National Mint at it again

The National Collector’s mint is at it again, this time trying to capitalize on the new Pope who was just voted in. I’ve linked to an article below that contains the following content. (I especially like the part about being scantily clad. That’s golden. Hah!)

The John Paul memorials came first, including a … memorial medal from the National Collector’s Mint (marketed over the Internet).

Both start with products issued by the U.S. government, but each is altered by the private companies selling them.

The National Collector’s Mint medal is based on a congressional gold medal issued by the U.S. government in 2001 to honor the pope. The original was presented to John Paul, and bronze copies were issued by the Treasury Department for public sale. National Collector’s Mint has taken those bronze copies and “clad” them in 30 milligrams of 24-karat gold. The cost: $19.95.

Unfortunately, this product gives new meaning to the term scantily clad, because 30 mg of gold is all of 0.0010582 ounce. Put another way, one ounce of gold is enough to clad 15,120 medals.

The marketing for these seemingly official products often caused confusion, which is why the Treasury Department proposed new rules in January aimed at eliminating misleading and deceptive advertising.

The new regulation, which has been published in the Federal Register, would allow the U.S. Mint to fine those who misuse government names or emblems “to convey the false impression that the party’s advertisements, solicitations, business activities or products are approved, endorsed, sponsored or associated with the United States Mint or the Department of the Treasury.”

Perhaps the worst example recently was the “Freedom Tower silver dollar” marketed by the National Collector’s Mint last fall to commemorate victims of the World Trade Center attack.

The advertisements claimed the “coins” were made from silver extracted from Ground Zero and the promotions used phrases such as “legally authorized government issue,” “U.S. territorial minting,” and “silver dollar.” Also, it bears the denomination “One Dollar” and the inscription “In God We Trust,” which Congress requires on all U.S. coins.

But Congress was not involved. The “coin” was issued by the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory with no authority to mint its own money; thus, technically, it is a medal. And the silver content was similar to that of the gold in the John Paul medals.

The promotion ended in October, when the New York attorney general obtained a temporary restraining order to halt sales.

The John Paul medal is marketed as a commemorative, and no claims are made for its value beyond the sentimental. But the marketers imply that the coin could have a value to collectors and “will be sought after by coin and memorabilia collectors, history buffs, and anyone who admires the moral leadership of His Holiness.”

History does not back that kind of claim.

Read the full article.

Category - Informative
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