US Mint Issues Consumer Alert on 9/11 Commemorative Dollar
A Consumer Alert was issued by the United States Mint today concerning a "10th Anniversary September 11th Commemorative Dollar" currently being sold by a company known as the National Collector’s Mint.
This alert comes in response to pleas from two New York Congressmen, Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Sen. Charles Schumer, who asked the US Mint to place a notice on its website informing customers of what they call "phony coins."
The coins in question are advertised on the companies’ website as a "Liberian government authorized legal tender coin" clad in 14 mg of pure 24-Karat gold. Additional design elements include a skyline of the twin towers and silhouette of the USS New York which the site says are "clad in a total 14 mg .999 pure silver actually recovered from the vaults beneath the ashes of Ground Zero."
Nadler and Schumer evidently feel that the claims of the company are misleading at best and perhaps even fraudulent. And the response from the US Mint tends to support that position.
In the consumer alert, the US Mint states in part:
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.
Additionally the congressmen have asked the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation into the matter stating that the claims of the coins being government sanctioned are deceiving. The two also question the claims of the recovered Ground Zero silver being used in each dollar as well as the true value of the precious metals contained within it.
Following the Mint’s website warning, Representative Nadler had this comment:
"I applaud the U.S. Mint for responding so quickly to warn consumers about the phony 9/11 coins being sold by the National Collector’s Mint and others," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. "Now, we call on the FTC to conduct a complete investigation of the perpetrators and send a strong message to other would-be opportunists seeking to profit from 9/11."
In response, the National Collector’s Mint posted a statement refuting the allegations. The statement refers to a "chain of custody" in regards to silver that had been recovered from Ground Zero and eventually used in the commemoratives. It also affirms the company’s position that the claims of the amount of gold and silver in each piece are accurate. Additionally, it states:
"NCM has donated over $2 million from sales of all our 9/11 commemoratives to charities like the following: A Journey for 9/11, Flight 93 National Memorial Fund, National Association of EMTs, NY Presbyterian Hospital, Scott Hazelcorn Children’s Foundation, Todd Beamer Foundation, Tuesday’s Children, United Firefighters Widows & Children Association, United Way’s September 11th Fund, World Trade Center United Family Group. NCM wanted to also work with the WTC Memorial but was rebuffed. Nonetheless, we sent money to them, which was returned. We continue to make donations to other organizations."
The controversy surrounding the strikes appears personal to the two congressmen not only because they serve the state of New York, but also because they authored legislation last summer that directs the US Mint to produce the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal. That legislation (Public Law 111-221) dictates that up to two million silver medals will be produced. A $10 surcharge on the sale of each coin will be forwarded to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center to support its operations and maintenance following its completion.
The US Mint indicates that the silver medals will be available later this year.