Barack Obama coins are everywhere but worth little
By Jessica Troiano
Special to amNewYork
Many Americans hope that President-elect Barack Obama will solve our nations financial woes, but experts caution that coins featuring the next presidents face are not a sound investment decision.
Within days of Obamas victory, television ads offering commemorative presidential coins popped up all over the airwaves. Most offer a real U.S. coin with a plastic or metal overlay with the president-elects image on it for a price that is many times the face value of the coin: About $10 for a $1 coin.
Coin experts, or numismatists, warn buyers that these defaced coins have virtually no resale value.If its a silver coin, it will be worth the price of the silver, said Jim McNamara, professional numismatist at Stacks, a New York City coin auction house. If its not silver, it probably wont be worth anything.
Altering U.S. coins in this manner is not illegal, said Michael White, a U.S. Mint spokesman.
As long as you dont represent it as other than the alternate coin that it is, you can sell it, he said.
The Mint does not encourage the practice, however, and published a consumer alert advising the public that the Obama coins are not currency.
As for its sentimental value, the coins worth is in the eye of the beholder. If consumers want to own a souvenir, the coins may be worthwhile, said Jay Beeton of the American Numismatic Association.
If people see value in it as a political memento, so be it, he said.