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Disney Dollars and other Souvenir Scrip

Aren’t Disney dollars and other currencies offered by entertainment venues as an alternate to cash a form of seignorage by which the issuer benefits?

Souvenir scrip can be purchased at a theme or entertainment park at face value. The scrip can later be redeemed by spending it at that venue. This is a novel way of creating seignorage for the issuer since many people will simply keep the scrip as a souvenir rather than spend it.

An example of Souvenir Scirp. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.)

An example of Souvenir Scirp. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.)

Could gift cards also be considered a form of self-generating seignorage for the issuing entity?

The value of unredeemed gift cards (called breakage in the trade) has been argued to be anywhere between two and 20 percent. This is a form of seignorage for the company in whose name the unredeemed amount was issued. There are also cards on which the unredeemed value declines with time or can decline due to transaction fees. Gift cards are not necessarily a better way to give someone a present than by giving them cash.

How can I be assured third party certification service ‘slabs’ haven’t been tampered with?

There are many tamper-proof technologies employed in assuring the encapsulations haven’t been opened. Among these are holograms, ultrasonic welding of the plastic case, special labels, and micro-printing. The services do not disclose every precaution taken for obvious reasons.

Can you explain the term “grade-flation?”

Third party certification services are supposed to offer a consistent opinion for coins in each grade. The human factor reminds us anyone can make a mistake, but “grade-flation” is when a company lowers the standards through which grades are assigned to coins. Such a change in standards could become harmful to the credibility of the company and to the entire coin market.

Are there any major varieties such as a doubled die or overdate American Eagle coin? 

There are major varieties due to the finish on the coin, such as Reverse Proof and the like, but there have not yet been any reports of coins with double punched mint marks or other collectible varieties. Readers: any input?

What does the Silver American Eagle Monster Box contain?

The Monster Box holds 500 SAE coins. The coins are packaged in 25 plastic tubes of 20 coins each. The 15-by-8.5-by-4.5 inch box is made of a hard green plastic.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.