WASHINGTON — Recent Internet advertisements for “Operation Freedom” colorized Kennedy half–dollars have caught the attention of the United States Mint and the Michigan State Attorney General’s Office. Touted as commemorative coins, the advertisements have generated confusion among consumers who believe the colorized coins are genuine commemorative coins produced by the United States Mint. Other advertisements include colorized Eisenhower dollar coins and American Eagle silver bullion coins paying homage to the U.S. armed forces in Iraq.
Only the United States Congress may authorize an official commemorative coin program. Companies or private mints may have used genuine United States coins, but have colorized them or superimposed designs over their original images. These private mints are not affiliated with the United States Mint or the U.S. Government.
The United States Mint receives frequent inquiries from the public concerning its position on the practice of superimposing images on authentic U.S. coins. The United States Mint does not encourage, endorse or sponsor products that alter the fundamental images depicted on its coins. A superimposed design is different than the coin’s original image and obscures the coin’s original design.
The United States Mint is attempting to work with the companies in question to remove troublesome language from their advertisements that appears to be causing confusion in the marketplace. Additional information concerning colorized coins can be found by clicking on “Consumer Awareness” at www.usmint.gov.