Registered Mail is Slow … But Secure

One of our favorite auctioneers sent us a note last week concerning a bidder complaint that shipping was slow, requesting a tracking number. The package contained more than $1000 in won lots, so the auction house sent it registered.

“This package was sent Registered Mail so that in itself slows down shipping,” our auctioneer told us. “It was a $1320.00 order, so we felt it was better to go Registered. We don’t charge extra to ship–whatever the Post Offices charges is what we bill–and we have no control over that.”

The auctioneer added that many people have encountered shipping problems buying on eBay “and are worried about their packages. I understand that. However, with a major storm in this guy’s part of the world, the auction only being last Wednesday and it shipping Registered Mail it’s going to take a little longer.”

Registered mail has to be signed off and handled at each postal station. That makes it secure because the Post Office knows exactly where it has been and who has handled it.

Bidders on the receiving end will have a difficult time understanding why they cannot track those packages with a Registered Mail number as they might with “delivery confirmation.”

USPS is very careful with Registered Mail. It doesn’t want a third party waiting to intercept your goods. So you’ll get delivery confirmation once the package is safely in your hands.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.

9 thoughts on “Registered Mail is Slow … But Secure

  1. One of our favorite auctioneers sent us a note last week concerning a bidder complaint that shipping was slow, requesting a tracking number.

    I don’t understand the problem. All the bidder was asking for is a tracking number. The auctioneer should have provided it without being asked. The registered mail number is the tracking number.

    Bidders on the receiving end will have a difficult time understanding why they cannot track those packages with a Registered Mail number as they might with “delivery confirmation.”

    Actually, with registered mail you can track it. You can see when it was accepted by the post office and you can see when it is out for delivery. The latter is useful if you want to make arrangements to be at home to receive it or if the little notification slip gets lost in the mountain of junk mail. The former reassures the buyer that the auctioneer didn’t simply neglect to ship the item at all.

  2. The RE tracking number is important, of course. I’m not sure about your comment concerning out for delivery. I asked the post office about that and was told that is when registered mail can be stolen.

    One time I had the same concerns as the bidder. The point of the post, I think, is that patience and security are important when registered mail comes with coins.

    Thank you very much for sharing your comments!

  3. I’m not sure about your comment concerning out for delivery. I asked the post office about that and was told that is when registered mail can be stolen.
    When the registered mail arrives at the destination post office and is placed on the vehicle for delivery, they scan the RE barcode and the tracking information is added to the USPS site. The package has to be signed for. So I don’t understand how it is more likely to be stolen if the recipient knows the RE number or not. Every time I send something to NGC, it comes back registered. They always provide the RE number. How many packages have they lost due to emailing the RE number?

  4. USPS never lost an item of mine, even only with delivery confirmation, and I’ve been doing coins for 40 years.

    There are ALL manner of ways a package can be stolen if the thief knows the delivery time. You’re making the assumption the postman knows the person who is signing for the package.

    Again, the point of the post is to be patient because registered takes time and you cannot track it as you might with delivery confirmation.

    Also, sending registered is cheaper than priority when you need to add insurance. But it also requires different packing methods (paper tape, for instance).

    Speed and security do not always mesh.

  5. There are ALL manner of ways a package can be stolen if the thief knows the delivery time. You’re making the assumption the postman knows the person who is signing for the package.

    There are just way too many ifs here. A potential thief has to identify a coin collector, find out his address, hack into his email, hope that the items are being shipped to home address, hope the collector isn’t home that day, hope the postman doesn’t know the person signing for the package, hope there are no neighbors around watching, etc. It’s possible, but as your own experience shows (no losses in 40 years) it is somewhat unlikely.

    My point is, and I have to be pretty blunt here, any shipper who keeps a tracking number secret from the recipient is an idiot. All he is doing is annoying his customer and adding absolutely no security. This is true regardless of method of shipment and what is in the package.

    Also, sending registered is cheaper than priority when you need to add insurance. But it also requires different packing methods (paper tape, for instance).

    Registered mail and Priority mail aren’t mutually exclusive. As USPS.com states: Registered Mail is available for items paid at Priority Mail and First-Class Mail prices.. In fact, Priority Mail Registered is often cheaper than First Class Registered, if you can make use of one of the flat rate boxes.

    • We really aren’t disagreeing. Yes. Any shipper needs to share tracking numbers. You’re expanding the point of the post, which is great. A lot information has been shared here. However, a question for you, and if so, please don’t mention the specific auctioneer: Did a Proxibid house ever NOT give you a tracking number? (In one instance, I had to contact Proxibid to get the house to give me one.) Just saying …

  6. Did a Proxibid house ever NOT give you a tracking number? (In one instance, I had to contact Proxibid to get the house to give me one.) Just saying …

    No. That’s why I’m so incredulous here. The way I understood the auctioneer you quoted, is that he (or she) was unwilling to share the RE number. One Proxibid house does share tracking number automatically for more expensive packages shipped by UPS, but not the smaller ones shipped by USPS. I think it’s a limitation of their system and if I call and ask for tracking number, they do provide it. As it happens, you have often made very positive comments about this house. Since I consider them very trustworthy, I am not as concerned about failure to provide a tracking number for packages that don’t require my signature.

  7. OK. It’s probably my fault for not being as clear as I would have liked in the post. What happened was this: I got an email on the subject concerning Registered packages being slow to arrive. Apparently, the auction house was contacted for the tracking number after a few days because the shipment hadn’t arrived. That’s when I thought it would be best if I did a post on Registered being slow but secure–the title, I think, of the post. But all this really doesn’t matter. What does, is that our exchanges have added lots of useful information. That’s what a blog is about. Interaction, audience contribution, information.

    We’re OK. Right?

  8. we’re fine. One of the mildly annoying things about Registered mail is not that it’s always slow, but that it’s unpredictable. I’ve had Registered package travel the same distance in 2 days and in nearly 2 weeks. OTOH, even though it is often slower, the post office will accept claims for lost registered packages after 15 days. For regular insurance, claims have to wait 21 days. Also regular postal insurance maxes out at $5,000, while registered can be insured up to $25,000. I’m sure that it makes a difference for higher value coins.

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