Numismatist advertisement seems deceivingPublished 4:41pm Friday, November 19, 2010
Column: Between the Corn Rowswinning
Sometimes magazine ads can be both misleading and confusing. I found partial proof for this statement with a two-page ad in two veterans’ organization magazines dated this month.
This ad declares that “new state coins go to public free.” Anytime the word free appears in an ad, I figure there’s a gimmick involved. We’ll explain what could be a rather costly price for these coins later.
According to this ad, our U.S. Mint has started to create 56 new “America the Beautiful” quarters based on the nation’s states and territories.
The first five coins dated 2010 feature Yellowstone for Wyoming, Hot Springs for Arkansas, Yosemite for California, Grand Canyon for Arizona and Mount Hood for Oregon. One can assume there will be five more state quarters minted next year with themes based on tourist attractions.
This ad does acknowledge that there was another issue of 50 state quarters issued by the U.S. Mint from 1999 to 2008. They were issued in the order those states became a part of the United States. Many folks collected these coins as issued and have them in special albums as future investments. At the present time, my complete collection of those coins is worth $12.50.
There’s a seven-day deadline to get those allegedly free coins. However, no date is given as to when this deadline starts or ends.
On the second page of this ad is an outline of each state and a separate 866 number to get that specific coin in this new issue. This layout is six states wide and eight states deep. And right here are several really weird aspects of this free coin offer.
First, multiplying six times eight still has the answer of 48, even on a computer. This means two American states are missing and they aren’t Alaska and Hawaii.
For some odd reason Vermont and Massachusetts aren’t a part of this free coin offer at all. Also, the ad says no shipments can be made to California or Pennsylvania.
Second, the ad says, “Ohio and Florida residents require the remittance of applicable sales tax.” If these coins are free as advertised, then the sales tax shouldn’t apply. Yet, as I will explain, there happens to be an angle to this offer involving money.
Third, the outline for Florida says this coin is not available and no 866 number or special code is listed. Also, the California coin is listed as not being available. Yet, this coin based on Yosemite is supposed to have been issued earlier this year. Something here doesn’t make sense.
This particular magazine advertisement actually has 46 different 866 toll-free telephone numbers for folks to call for those free coins. Of those 46 numbers, 45 are for individual states and one could be the “hotline” for the firm’s main office in North Canton, Ohio.
Just for the heck of it, I called the listed numbers for Minnesota and Oregon to see what evolved. What I got was loud music for both calls and a lady who very abruptly asked what city I was calling from for the Minnesota call, and a man who wanted to know what state I was calling from for the Oregon call. I quickly ended both calls.
Anyway, there’s an indication those 866 telephone numbers actually work.
Now, what’s the gimmick with those five free quarters for the states of Wyoming, Arkansas, California, Arizona and Oregon? To get these new quarters with a value of $1.25 the respondents to this ad have to purchase a collectors coin chest (illustrated in the ad) for $9, plus shipping. I have a strong hunch there’s still another collectors coin chest to be purchased for the five new quarters to be issued in 2011.
Incidentally, those earlier state quarters are still very much in circulation. Now let’s see if the new quarters start to become a part of the change for our purchases.
And right about here is a good place to end this two-bit commentary.
Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.