And of course, there are those Barack Obama commemorative coins. possibly you ’ ve seen the ads on television or in your Sunday wallpaper. These colorful, “ limited edition ” coins have a picture of the 44th president on them. The Franklin Mint and the New England Mint are good two of the many companies selling inaugural coins. Their price is $ 9.95, plus ship and handling. They take a genuine uncirculated U.S. coin ( a presidential dollar or 50-cent man ) and cover it with a slender layer of 24 karat gold. then the mental picture of President-elect Obama is applied to one side. The ad for the Franklin Mint describes this commemorative mint as “ an incredible work. ” Gwynne Gorr, the company ’ second head of marketing, tells me they are “ very proud ” of this mint. She says it is selling identical well. Brian Dunn, director of commercialize at the New England Mint, tells me collectors have been very glad with the coins. “ There ’ s been an overpower reaction, ” he says. Buyers beware
The Franklin Mint and the New England Mint are not affiliated with the federal government and they say then in their ads — tied if it is in the fine print. But not every company does that. The Treasury Department has received a distribute of questions about these coins. The U.S. Mint does not issue inaugural coins, and it wants to make sure everyone knows that. In a holocene consumer alert, the government reminds potential buyers these coins are “ not official United States Mint products. furthermore, these products, businesses, and advertisements are not approved, endorsed, sponsored or authorized by the United States Mint, the Department of the Treasury or the United States Government. ” Is it legal to do this?
The federal government does not encourage anyone to alter the images on U.S. coins. But the companies producing the Obama mementos are not breaking the jurisprudence. Greg Hernandez, acting public affairs conductor for the Mint, tells me it is legal to paint or print on coins angstrom long as the double is not a commercial ad.
indeed are these inaugural address coins a good investment ? “ No, they are not an investment coin, ” says Gary Adkins, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild, a group that represents rare mint dealers. “ The Obama coins are basically a memento piece and should not be considered anything more than that. ” In fact, he says, collectors normally consider such artwork to be defacing of the mint. “ These are overpriced trinkets, ” says Scott Travers, a New York City mint dealer and generator of “ The Coin Collectors Survival Manual. ” He says people need to realize they are paying $ 15 ( including ship ) or more for something that is lone worth the grimace value of the mint. “ I can not see that these coins will have any more value than the face value in my life, your life, or in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren, ” Travers says. many companies advertise that their inaugural coins come with a security of authenticity. That sounds good, but it doesn ’ t in truth mean much. At the Franklin Mint, that security is signed by Jay W. Johnson, the 36th director of the U.S. Mint. It certifies that the base mint used to make the decoration is an authentic U.S. coin. That ’ s it. Do the ads oversell the value of the Obama coins ? “ We make no stipulation any as to what their commercialize measure will be in the future, ” says Gwynne Gorr at the Franklin Mint. “ There is no direction we could possibly know that. ” The New England Mint does not comment on the value of their coins.
The bottom line
The Obama inauguration is a significant milestone in the history of this country. The colorful Obama medallions might be the way you want to save this memory. Just don ’ thyroxine catch swept away by the patriotic ballyhoo. If you do decide to buy, realize what you ’ ll scram : an unofficial mint that has no intrinsic or investment value. It ’ s strictly sentimental. And for some that may fine .