Shipping Coins (or anything else) Safely

Do you ever ship coins – a few, a lot? Or, do ship other packages? Do you have problems with the boxes being damaged?

Here are some tips on how to package those coins to help them arrive safely at their destination whether you are using the Post Office or one of the shipping services.  (By the way, B has the dubious distinction of being one of only two people who ship out of our rather large postal branch who correctly tapes his boxes.)

As you select, pack and secure your box, just remember, your box is going on a journey and will be encountering many strange people and machines along the way. Some will take care with your package and some will take pride in seeing how rough they can be. You’ll never know how many times the box is thrown, jammed, crushed under a heavy weight, dropped and any other stresses that occur.

First, let’s find the right type of box. Make sure it is sturdy enough for the weight you will be packing into the box. Plus, make sure the box is big enough to hold the size of what you will be shipping but not so big that you have to use a lot of extra filler (extra space makes the box easier to crush). Also, make sure the box is in good condition with no rips and tears and that the flaps are all still attached.

Next, make sure you place your coins (or other articles) in the box. Add padding inside the box  – bottom, sides and top – if necessary. Padding cushions your articles if they need it, whereas filler fills the space to keep the articles from bouncing around inside the box and to keep the box from being dented or crushed.

One inexpensive filler that can also be a cushion is shredded paper. With the necessity of shredding documents to prevent identity or information theft, shredded paper builds up quickly. Using the shredded paper as a filler gives it another use before becoming trash. Another trick, though not necessary, is to put the shredded paper in plastic bags to keep it contained.

As you pack the box, make sure the articles are secured such that they won’t bounce around inside the box. The cushioning and filler obviously help, but with a lot of different articles in the box, consider it your challenge to pack with the least amount of movement. (Movement on the inside of the box in addition to all of the external stresses by people and machines weakens the box as it travels.)

Now that you’ve securely packed everything into the box, make sure you include your contact information – name, address and telephone number – along with the destination name, address and telephone number. If your box is damaged or the external address label disappears, the information inside the box will be helpful. Also, if you’re shipping items you’ve sold, include an invoice  that lists all of the articles packed in the box.

One last test before you seal the box. Have you included everything that you planned to ship? Have you included the origin (yourself) and destination information – name, address, contact information? Have you included a list of what is in the box? Is the box full with the articles and filler and no movement possible?

If yes, let’s close the box and tape it.

Here’s where a lot of people have a problem. There are many types of tape on the market, and many that are listed as packing tape. The Post Office wants the gummed, paper tape, and if you are shipping something heavy, you need the reinforced tape with the filament threads. This reinforced tape is good for other shipping companies as well.

Yes, it’s a pain, because you have to use water to activate the glue. And, you have to be careful not to use too much water as you can remove the glue instead of just activating it. But, done correctly, the reinforced filament tape will help insure your box survives all of its trials and tribulations as it goes to its destination.

Here’s a second area where people have a problem with the taping – they simply do not use enough. Of course, you need to make sure all of the seams are securely taped. But, you really need to enclose the whole box with the tape, especially any heavy boxes.

There are different strengths of the tape and its glue for different box weights. Therefore, if you do a lot of shipping, perhaps you need several different types of the reinforced tape.

One caution as you enclose the entire box with the brown filament tape: if you are using one of the Post Office’s flat rate boxes, leave a small portion of their information visible on the box such that they can see it’s one of theirs.

Now that your box is securely packaged, add your labels – or just write on the tape – making sure you have the correct from and to addresses applied for the shipping service you are using.

The above won’t guarantee that your package arrives safely, but you will have prevented as many of the problems as you can.

Oh, and another benefit if you are shipping via the Post Office is a much quicker visit to post office!