But as I read the body copy of the two-page ad and compared the offer to what I found on the website of the U.S. Mint, I quickly began to suspect that something about the very official-sounding World Reserve Monetary Exchange wasn't quite right.
Next to a photo of what looked like hundreds of coins read the caption, "These massive vault boxes contain the sealed vault tubes for the complete collection of forty Presidential Dollars, 480 coins in all ... It's a real steal at just $28 for these crystal clear sealed vault tubes that show off the rare edge markings and protect the coin's never-circulated value."
How could this be? The U.S. Mint was charging $35.95 for a 25-coin roll of Presidential coins. And they indicated that only four Presidential coins had been released to date, with four more scheduled each year until at least 2016. I decided to call the World Reserve Monetary Exchange. Here are excerpts:
World Reserve Monetary Exchange (WRME): Congratulations. You have met the 72-hour deadline to claim the first Presidential dollar coins in never-circulated condition. Robert, as evidence of just how hard it is to get your hands on these never-circulated coins, so far the U.S. Government has already been forced by law to stop minting two Presidential dollar coins forever. There will never be any more.
(I read the photo caption with the $28 offer.)
WRME: The purchase price for that is $1,056. That includes a tube of every President, a free coin of every President. That's 40 tubes and 40 coins.
Robert Rosenthal (RR): What are the payment terms?
WRME: The payment is $44 a month with 24 months to pay.
RR: And they're going to be minted over what period of time?
WRME: 10 years. 4 coins per year. Each coin is minted on a 93-day increment.
RR: So I'd be getting the coins over 10 years?
RR: I see. And the $28 offer that you're referring to -- what do I get for that?
WRME: You get one roll and each roll contains 12 coins ... plus your free coin which will amount to 13.
RR: That would come to $2.33 I think. On the U.S. Mint (site), the Adams roll came to $1.44 per coin. Do you know what the difference is, why it's considerably more going through you?
WRME: No I do not. I actually don't have an answer for that.
So just to recap, what initially looked like an offer for free Presidential coins or hundreds of coins for $28 turned out to cost nearly 40 times that amount. I'd pay for the series in 24 months but get the vast majority of coins over an 8-year period after forking over the full $1,056 payment. If I bought the lower-priced "roll" I'd pay a 60% premium over the price on the US. Mint website.
I ended up buying some Presidential coins -- from the U.S. Mint.
Question for my friends in direct marketing: Is this sort of thing good for our industry?