As explained in part one of this article, there are plenty of marketers trying to cash in on President Obama's historic rise to the White House by selling so-called "official" Obama coins. In my expert opinion, none of these unauthorized Obama coins are a good investment. So many millions of them are being sold that they will never be worth even half of what people are paying for them anytime in the next three generations.
However, there is one coin that President Obama himself has authorized, and which is being sold on Obama's official non-government Web site. The coin, (which should technically be described as a "medal,") is being offered in three metals: bronze, silver, and gold.
The Official Obama Coins' Specifications
The official Obama coins were struck by the Medalcraft Mint under contract for Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee. They depict a portrait of President Barack Obama on the obverse (heads side) which was designed by Marc Mellon. The reverse, designed by Thomas Rogers, Sr., depicts Obama's Presidential Inaugural Seal with an inscription below. The inscription reads, "44th President of the United States of America Inaugurated Jan. 20, 2009."
The bronze and silver medals are a hefty 2.75 inches in diameter, and come with a wood display base and a certificate of authenticity. The bronze official Obama medal has no mintage limit, and sells for $60 on Obama's Web site. The silver medal is made of pure (.999 fine) silver and sells for $400.
The Obama gold medal is 1.25 inches in diameter and struck in 14k gold, with a 24k plating to enhance its appearance. The only way to get the gold Obama medal is to buy the entire set of three types for $3,000. The set comes in a hardwood presentation box and includes the certificate of authenticity.
Official Obama Coins - A Good Investment?
The official Obama coins are a much better investment than the junk being sold by unauthorized marketers, but the bronze Obama inaugural coin is probably not going to be a big investment winner because there is no limit to how many are being made. One of the key considerations when buying any collectible for investment purposes must be rarity! The bronze Obama medal is not rare or limited in number.
The silver and gold Obama medals do have a limited mintage, 10,499 for the silver and 500 for the gold. But the second question you must ask yourself when buying a collectible for investment reasons is, "am I paying too much for it?" This is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but keep in mind that few collectors can afford to pay such high prices. The future resale value might not stay as high as the issue price was.
Where to Buy the Official Obama Coins
The best place to buy the official Obama coins is at Obama's own inaugural souvenirs Web site. In fact, for the silver and gold versions, Obama's site is the only place to buy them, unless someone is reselling.
Several other marketers and coin dealers are selling the bronze official Obama coin for varying prices. If you see the official Obama inaugural coins in gold and silver for sale elsewhere, you'll almost certainly pay more for them than if you bought them directly from Obama's store.
There was one other official Obama coin that was sanctioned by the Democratic Party, but it was never sold to the public. According to the Birmingham Post, the Democratic Party placed an order with the Winston Elizabeth & Windsor (WEW) mint in England for about £100,000 ($156,000) worth of silver Obama coins to be used as gifts for party supporters. (Why the Democratic Party is buying from companies in England, rather than the USA is an issue beyond the scope of this article.)
These WEW silver Obama coins, which were made from specially-designed dies, were issued in a numbered limited edition of 300 coins. If you were lucky enough to have received one of these official Obama coins, you just might have a collectible with some potential to increase in value over the years!
Note: After this article was published, the WEW Mint began selling Obama coins struck from dies that are the same, or very similar to, the ones commissioned by the Democratic Party. The WEW coins which are for sale to the public are not the official coins mentioned above! They are not part of the rare numbered issue, and they are not authorized by President Obama.