National Collectors Mint at it again

Well, the National Collectors Mint is back in town and they’re selling coins supposedly made from silver “miraculously recovered from a bank vault found under tons of debris at Ground Zero.”

Suuuure it was.

Please realize you’ll be paying far more than the value of the coin based on its silver and gold content (estimated at $0.32). If you like the coin and are willing to fork out the $20 to buy it, by all means be my guest. Just don’t think of it as an investment.

As the nation prepares to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, a Port Chester company that two years ago got slapped for deceptive advertising in connection with a commemorative medallion is pushing a new product that it says is coated in gold and silver recovered from Ground Zero.

But numismatic experts say consumers should know the amount of gold and silver on the coin is worth far less than the $29.95 the National Collector’s Mint Inc. is asking for its new medallion.

The company’s Web site says the 5th Anniversary World Trade Center Commemorative piece is clad in 15 milligrams of “.999 pure silver” and 15 milligrams of 24 karat gold.

“You’re talking a few pennies,” said Dan Walker, who runs Dan Walker Rare Coins in Peekskill.

Silver was valued at just over $12 an ounce yesterday. Fifteen milligrams would be worth less than a penny.

The same calculation with gold, using a price of about $632.90 an ounce, show the value of the gold coating to be about 31 cents.

“I have been alarmed more than once by this kind of thing because only the gullible, not the knowledgeable collector, will buy it based on emotion,” Walker said.

Brooke Morganstein, a spokesperson for the company, said the company is marketing the medallion as a commemorative item, not for the value of the gold and silver in the coating.

The product consists of two pieces. The portion of the medallion that depicts the twin towers of the World Trade Center can be removed and placed in a standing-up position in a slot on one side of the medallion.

“The effect is dazzling — It is literally transformed into a standing sculpture of the Twin Towers!” the company says on its Web site.

The company, which operates out of an office at 8 Slater St., drew the attention of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and a state Supreme Court justice two years ago when it was marketing what it called its “Freedom Tower Silver Dollar.”

Spitzer sued the company, alleging the marketing was fraudulent and misleading because it claimed the Freedom Tower medallion was a “legally authorized government issue silver dollar” and a “U.S. territorial minting” from the U.S. Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. But the commonwealth uses U.S. currency and cannot mint currency.

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