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Inspired by: Can I fly with a gold bar?, is the best way to physically move a lot of monetary value around a gold bar? Here, best is defined as being a combination of convenience + ease of access to the value represented by the item.

If not, what is the best way, and why?

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    A wire transfer is not physical, right? – Alex Jul 9 '15 at 4:34
  • Oh, I missed the title. Sorry. – Nate Eldredge Jul 9 '15 at 4:35
  • Would you consider a physical storage device containing the private key for millions of dollars worth of bitcoins "physical"? – March Ho Jul 9 '15 at 4:47
  • yes I would, but bitcoins might be marked down on "ease of access to the value" – Alex Jul 9 '15 at 4:49
  • conversely, i don't think I would consider a prepaid travel card or atm card as physically moving money. Maybe I will have to rethink the hdd with private key for the bitcoins. – Alex Jul 9 '15 at 4:54
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I would suggest cash. It's more voluminous but lighter than gold and certainly very liquid. In $100 bills (using this as an example because someone did the calculations for me but you could use EUR 500 or CHF 1000 to save some space and have more colorful luggage), it seems perfectly possible to carry $420k (the value of a Good Delivery gold bar) with you.

Sources:

And with Swiss Francs, you can take even more (thanks @drat for the link!) as CHF 1 million (>$1 million) should only be a bit more than 1 kg and 1L in new CHF 1000 bills (and, like everything Swiss, the bills you get are often squeaky clean compared to small euro or dollar bills that circulate a lot). Swiss Francs might be slightly more difficult to use abroad but, amazingly, in Switzerland, you can easily pay your groceries (or a car…) with large bills and nobody would bat an eye.

One issue is that using cash might make a difference as far as cash control regulations are concerned. For example, European Union rules require you to declare that much money when leaving the EU but do not cover gold (some countries like the US or France do require gold, at least as bullion, to be declared as well so that's moot there).

That's a bit of extra hassle (and it might fail your “convenience” criterion) but since people who carry a lot of cash or gold around usually obtained it through legitimate means and obviously paid their taxes, it's not a big deal.

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    There's a website for this in Swiss francs and turns out that 400k Swiss francs (roughly 420k USD) only weights 450g, so your 7 kg hand luggage could fit more than $6 million. – drat Jul 9 '15 at 8:17
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I would suggest jewelry, specifically higher quality pieces. They have value both for the materials used, but also for design and/or brand considerations. Exotic metals and jewels may have higher value per weight than "just" plain gold. If there is a proper paper trail (certificate of the manufacturer, invoice proving it is really yours), they should not be too complicated to sell again.

Just to take an example, a high-end Swiss timepiece can easily be worth up to 10000 USD (being conservative and staying within easily sellable models), and weigh about 45g.

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