Is it permissible for foreign governments to use images of U.S. Presidents, Civil War heroes, and other images drawn from American culture on foreign coins that they market in the United States?
Yes, it is permissible for foreign governments to use images drawn from American culture on their coins marketed abroad or in the United States.
In some cases, foreign governments have adopted the term "dollar" as their unit of currency (e.g., Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Liberia), so consumers may see non-United States coins advertised featuring dollar denominations.
As sovereign authorities, foreign governments may coin their own money and market their coins in the United States.
How can I determine whether the advertised coin is a foreign coin?
Often, it is extremely difficult to tell from the advertisement whether the featured coin is of foreign origin, especially when it depicts images drawn from American culture and a "dollar" denomination.
In many instances, the issuing government is noted on the reverse of the coin, but that reverse coin image is not always pictured in the advertisement.
The United States Mint is endeavoring to contact businesses in the U.S currently engaging in such advertising practices, and is requesting that they include a photograph of the reverse image of the coin in their advertisements.
We also request that they include a clear, noticeable disclaimer in the text of the advertisement identifying the foreign government issuing the coin.
We believe that these minor changes to existing advertising practices will greatly reduce confusion in the marketplace.
Does a business need permission from the United States Mint to market foreign coins?
Businesses do not need the United States Mint's permission to market foreign coins in the United States.
Businesses, however, are expected to observe relevant trademark laws and false and deceptive advertising laws in marketing foreign coins, and they are expected to refrain from attempting to pass off foreign coins as United States coins.
Are foreign coins considered to be a good numismatic investment?
The United States Mint does not comment on a foreign coin's current or future value as a collectible item.
If you are primarily concerned about the long-term investment value of a foreign coin, then you should contact a reputable coin dealer or coin grading service before you purchase the coin.
Also, you may wish to learn more about the issuing country’s monetary regulations and currency exchange rate.