France Prohibits Sending Currency, “Coins And Precious Metals” By Mail

In new legislation which was enacted May 23rd, the French government decreed that it is forbidden to send all forms of currency - coins and cash and all forms of precious metals – coins, bars and jewellery by mail.

The legislation was published on Legifrance, the French government entity responsible for publishing legal texts online and can be seen here.

It was not announced by the government and not covered in the media. There were no communications and nobody in the government justified or explained this decision.

The legislation says that “the insertion of banknotes, coins and precious metals is prohibited in mailings, including the insured items, registered items and items subject to formalities certifying deposition and distribution. "

Some have suggested that the decree is to limit what is known in France as “the anonymous market”, the market in which no taxes are paid and people are free to trade without the supervision of banks and government.

However, euro coins and notes and gold bullion coins and bars attract no tax in France and therefore this is more likely to be an attempt to discourage the ownership of gold bullion and cash outside of the banking system and is a form of capital control.

It may also be an attempt to restrict the growing private market in France of people buying bullion online through Ebay which is increasingly popular.

The freedom of people to trade amongst themselves is a form of civil liberty as is the right to privacy.

The selling and the buying of precious metals in France are already subject to strict regulations.

Until September 2011, citizens could easily buy and sell gold coins and bars with cash but this was forbidden then when French citizens were forbidden to buy with cash in person and had to buy precious metals by trade mail, crossed cheque and by wire transfer or be “punished by a fine of fifth grade” which is a fine of some €1,500/oz.

The government decree does not specify that other independent companies cannot send gold and or silver coins or bars by mail. Indeed, it is only the French public company or national post company, La Poste that is forbidden in the decree.

Gold in Euros, 5 Year – (Bloomberg)

However, 3 months ago in March, Fedex began stopping French people from taking delivery of precious metals.

At the start of the year, UPS began stopping French people from taking delivery of precious metals.

Perhaps not coincidentally, in recent days Fedex have stopped allowing companies and individuals to send or receive gold and other precious metal bullion coins and bars by insured mail in Germany and the UK.

This is an important story that bears watching as it appears that governments internationally, from India to France are attempting to control, restrict and make it difficult for their citizens to own bullion.