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Long shipping delays really sucks the joy out of buying a coin!


JayAg47

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I bought a coin back in Aug 4 from a Spanish dealer, and the tracking from Correos has been stuck on 'en route to its destination' since Aug 12, and the est delivery time was Aug 16. If I don't receive in it the next 7 days I'm gonna ask for a refund. Even if the coin arrives by then I'm not sure if I'll have the same joy and excitement I had when I bought it.

Does anyone here dealt with delays from Correos?

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My two last purchase from Spain were August 16th and 18th, usually it takes 2-7 days to leave the country, and after that 7-10 days to be at my door (I received the two coins last week). « En route to it’s destination » means it has left Spain… so the problem is not with Correos anymore… I believe you are in Australia, aren’t you ? For myself here in Canada, it’s impossible to track the parcel when it’s within my country.

 

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I live in the US. When I used to order coins from non-US Vcoins dealers, sometimes I could input the foreign shipping company's tracking number, into USPS.com, and it would track the shipment, after the shipment had entered the US. If the shipment had not yet entered the US, then USPS.com would usually say something like "shipment is heading toward the US", if I remember correctly.

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I've never had a problem with a non-US mail system - it's always the USPS, especially going through ISC New York, where the problems happen. Right now I'm waiting for a coin from France that rapidly arrived at ISC NY (US entry point) and has been sitting there "inbound out of customs" (i.e. half handed-off from customs to USPS) without any further scan for over 2 weeks. I expect I'll get it eventually, but who knows. Could arrive randomly tomorrow having bypassed all expected scans, or be returned to sender, or show up two months late, or maybe be sent to some random sorting center then back to NY ... these would all be BAU USPS outcomes.

I'm also waiting for my purchases from the recent Olympia auction ... paid EUR 35 for "FedEx Express" shipping over two weeks ago, and they haven't even shipped them yet...

So, yeah, shipping sucks.

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1 minute ago, Heliodromus said:

I've never had a problem with a non-US mail system - it's always the USPS, especially going through ISC New York, where the problems happen. Right now I'm waiting for a coin from France that rapidly arrived at ISC NY (US entry point) and has been sitting there "inbound out of customs" (i.e. half handed-off from customs to USPS) without any further scan for over 2 weeks. I expect I'll get it eventually, but who knows. Could arrive randomly tomorrow having bypassed all expected scans, or be returned to sender, or show up two months late, or maybe be sent to some random sorting center then back to NY ... these would all be BAU USPS outcomes.

I'm also waiting for my purchases from the recent Olympia auction ... paid EUR 35 for "FedEx Express" shipping over two weeks ago, and they haven't even shipped them yet...

So, yeah, shipping sucks.

Yes. Back when I used to buy from non-US Vcoins dealers, often a shipment would get stuck in New York for 1 or 2 weeks, and often the tracking would say something like "inbound into US customs", or "your shipment is in US customs".

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I still think the most "impressive" example of misdirected mail I've encountered is the coin I bought in a Künker Auction in April 2022, which took six weeks to travel from Germany to New York City -- by way of China! See https://www.cointalk.com/threads/3rd-world-mail-service-in-the-u-s.396370/page-2#post-8359513 and https://content.invisioncic.com/k321387/monthly_2022_11/image.jpeg.a0bdc396b48514ea928b8334cf16c55f.jpeg.

However, no matter how long a shipment takes to arrive, it's still preferable to one that's completely lost. Something that has happened to me only three times, most recently -- to my great regret -- the coins I bought at the Leu Auction in July. On Monday, it will be exactly one month since the package vanished without a trace while "out for delivery" from my local U.S. Post Office branch to my apartment building in New York City (a distance of 0.8 miles, or a little more than 1 km, as the post office truck flies).  With no results whatsoever from the "lost mail" search. So Monday is the day I will write to Leu to request a refund. As I've mentioned before, I've been so disgusted by what happened -- not to mention being > $1,500 out of pocket right now with nothing to show for it -- that I've bought no coins at all in the last two months.  (Although I do have a few I bought previously that I still haven't written up.) And the way I feel right now, even assuming I do get a full refund, I'm not sure when or if I'll ever start buying again.

 

Edited by DonnaML
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There’s a twilight zone between a package being given to customs at one end and being given to the postal system at the other where you can’t see the tracking. This is ‘on route to its destination’ or ‘package has left the originating country’ (even though it might not actually have left). It can be stuck for a long time just waiting to get on a plane. If the paperwork isn’t clear, you have to wait until customs at both ends are happy you’re not Richard Beale.

In the UK, as Sand said happens in the US, the tracking number then works again in your own country’s postal tracking system. The originating tracking system will just say ‘has left Spain’ but your postal system should track it from customs to your door.

 

1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

I'm not sure when or if I'll ever start buying again.

This would be very sad.

Edited by John Conduitt
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6 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

In the UK, as Sand said happens in the US, the tracking number then works again in your own country’s postal tracking system. The originating tracking system will just say ‘has left Spain’ but your postal system should track it from customs to your door.

In the US it's more complicated - tracking depends on the origin country and precise class of mail service used per mutual agreements. For example, it used to be that the normal international tracked (or whatever they called it) mail service from Spain to the US would be tracked inside the US as well as within Spain before it left, but that changed a year or so ago and this default service now is only tracked within Spain (there is a more expensive class of mail that is also tracked within the US, but Spanish senders typically don't know about it, and it seems many Spanish post office workers aren't aware of the difference).

On top of these variations in originating country and class of mail used, there are also the vagaries of the US postal system whereby things are not always scanned when they should be, so it's not uncommon for something to have appeared to have got stuck at customs, then show up at your front door either without further scans or with what appears to be a backlog of scans entered at the same time.

Then, in addition to the above, there's also a disconnect between US customs and the USPS, so for example the current coin I am waiting for from France was last scanned as "Inbound OUT of customs" (different from "Inbound INTO customs"), which means it's at the hand-off point between customs and the USPS, with next expected scan by the USPS as it accepts the hand-off... So customs has washed their hands of this piece, and the USPS says they can't track it because they haven't received it yet... Seems like customs scans it and throws it in a bucket, and USPS hasn't taken it out of the bucket yet, or the dog ate it - who knows.

 

 

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I just looked up the coin in question to see any updates and Ebay literally moved the ETA from Aug 16 to the end of this month and removed the tracking details from the purchase history, luckily I saved the number from previous email. Totally new to me!  Now I can't claim refund until after the new ETA passes. 

Edited by JayAg47
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It is a wonder where missing stuff goes. There are only a few possibilities - it's stuck behind a cabinet and you'll get it decades later; the label has come off and they have no idea where to send it; it fell off a truck and is lying in the dirt to be picked up by a dog walker, who invariably doesn't try to get it delivered; they delivered it to the wrong address and the recipient stole it; or someone in the postal system stole it. I can't see the first three being a very high percentage.

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15 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

It is a wonder where missing stuff goes.

Yeah ... I like to think (for no good reason other than peace of mind) that they fall behind the cabinet and get rediscovered later when they do a periodic check, but probably all your suggestions and more apply from time to time. I've certainly had things delivered to wrong address, which are then only recovered by decency of person who received it. The USPS in my area stopped taking signatures for signature-required deliveries at the beginning of covid, and have never gone back, so wrong address deliveries (with no proof of it) are now more likely.

The USPS in practice seem to take any excuse NOT to deliver, unlike the UK where it's the opposite. I've had international mail returned to sender because the sender included the zip code (which encodes city) but not the city name. Contrast to the UK where mail addressed to "Big Jim, Old Sodsbury" will get there due to detective work by the post office, or just a delivery guy who knows his route.

Edited by Heliodromus
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I don't know about non-U.S. countries, but it's Spain.   Wouldn't one expect it to take forever from there? It's been less than a month. The inane export permit alone would take a few weeks.  I've had some Spanish coins on the watchlist, but have been too chicken to order them. Israel, too.  Per Spain, I have to wait forever and pay part of the export permit, something like 10% of the coin?  To borrow a phrase from a radio personality, "How 'bout no?"

Most of my postal European orders take 3-4 weeks.  I'd perhaps enquire, but I'd be prepared to wait some more.

I've had U.S. shipments take forever, too. I forget whether it was Classical Cash or Harlan Berk, but an expensive coin was in the mail for a month, back in the 1990's, through no fault of the dealer. 

There weren't too many dealers whom I ordered from in the pre-internet age, Allen Berman, Alex Malloy, Classical Cash, and Harlan Berk come to mind.  I can't remember the transit times for the rest, but I think the Berman ones took a while, but they all did.  One had to send the initial order through snail mail (long distance calls were expensive).  That adds a week or so to the total time.

Yes, the title is quite correct; long shipping delays do suck the joy out of orders.

It's so rare that I check the tracking number.  Looking it up would probably add more stress to even a mundane order.  The only times I dig it up is in extreme emergencies.

 

 

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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2 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

It is a wonder where missing stuff goes. There are only a few possibilities - it's stuck behind a cabinet and you'll get it decades later; the label has come off and they have no idea where to send it; it fell off a truck and is lying in the dirt to be picked up by a dog walker, who invariably doesn't try to get it delivered; they delivered it to the wrong address and the recipient stole it; or someone in the postal system stole it. I can't see the first three being a very high percentage.

This one got stuck in a machine at the post office, where it sustained friction burns from a conveyor belt and was delivered to me months after it had been shipped. I laugh at the "received damaged" label affixed by the USPS even though they were the ones who damaged it.

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The coin inside was fine, even though the invoice and cardboard packing material were damaged, too.

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A part of me definitely misses the days of driving to the local coin shop, deciding on something tasty in their inventory, buying it, and then taking it home with me instantaneously. If anything happened to the item(s) in transit, I had no one to blame but myself. One can still take this course, obviously, but the Internet offers so much more choice, sometimes to a nearly stultifying degree, that perusing and clicking "buy" online can manifest wonders often otherwise unavailable.

A month or two ago, when my surprise import duty appeared one day via email, at least after a week following ordering that particular coin, my frustration reached a hobby-ending intensity. Not to mention the agonizing times that I chased down the postal truck to avoid having to wait an entire weekend to obtain a shipped item that required a signature. 90% of the time, I received the "delivery" notification either via email or text after the truck had already departed down the street, despite leaving a phone number to call in the mailbox. More than once I literally ran after the truck.

I have never lost anything of significant value in the mail. The one thing I did lose wasn't worth squawking over: a 5$ 1930s Thelma Todd cigarette card from the UK. It never showed up, I just let the dealer know. But losing something of immense value would be a vastly deflating experience. I'm not sure how I would react to that. After the import duty experience, I vowed to stop buying coins. But I've purchased two more since, one of them overseas, which risked yet another negative experience. But the duty only set me back $50, so the sting wore off quicker than I expected. But losing $1,000, $2,000, or even more would probably send me into paroxysms of anger. I'm not sure what I would do in that situation. I've only made orders that large a few times, always for gold. At least one of those orders found me sprinting after the postal truck. Had I lost one of those hefty orders, I may never have ordered such things again. Or at least it would have taken a long time for the agony to cease.

I guess, in the end, one either accepts or doesn't accept the tradeoffs and risks of various methods of acquiring things. I've reacted to those by cutting back. So far it's worked for me, but the probability of something nasty still occurring remains greater than 0.

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20 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

I laugh at the "received damaged" label affixed by the USPS even though they were the ones who damaged it.

I guess that's the local post office pointing the finger at the sorting office ? Pretty impressive scorching !

It's understandable that stuff like this can happen occasionally, but how hard would it be for them to count mail pieces in/out of the system and realize that the machine ate 10 today, and they need to recover them rather than being found randomly months later !

 

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Another mail/tracking oddity (I guess this subject touches a raw nerve) ... I'm also waiting on an eBay coin coming via tracked mail from Hungary. The Hungarian post office tracking only shows it having left Hungary. The USPS tracking doesn't recognize the tracking number at all, but yet somehow eBay's tracking shows multiple scans in last couple of days inside the US! This is a new one for me - where are eBay getting the US tracking info from if the USPS doesn't recognize the tracking number ?!

 

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That's very similar to the marks which 3/4 of my Priority mail coins have received.  Priority is the pits.

This thread reminded me that I'd better buy one of my mother's birthday presents.  While looking for a coin to throw in for myself, people are right, Numiscorner is, generally speaking (although my past purchases have been reasonably or even low-priced) terribly overpriced when it comes to ancients.  I really have no idea what 17th c. medals go for, but I saw an old restrike that I really liked, and the price is actually less than a mediocre Domitian (which has a great patina) I was looking at. 

*I put back the Domitian.  The patina is really cool, but the coin itself is no better than the bag of 1990's $1.50 ancients (which were nice for that price).  I trawled through coins and some would be fairly reasonably priced, or even low, while inferior ones would be a lot more than that.  I spotted a portrait which I had to have, so that's what went in.

All my shipments from France (regular mail) have been very fast, by the way. Numiscorner's service was also very good.

I rather like my postman ignoring the signature requirements, at least for coins.

Perhaps the coin is on that wretched mail truck that sits on the Bumpass' property (not their real name), which almost never moves. 🫤

 

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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My « interesting » experience with Ebay International Shipping service. Bought two coins from a seller based in Massachusetts August 14th. Tracking number provided the day after. The 16th my coins arrived in Nashua NH distribution center (it’s normal, getting closer to Montreal Canada !). August 18th it arrived in Chicago IL !!!, then to Carol Stream IL. So USPS send me this email:

 

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READY FOR PICK-UP ??? At 870 miles from my place ??? I’ve contacted the seller to understand what happened, and here is his reply: We generate shipping labels through ebay. The shipping address they have for your account is the one that is used for shipping. 
Here's the shipping address that was used...

eIS C/O dominic tessier
110 Internationale Blvd
evtn:a329nzm
Glendale Heights IL 60139-2080

That is not my shipping address at all, in fact I’ve never lived or even visited Illinois… So I was imagining someone picking up my coins in his mailbox and putting them in the trash can or selling them back on marketplace…

The fallowing day (after spending a whole night crying), I received a notification from Ebay telling me a new tracking number was created… August 26th Customs Clearance. August 28th Processed through Facility in Toronto ON. August 30th DELIVERED ! After talking again with the seller, we both learned that the address in Glendale Heights IL is in fact a big Ebay Distribution Center… Finally my two new babies were in my hands, they had some problem with the jet lag, but now they’re feeling better alongside their companions…

 

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3 hours ago, ewomack said:

A part of me definitely misses the days of driving to the local coin shop, deciding on something tasty in their inventory, buying it, and then taking it home with me instantaneously. If anything happened to the item(s) in transit, I had no one to blame but myself.

Funny enough the only coin I’ve lost to date was a liberty head dime I purchased at a coin store, which somehow fell out of my pocket before I got home with it. 

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i gotta agree wid ya on dat pally....i bought a coin last Saturday and it 'posted' the 5th and ain't moved SINCE!....i realize now that's part of the fun(drug) is watching it move towards ya....9_9...  so much for up to the minute tracking...what good is it???...

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Yes, shipments from Spain can be problematic.  Apparently there was something going on in Spain about paperwork that created long delays.  Add to that situation USPS does not provide tracking information for shipments from Spain, do to lack of an agreement for some reason, shipping status is truly opaque, creating frustration for the recipient and, I am sure, for the sender as well.

I have one shipment coming from Spain, so fingers crossed!

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Since we're sharing shipping horror stories, here are three stories.  

This first story at least had a good outcome: nothing lost

This is a shipment from Germany I that I received earlier this year.  The package was clearly opened, probably by US Customs and not properly resealed.  There was no packing material, at least that was the situation when the package arrived. The Ptolemy II bronze, wrapped in plastic, was in an envelope, apparently resealed, but the bronze weight was rattling around loose.  

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This is a shipment from Roma that arrived in early July 2022.  It's hard to tell if the package was caught in a sorting machine or on a conveyor belt, or if it was intentionally opened, but the result was the loss of three coins.  The damaged end was sealed with USPS Express Mail tape.

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Another package from Germany, same sender as the in the first story, but this time a total loss.  This happened in the spring 2022.  The only contents was a crumbled piece of paper.

D-CameraopenedpackageGermany3blackedoutaddress11-12-22.jpg.7abd6708f4bf36c0dc8a1d9520f6ac9c.jpg

Edited by robinjojo
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51 minutes ago, Heliodromus said:

Those DHL boxes don't seem too sturdy!

The worst packed coin I ever received was just a coin thrown in a regular paper envelope - no flip/cardboard/etc - just a raw coin in a paper envelope. It arrived ok though!

 

Here's a photo of a Julia Soaemias coin I received a few years ago, loose in an envelope with no padding. The dealer was located in the Netherlands but the envelope had a return address in Plovdiv, Bulgaria!

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The dealer did refund my money, fortunately. As for the envelope's origin, he insisted that he really was located in the Netherlands, and had never claimed that the coin itself was also located there. Supposedly, he had sold it to me on consignment on behalf of someone in Bulgaria. (Despite the fact that in my view, the definition of a "consignment" requires that the consignee must actually have possession of the item!)

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1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

Here's a photo of a Julia Soaemias coin I received a few years ago, loose in an envelope with no padding. The dealer was located in the Netherlands but the envelope had a return address in Plovdiv, Bulgaria!

image.png.71f9285262f430f66941860d64f830ca.png

The dealer did refund my money, fortunately. As for the envelope's origin, he insisted that he really was located in the Netherlands, and had never claimed that the coin itself was also located there. Supposedly, he had sold it to me on consignment on behalf of someone in Bulgaria. (Despite the fact that in my view, the definition of a "consignment" requires that the consignee must actually have possession of the item!)

It's irritating for sure, @DonnaML Here's a 2x2 flip sent in a bubble envelope but without any cardboard to prevent bending. Romanorum was very good about refunding my money and has changed the shipping method to prevent this from happening in the future. I have subsequently made purchases from him and everything has been well-packaged since.

Trebonianus Gallus LIBERTAS PVBLICA antoninianus pulverized.jpg

Edited by Roman Collector
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