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This Week's Letters (Archived, 2008)

A selection of reader's letters to Editor, Dave Harper.
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Q. The U.S. Mint has been given the power to levy fines against private firms who misuse Mint emblems and names in advertisements. Is this a good idea?

Yes the mint should be very aggressive in pursuing these phonies. It may just make the ALMOST legitimate market
think about being next!!

R.R. Thomas
Sun City, AZ

I have been collecting coins since 1975 and am appalled at the false and misleading advertizing done by some coin dealers, particularly mail order, TV and internet dealers.
I definitely believe they should be fined for misleading the public into accepting their ?special deals? which usually cost the buyer twice or more what they could buy the same item for from a local coin dealer. Their carefully worded ads lead the buyer into thinking they are somehow connected to the U.S. Mint when they are not, into thinking the offered coins are uncirculated when they are not, and into thinking the offered coins are especially rare when they are not. When such ads are found by Alamo Coin Club members they are brought to the meeting and exposed, so members can warn their non-collector friends who might be taken in by the ads.
 Potential collectors are grabbing these ?deals? and later find they have been taken. This sours them on coin collecting and thus a potential collector is lost to the hobby.

Harold Eiserloh
San Antonio, Texas

Fine imposters when they are playing word games re our mint and our money. NO-----prosecute them,put them in jail, put them out of business-----whatever it takes.

Ludy E. Langer
Sacramento, Calif.

The US Mint should definitely fine and stop false mint advertising. Furthermore the Mint should stop the minting of reproductions of U.S. coins whether the copy contains notice of the duplication or not.

Joe Salzburg
Sarasota Fla.

Yes the U.S. Mint should fine false advertisers to the fullest extent that they are allowed. They are nothing but a bunch of rip off dealers. The mint should do everything in their power to put these companies out of business.

Randy Showman
Fremont, Neb.

Absolutely! Not only should they have to indicate they are not the US Mint, they should have to do it in LARGE CAPITAL LETTERS.

J. B. Wulff
Bristol, CT

Absolutely the Mint Fine False Advertisers. There?s too much ripping off
going on now by the dealers and even the mint. As I?ve said before, the
mint is going wild with offerings and it?s time they got back to reality.
This has happened before with the commem program. Just look at the postage
charged for each shipment and how the mint maximizes it?s production in
order to get more. This year I?m waiting until the silver proofs are
available to order them, the non-silver proofs and mint sets.

Sanford Mazel
Altadena, Calif.

Definitely! I?ve seen some full page outragious ads touting five dollar gold and one dollar presidential coins. These ads promote not only some type of affliation with the US Mint, but a false sense of the need to act quickly while supplies last.

Robert H. Ball, Jr.
Detroit, Mich.

I say nail ?em to the jail house wall!!

Raytha Poland
San Antonio,Texas

Yes and No, False advertisers should not be able to take advantage of U.S. Mint advertising, however, what do I tell thousands of people who purchased proof and mint sets from the U.S. Mint that are now worth half of what they paid? They were all under the assumption that buying these items from the Mint was a good investment. To there disbelief, they were not. Current Mint advertising on TV leads you to believe that their products are good long term investments. Most of them are not.

Tony Swicer
West Palm Beach, FL

Yes, I believe that this is a good idea. Many times in the past 10-15 years, I have seen newspaper ads for some type of ?coin? , in which the ad gives the impression that it was issued by the US mint . People who are not familier with coins, or with US MInt issued products, get sucked into these scams. In almost all cases, the coin is worth about 1/3 of what the company is charging for it!

A.C. Almlie
San Carlos, Calif.

Yes, the US Mint should have the power to levy fines against private
firms who misuse mint emblems, names, etc.

Kevin McLaughlin
Merrimack, N.H.

Yes, the U.S. Mint should levy fines against companies or individuals who misuse its emblems and names in advertisements and other promotions to suggest a connection to the Mint. It?s about time that the charlatans and other other opportunistic con-artists were halted in their tracks.
On a very closely-related subject, the Mint should crack down on the types of products many of these companies sell, notably flash-plated, etched, or painted coins. The Mint should reach out the public-at-large to better educate them about the worthlessness of these altered coins. Of course, one associated challenge will be what to do about retailers and other purveyors of all this garbage. The proverbial buck needs to stop with those who are doing the alterations and not those unfortunate enough to be stuck with relatively worthless inventory.
 Perhaps some of the ultra-high premiums Congress has authorized the Mint could be used to incentivize dealers to put this garbage where it belongs.

Bill Davenport
Arlington Heights, Ill.

The U.S. Mint has become nothing more than another ?Windfall? profit company. Excessive surcharges, a two roll box of J.F.K. half dollar face value TWENTY DOLLARS sales for Thirty Five, 2001 rools of J.F.K?s STILL being sold direct from the Mint killing any collector value to those that paid the jacked up prices when they newly minted, over produced products........

And now being granted the ability to levy fines that will be ?Self Serving? to further develop profits.

Russ Carter
Pataskala, Ohio

My vote is YES.

Robert L. Skala
Saint Louis County, Mo.

Absolutely! Misleading and false advertising is one of the leading unethical behaviors plaguing the coin hobby.

Gregory Kipp
San Mateo, Calif.

I think that the misleading advertising involving use of pseudo credible names and symbols is a very detrimental force in our hobby.
How many times do we see ?Official Mint Issue? or ?US Mint Set?, etc..
All of these marketers try to convince the non numismatists that there is an Official US backing of their overpriced offering.
These, are the people who are ruining our hobby! Yes, I think that The U.S. Mint should be given the power to levy fines against private firms who misuse Mint emblems and names in advertisements and other promotions to create a false impression of a connection to the Mint.

David Klinger
San Diego, Calif.

I don?t have any objection to the fines, sometimes I have come close to buying from, (in fact I did buy something) because they were using the mint name and emblem. I just feel a little safer thinking with seeing them on the page.

Rick Brazelton
Dickinson, ND

I fully agree that misleading claims should be stopped.

Gary Allen
Annapolis, MD

Yes, the U.S. Mint should be able to enjoin and, if necessary, fine private firms who attempt to defraud the public by misusing Mint trademarks or symbols. The proliferation of false and misleading advertising in newspapers and magazines is disgraceful and does great harm to the hobby.

Dennis Colby
Villa Park, IL