What’s the value of a $2 bill that’s been sprayed with gold leaf? Two dollars — maybe less, if merchants don’t want to accept the corrupted currency. But that hasn’t stopped vendors from selling these and other “collectible” bills and coins at prices way above face value.
Consumer Reports looked at some of the advertised offers, and found that they short-changed would-be collectors:
A company offers sheets of 32 $1 bills for $73 (available from the BEP for $55). How about $56.90 for a 1921 Morgan silver dollar claimed to have been discovered in a Midwest farm cellar? Its value: about $27. Another company charges $9.98 for a coin with an image of President Obama.
It’s unlikely that many of those “investments” will skyrocket in value. “If an Obama coin is something you want for personal reasons, great,” says Jay Beeton, marketing and public relations director for the American Numismatic Association. “But if you are buying it because you think you are going to be rich, I think you are going to be sadly disappointed.”
Consumer Reports warns against promotions that include “certificates of authenticity, restrictions on how much you can buy, company names that include ‘mint’ or ‘reserve,’ and pictures of federal landmarks.”
If you actually want to collect currency, Consumer Reports suggests starting by reading up on the stuff, using resources recommended by the American Numismatic Association.