I was just watching a commercial before turning the tv off and I happened to catch one of those famous commercials offering some commemorative coin for about $20 plus shipping and handling of course. Now, while watching the ad, it metions you can get a newly minted coin worth $20USD and you only pay face value plus shipping. In order for them to sell these, they tell you a couple things. One, the coin is a limited edition collector’s item, so naturally, the value is going to be much higher than face value due to their rarity. Second, they tell you that you can only buy five coins per caller. This point is meant to make you think that their limited quantities are actually of a lower number than you may have originally thought. If you’re a collector or more specifically a coin collector, this might entice you to make illegitimate attempts to secure more than five coins thinking that you duped the system and are now “ahead” of the curve for it.
Before you call the number, you might want to read on. The company I’m referring to is the National Collector’s Mint, which I’ll call the NCM from here on out. Some quick facts:
- The NCM cannot produce legal tender for the United States or it’s territories.
- NCM is a corporation with international contracts to make legal currency for other countries.
- Their legal tender is only legal in Liberia.
- The NCM does sell U.S. legal currency at times.
Let’s start with number one. First of all, there’s only one entity that can produce legal tender for the United States and that’s the U.S. Mint. While any company or individual can create custom coinage or novelty currency, none of it can be used as currency. Number two and three; the NCM holds contracts with other countries (usually 3rd world) which allow them to create that countries legal currency. So from time to time, they make a coin that will commemorate an event or person in the United States that actually holds value in another country (usually Liberia). This is all legal and perfectly legit.
Number four; to add to the confusion, the NCM does offer some legal items and rare coins from time to time. The problem is that they mix these items with the ones they create thus very likely giving the impression that the NCM is always selling legal coins. Of course, any smart person would always read the fine print before buying anything, but this practice is still frowned upon.
Now for some simple math. At any given time, a US dollar (USD) will fetch about 64 Liberian dollars (LRD). What this means is that if you spend $20USD on a coin only legal in Liberia, you’ll end up getting a coin worth about $0.99USD. This is not counting the shipping and handling. Enjoy!