Making a mint off 9/11

Here is yet another article on the National Collector’s Mint, describing the coin as a monstrosity.

The hucksters who two years ago tried to peddle the fraudulent Freedom Tower Silver Dollar are back with an even more offensive scheme for trading on the memory of 911 for money.

They go by the name of the National Collector’s Mint of Port Chester, N.Y., and they’re marketing a monstrosity called the 2001-2006 World Trade Center Commemorative over the Web and on late-night cable TV. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

The thingamajig consists of a gold-colored coin with a silver-colored inlay in the shape of the twin towers, “gleaming … much as they shimmered in the sunlight that fateful September morning.” Stand the inlay up, and you have your own World Trade Center!

Made of “15 mg. of 24-kt gold and 15 mg. of .999 pure silver” - the silver “miraculously recovered from a bank vault found under tons of debris at Ground Zero” - the medallion sells for $29.95. Of that, the mint promises to donate $5 to “official 911 family charities and memorials.”

The company can easily afford to be so cynically charitable. The Journal News newspaper had the precious metals analyzed and discovered they were worth about 32 cents.

Last time, in 2004, the National Collector’s Mint advertised its Freedom Tower medallion as legal tender from the Northern Mariana Islands. Turned out that the Marianas don’t mint currency, they use U.S. greenbacks. And the supposedly pure silver in the coin - the same miraculously recovered silver - was hair-thin and worth about 1.4 cents. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office sued, and a judge fined the company $370,000. Spitzer’s investigation was unable to confirm whence the silver came.

As for the charities referred to in the mint’s new ads, a press statement identifies them as Tuesday’s Children, the World Trade Center United Family Group, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Families of Flight 93 National Memorial, worthy causes all. Two of them, Tuesday’s Children and the WTC family group, said yesterday that the mint had recently sent donations. They wrestled with what to do with money from such a distasteful source.

Our advice for people who find themselves attracted by the ads for this cheesy, near-worthless trinket: Turn away and send $5 directly to one of the charities. You’ll do good and save money, too.

Original at the New York Daily News.

Category - News
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