to Premium Membership to remove this Banner & All Google Ads. For full list of Premium Member benefits Click HERE.

  • Join The Silver Forum

    The Silver Forum is one of the largest and best loved silver and gold precious metals forums in the world, established since 2014. Join today for FREE! Browse the sponsor's topics (hidden to guests) for special deals and offers, check out the bargains in the members trade section and join in with our community reacting and commenting on topic posts. If you have any questions whatsoever about precious metals collecting and investing please join and start a topic and we will be here to help with our knowledge :) happy stacking/collecting. 21,000+ forum members and 1 million+ forum posts. For the latest up to date stats please see the stats in the right sidebar when browsing from desktop. Sign up for FREE to view the forum with reduced ads. 

Shipping silver in flats / large envelopes


Recommended Posts

Oy, have any of you shipped small volumes of silver in large envelopes, aka "flats" in USPS parlance?

It looks like a great solution for 1 - 3 ounces or so. 10 ounce bars might work too, but as the value gets into hundreds of dollars / pounds it seems risky.

I discovered a while back that this is actually possible given the rules and specs for a Large Envelope / Flat with the USPS, and Large Letter with the Royal Mail.

It's much cheaper than even the lightest package price, e.g. the minimum price for First Class Package Service in the US. It will be less than two bucks in most cases, sometimes just one.

The rules stipulate that the envelope be no more than ¾ inch thick (or a full inch in the UK), with no more than ¼ inch variance in thickness. A one ounce coin, round, or bar will be less than ¼ inch thick, so that's not a problem.

They also require a certain level of flexibility, and the opposite – stiffness. The envelope can't be super rigid, and it can't be completely floppy like those poly mailer bags you sometimes see used for clothing. These issues aren't a problem, and any standard stiff paperboard mailer will work, as will most padded and bubble mailers.

People in the US often wrongly state that any padded or bubble mailer is a "package" and must be charged as one. I finally traced this myth to old USPS rate classes before 2007. Back then all First Class mail was charged the same, except that any mailpiece that deviated from regular letter dimensions had a Nonstandard Surcharge of less than a dollar. So all packages and large envelopes got hit with that, and there was no distinction between those envelopes and packages.

Then they introduced the Large Envelope class in 2006 or 2007, which rewrote the rules. Government employees are super slow and unaccountable, so they've been quoting the old policies decades after they expired...

It seems like small amounts of silver would be fine in a flat, but I haven't seen merchants leverage these rates. Most shipping software and resellers seem ignorant of the Large Envelope class and the opportunities it presents for small stuff. Sellers even send me banknotes as First Class Packages, even though they're in envelopes – I don't think eBay gives them the option.

Do you think silver would get damaged? It seems like a good stiff envelope would protect it, especially with some thin hard plastic inserts, or even just cardboard inserts. There's a great company in the UK called Lil Mailers or something, and they make strong ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure about the dimensions and shipping limits in the US but here in the UK the Royal Mail have a limit of 2.5cm or pretty much exactly one inch for it to be shipped as a "large envelope". Above this, they are shipped as "small parcels" with a significant uplift in fees.

I have shipped hundreds of silver coins up to 2oz thickness and managed to get them into a package under the 2.5cm limit. It can be awkward for thick 2oz coins such as the silver Queen's Beasts but do-able.

13 hours ago, Bimetallic said:

Do you think silver would get damaged? It seems like a good stiff envelope would protect it, especially with some thin hard plastic inserts, or even just cardboard inserts.


Profile picture with thanks to Carl Vernon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've sent a coin as a simple letter no problem (Royal Mail). Seems mental to me to send a single coin in bulky packaging.
I used a corrugated cardboard insert to fill out envelope, as thick as coin, and cut a rough hole for coin. For protection you can wrap coin in plastic film or baggie and tape to card.

Edited by swanky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Cookies & terms of service

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies and to our Privacy Policy & Terms of Use