New Sept. 11 Commemorative Coins a Cheap Imitation, Say Politicians
Monday, January 24, 2011
They aren't buying it.
A 10th anniversary September 11 commemorative coin is siphoning money away from funding that goes to the official memorial and the advertisements backing the currency are duping customers, two politicians charged Monday.
Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Jerry Nadler, who passed legislation this Summer to create a commemorative coin to raise money for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said this new coin will detract from sales that go to the memorial.
"It was something that the 9/11 families and at the museum long sought," Schumer said.
The memorial loses $2 each time the National Collector's Mint sells a coin, Schumer's office said. The politicians called for the Federal Trades Commission to shut down the company and investigate it.
The commercial claims the coins are "clad in 14 mg of pure 24K gold and have 14 mg of .999 pure silver," but Schumer and Nadler said the value amounts to less than .60 cents in value. The company says in the ad that the silver comes from a vault found in World Trade Center ruins.
"Claims that these bogus coins cast from materials recovered at Ground Zero are particularly disgusting if as we believe they are entirely unfounded," said Nadler.
But the National Collector's Mint defending their ads as accurate. In a statement, the company said, "The silver used in this commemorative was in fact recovered from the World Trade Center site was bought from a company who received it through one of the banks who stored silver bars, coins, etc. in its vaults under the WTC. We have lawyers’ letters and a complete chain of custody for the materials."
In 2004, the National Collector's Mint was charged with fraud for issuing a September 11 commemorative coin called "Freedom Tower Silver Dollar." They were forced to pay $2 million in refunds and cancellations and $369,000 in penalties. The coins issued by the U.S. Mint to support the September 11 memorial will be released later this year.