Consumer Information - Hot Items
The United States Mint frequently receives inquiries from consumers who have confused coin-related products from private companies with genuine United States coinage. This page includes information about these products, plus other coin-related issues that may be of interest to our customers and to the general public. As more public inquires are received and new issues arise, additional information will be added, so remember to check this page for updates.
Public Availability of Presidential $1 Coins
It has come to the attention of the United States Mint that several companies have been advertising United States Mint Presidential $1 Coins with potentially misleading and deceptive claims that the “circulation” of Presidential $1 Coins has been “suspended.” One company is falsely claiming that new designs are no longer available. Additionally, the United States Mint has learned that PCS Stamps and Coins of Norwalk, Connecticut, is making the following erroneous claim in its marketing materials: “The U.S. Mint coin presses have been OFFICIALLY SUSPENDED for circulating Presidential Dollars.” PCS Stamps and Coins also has been mailing an “Official Settlement Notice,” asking consumers to mail in an “Official Settlement Claim Form” with a “Claim Number” within 10 days to “reserve . . . The Complete U.S. Presidential Coin Collection before supplies are exhausted.”
These types of statements are potentially deceptive and misleading to consumers because the United States Mint has not suspended the Presidential $1 Coin Program. To the contrary, the Secretary of the Treasury ordered only that the United States Mint suspend the minting of Presidential $1 Coins issued for circulation to the Federal Reserve Banks.
The United States Mint will continue to mint and sell to the public each new design of the Presidential $1 Coins, in the order of each President’s period of service, until each President has been so honored. The United States Mint currently makes available for sale to the public circulating quality Presidential $1 Coins in bags, rolls, and other packaging, as well as uncirculated and proof quality Presidential $1 Coins in sets and other collector products. Posted 8/13/2012.
10th Anniversary September 11th Commemorative Dollar
The United States Mint wants to alert consumers and the public about a new product being marketed by a private firm—the National Collector's Mint. The National Collector's Mint advertises this product as a "10th Anniversary September 11th Commemorative Dollar" and claims that it is a "Liberian government authorized legal tender coin."
This product is not a genuine United States coin or medal. Under the Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power to coin money of the United States. Congress has delegated its authority to mint and issue coins to the Secretary of Treasury, and Congress requires the Secretary to carry out these duties at the United States Mint. Thus, the United States Mint is the only government entity in the United States with the authority to coin money.
Consumers may find the advertisements for this product confusing because the National Collector's Mint uses phrases such as "legal tender dollar." The product itself may be confusing because it bears the denomination "One Dollar." Congress did not authorize the National Collector's Mint product, and the United States Government does not endorse it.
The only official United States coin or medal to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks is the "National September 11 Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal," which is authorized by Public Law 111-221 (approved by the President on August 6, 2010). The design of these medals will be emblematic of the courage, sacrifice, and strength of those individuals who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the bravery of those who risked their lives to save others that day, and the endurance, resilience, and hope of those who survived. Each medal struck will bear an inscription of the years "2001-2011" and an inscription of the words "Always Remember." These national medals will be struck by the United States Mint and made available for sale to the public later this year. Surcharges received by the United States Mint from the sale of the medals are authorized to be paid to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center to support the operations and maintenance of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center following its completion.
Imitation Pre-1950 Coinage
The United States Mint is aware of recent reports that some companies in China are producing unmarked imitations of pre-1950 United States coins and are selling them on-line. This practice not only exploits unwary consumers and collectors, but also may violate Federal law. Both consumers and coin collectors should be aware of this practice and should exercise vigilance and good judgment when purchasing pre-1950 coins.
The Hobby Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2101–2106) outlaws manufacturing or importing imitation numismatic items unless they are marked in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Specifically, any such imitation numismatic item intended to be introduced or distributed in commerce must be plainly and permanently marked "copy." To read the FTC's 1998 Consumer Alert on Investing in Rare Coins, visit the Better Business Bureau's webpage, http://www.bbb.org/us/article/4740.
In addition, these imitation coins may violate Federal counterfeiting laws (18 U.S.C. §§ 485, 489 & 490). The United States Mint has no Federal criminal enforcement authority. Rather, it refers such matters to the United States Secret Service, which is lawfully authorized to detect and arrest any person who violates any Federal law relating to United States coinage (18 U.S.C. § 3056(b)(2)). For more information on counterfeit coins, visit the United States Secret Service's webpage, http://www.treas.gov/usss/money_coins.shtml.
2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Sets Containing Pouches From the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio
It has come to the attention of the United States Mint that the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio, one of the organizations whose artisans produced pouches for the 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set, is not officially recognized as an Indian tribe by state or Federal authorities. Accordingly, we are informing members of the public who own a set containing a pouch produced by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio that the pouch is not an authentic American "Indian" arts and crafts product.
Pursuant to the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644), a product is an authentic American Indian creation only if crafted by a member of a federally or state recognized Indian tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian tribe. (See http://www.doi.gov/iacb/ for more information on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Because the pouches created by artisans from the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio do not meet these criteria, they do not qualify to be marketed as authentic American "Indian" merchandise.
The United States Mint sold a limited number of the 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Sets between September 7, 2004, and December 31, 2004. Each set consisted of a proof Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial Silver Dollar, a handcrafted American Indian Pouch, and a certificate of authenticity (COA) hand-signed by the American Indian artisan who crafted it, stating the artisan’s tribe and its location. The United States Mint worked with the Circle of Tribal Advisors (COTA) to identify artisans from American Indian tribes to craft each unique pouch. When it was selected to produce pouches, the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio was a member in good standing of COTA. However, as we now have become aware, the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio did not meet the legal requirements to produce and market authentic "Indian" products under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. The Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio reportedly dropped its membership in COTA late in 2005, and COTA adjourned late in 2006 at the end of the National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commemoration.
The names of the various artisans and their tribes who crafted the pouches for the United States Mint are identified in the COA accompanying the pouch sets. Customers may ascertain whether their pouch set was crafted by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio by referring to the COA.
Members of the public who own a 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set containing a pouch produced by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio may return the set, along with the COA, to the United States Mint. Those who return such sets to the United States Mint will receive a payment of $130.00 for each set, representing the original sales price of the product ($120.00), plus $10.00 for each set to defray shipping, handling, and insurance charges. The Owners of a 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set who desire to keep the Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial Silver Dollar may return the pouch, along with the COA from the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio, for a prorated refund of $90.00, representing the prorated sales price of the pouch ($80.00), plus $10.00 for each pouch to defray shipping, handling, and insurance charges.
To receive a refund, send the 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Sets, or pouches, along with the COAs indicating that the pouches were made by a member of the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio, by insured mail or overnight delivery to United States Mint, ATTN: Indian Arts & Crafts Return, 801 9th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001. Inside of the shipping package be sure to include return address mailing information for the refund, along with a note indicating that the item is to be directed to the Indian Arts & Crafts Return.
FINAL REGULATION ISSUED PROHIBITING THE EXPORTATION, MELTING, OR TREATMENT OF UNITED STATES ONE-CENT AND 5-CENT COINS
On April 10, 2007, United States Mint Director Edmund Moy approved a final rule that generally prohibits the exportation, melting, or treatment of United States one-cent coins (pennies) and 5-cent coins (nickels), which became effective upon publication in the Federal Register on April 16, 2007. The final rule is based on the interim rule that was published on December 20, 2006, and it addressed public comments submitted in response to the interim rule. The United States Mint concluded the interim rule would be adopted as a final rule with certain changes based on the public comments and additional considerations. This measure has been implemented to protect the coinage of the United States by ensuring that sufficient quantities of 5-cent and one-cent coins remain in circulation to meet the needs of the United States. A violation of these restrictions can lead to a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to 5 years, and forfeiture of the subject coins or metal. The authority for implementing this regulation is Title 31 of the United States Code, Section 5111(d).
You can view the complete press release and the Federal Register Notice for the final rule.