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Obama coins no more than mementos
by newkerala.com

Painted 'Obama Coins', currently being promoted as 'genuine' U.S. Inaugural Presidential Dollar showing a coloured picture of President-elect Barack Obama, are nothing more than mementos with little resale value to coin collectors, according to a coin-collecting expert.

The TV ads claim that the coins featuring Obama in "glorious full colour" can be grabbed for 9.95 dollars, plus shipping and handling.

But, a coin-collecting expert ha said the gold-dipped, painted coins are nothing more than a trinket, and the U.S. Mint, the only official purveyor of U.S. currency has cautioned buyers not to be tricked by such fake coins.

"They are worth the face value of the coin. If the coin says 25 cents, it's worth a quarter," the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Scott Travers, author of the Coin Collector's Survival Manual and a New York City coin dealer, as saying.

Last month, the U.S. Mint issued a warning that the heavily advertised commemorative coins, which are produced by many private companies, are not official U.S. Treasury products.

Mint spokesman Michael White said that altering coins with stickers, plating or colours is not considered illegal as long as the company doesn't intend to pass them off as currency or use them as advertising.

He said: "Our concern here is that it's confusing to consumers," who may think the coins are official government products.

The New England Mint, a Connecticut company, which advertised the "uncirculated U.S. Presidential Dollars" as "limited edition" coins on TV and on the Internet, was unavailable for comment on the issue.

The Professional Numismatists Guild, a non-profit organization of rare-coin dealers, also advised consumers that the recently offered Obama coins are merely mementos with little resale value to coin collectors.

According to Travers, colouring and plating coins ruins the collector value and that collectors prefer pristine coins. He added that the Obama coin "is purely a souvenir, and it's not an investment."

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