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Winners won

I had a good laugh this morning. The mail arrived and I spotted an envelope from Bill Mills, a longtime reader in Florida who usually contacts me for World Coin News to let me know of new coin issues in Latin America.

Naturally I was curious as to what might be in the envelope addressed to me in care of Numismatic News.

Enclosed was a folded-up advertising flier from a Hyundai car dealership in his area that had been mailed to him.

With car sales in the tank, I would be curious to see how the advertisement was constructed in any event, but the cover note from Bill was a very brief, “Check out ‘5 U.S. Gold Coins.’ Someone is going to be disappointed.”

My eye quickly darted to the “Scratch Off Here!” section where the recipients were asked, “Did You Win?” It went on to state, “If this number matches the number on the inside, you have won one of the following.”

Prize No. 1 was an Apple iPhone. This is a hot product even in a recession.

Prize No. 2 was a $500 gift card at the Target store chain. This also would be very useful to families attempting to get by in this economy, perhaps even aid them in paying off some credit card debts by not incurring additional expenses for the next month or two.

Prize No. 3 was a 15-inch Dell laptop computer. Having just come back from Portland after using the bulky Krause Publications laptop, winning this prize would be most welcome.

Prize No. 4 turns out to be what Bill was referring to. The color photos told the whole story to any collector who is remotely aware of what is going on in the hobby. Under the “5 U.S. Gold Coins” identification were five overlapping images of the reverse of the 2009 Native American $1 coin.

That’s what cracked me up. The dollar coins are made of base metal that has a golden color. The Mint even calls the Sacagawea dollar in this alloy a “golden dollar,” but these coins are not gold.

What to do? Well, other than enjoy the joke, there really is nothing to do. The coins are gold color. That was the intent from Day One to distinguish them from quarters or Susan B. Anthony dollars.

The old-fashioned language of the U.S. Mint, “golden dollar,” is certainly not likely to be used by ordinary people.

I don’t look for a golden envelope. I search for a gold envelope.

Average people could at first take these coins as gold, but with the precious metal at nearly $1,000 an ounce, they might be disappointed when they discover that even though the coins might look gold they don’t contain any of the metal the whole world now is scrambling to buy.

But, hey, the U.S. Mint might be pleased to see that the dollar coins – even non-Presidential dollar coins – are being used somewhere outside of Ecuador and one of five prizes to boot.

Prize No. 5? Why it is a new Hyundai Accent.

I am pleased to share the joke with the eagle-eyed Bill Mills and all readers of Numismatic News. I would like to thank Mills and all readers who bring things of this kind to my attention. Any day is better when it begins with a laugh.

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