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Presidential dollars succeed, sort of

The jury may still be out on the eventual success of the Presidential dollar series. Only two coins have been released so far. Americans may never use them as a circulating medium of exchange. Collectors could grow tired of them.

However, one measure of the success of the program is already in. Full-page ads in non-numismatic newspapers made up to look similar to something official from the government appeared with the release of the Adams dollar.

“Public Notice of New United States Coins” read one that I saw in all capital letters.
A photo of two men in suits displaying a supposed set of Presidential coins establishes the “feel” of the ad. One man holds up a large piece of what looks like heavy cardboard with a photo of the White House on top and coins below it. Readers are urged to put in their $28 “claim” for it and get the first four of the Presidential coins for free.

Obviously, the cost of the holder must be quite large if you can get a $28 claim on it plus $4 in coins.

If ads like this appear, then I must presume that Americans are responding in sufficient numbers to cover the costs of the ads and encourage the firms that place them to keep doing it. That is an indirect affirmation of the appeal of the new Presidential dollar coins.

American marketing is nothing if not creative, but marketers won’t do something if it isn’t profitable.

The language of these ads has evolved over time as the Mint has acted to both raise its profile and reduce the possibility of confusion of its identity with purely private entities.

But it is a wonder to me that so many Americans don’t think of banks first when a new coin comes along. Perhaps that is an indictment of the nation’s banks. Supplying coins to customers is one of banking’s basic functions.

Americans claim they don’t want to use dollar coins to spend. They want paper instead, but at least some of these very same Americans will put their “claims” in when a private firm declares that it has a supply of new dollar coins. How interesting.