Obama coins no more than mementos
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
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."