Exposition Coins

A new book: Days of Our Coins Volume I

The other day we posted a press release about the United Future World Currency and their coin that traveled to the International Space Station.

In their Editor’s Notes, they mention, “The coins of the UFWC have been given legal tender status at the forthcoming ‘EXPO MILANO 2015’. A special set of coins will be commissioned for this occasion and will be utilised for the duration of the International Exposition.”

But, let’s think about the logistics of having a special legal tender status for these coins.

If the majority of the European nations (including the city of Milan) remain on the Euro as their currency, what will be the trading value of the United Future World Currency coinage? Will it be one-for-one with the Euro? What will the coins cost? Will a premium be charged to obtain the United Future World Currency?

For example, let’s go back in time over 100 years ago to the Columbian Exposition.

The United States Mint produced the first commemorative coin, the Columbian silver half dollar, in 1892-93 for the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893.

The commemorative coins initially sold for one dollar even though their legal tender value was a half dollar. Since the general public did not widely purchase these commemorative coins, the US Mint released the excess at face value for circulation. (That had to make some people unhappy who paid $1.00 for theirs.)

The Columbian silver half dollar obverse:

World's Columbian Exposition 1892 silver half dollar obverse

Now, the reverse:

World's Columbian Exposition 1892 silver half dollar reverse

In the early days of the commemorative coins, the US Mint used the same metals as the circulating coins. At that point in time, they did charge a premium for the commemorative coins, at least initially, but the premium was not as dramatic as today’s collectible commemorative coin prices.

The US Mint uses commemorative coins to generate numismatic interest, and with collectible commemorative coins, they also obtain revenues for particular causes. Collectible commemorative coins, whether cupro-nickel clad or silver coins, include premiums that are several times their actual face value (legal tender value).

Of course, today, there are circulating commemoratives, for example, the state and national park quarters. For those commemoratives, their legal tender value and their “cost” are the same.

Back to the intial question, how will the United Future World Coins be used in the 2015 Expo?

As with the initial delivery of the Columbian half dollars, will the United Future World Coins cost more to purchase than their legal tender value?

And, how will their legal tender value be determined against the local currency?

Which mint will produce the coins? How will they determine how many to produce? Will the coins contain precious and semi-precious metals?

Consumers will not want a coin that does not retain its value for purchases. Collectors will not want a coin that is too widely distri buted or does not have metal content value.

Or, perhaps, the coins will only be collectibles and not really circulating coins during the 2015 Expo.

In summary, they have quite a few challenges to overcome before the 2015 event.

A new book: Days of Our Coins Volume I