Numismatic and History Discussions > Ancient Coin Forum

Recent Experiences with U.S. Customs ?

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Ken W2:

Hello everyone:  I have had two Marc Antony Legionary Denarii (both are named legions) hung up in Customs in Atlanta since Oct. 8. They were shipped from Germany via DHL. I paid for separate shipping and the auction house agreed to ship separately a few days apart so both packages would be under the $900 per day “de minimis entry” exemption. They shipped in separate packages, but on the same day so they landed in Customs the same day. Together the value is under $1,500.  I researched U.S. Customs regs and learned of the exemption and found some  guidance from Customs that says if the value is over $900 but under $2,000 Customs “typically” will add some paperwork and allow delivery perhaps conditioned on paying a duty.
Anyone else had a similar experience ? Any advice on contacting Customs? Or am I just in a “wait and see what happens” position? All DHL is saying is that Customs is “processing” and that could take 30-90 days. 
Thanks in advance.

Ken W2:

Correction: $ 800 de minimis entry exemption.

Tracy Aiello:
Hi Ken,

Have you received a hard copy letter from US Customs explaining the seizure? I had a coin seized by US Customs during the summer of 2021 because when shipping the coin the auction house failed to include the proper paperwork attesting to the fact that the coin did not violate the bilateral agreement on Importation of Designated Archaeological or Ethnological Material. After receiving a letter from US Customs explaining the basis for the seizure I contacted the auction house, received the proper paperwork, sent copies of the paperwork along with a letter to US Customs explaining why the coin should be forwarded to me, and eventually got my coin. The whole process took about six months.

Good luck.


Ken W2:

Thanks Tracy.  While the delay is a bummer, your experience gives some peace of mind that there actually is a workable "process."  I have not been contacted by Customs and figured with a private carrier (DHL) Customs will likely contact them to say what the problem is.  I'm also thinking this well-known house included the correct papers, but Customs flagged the packages because they arrived the same day and together they exceed the per day exemption.
Thanks again for sharing your experience.


Tracy Aiello:

If I recall my coin had been shipped by DHL and once the coin was seized by US Customs DHL just bowed out of the picture. I don't think that DHL was ever contacted by US Customs.

I hope that your issue is just the per day exemption, as that would seem to be something that US Customs should be able to figure out on its own. If not, then it should be easy for you to explain it to them.

Let us know how this turns out, if you don't mind.



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