United States Mint Tells Coin Buyers: Return to Sender

by CoinNews.net on November 1, 2007 · 5 comments

A consumer alert issued by the U.S. Mint late yesterday, October 31, warns buyers that some of the 2004 Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Sets are not authentic.

Under the best of circumstances, that’s hard news to publicize. But it’s not all dim and grim either. The Mint made a positive announcement and they’ve gone further by offering refunds with a payment of up to $130. What are the details?

Background of the 2004 Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set

The special Mint sets in question were originally issued at a price of $120. They were limited in quantity and fairly popular – popular enough to sellout in 23 days.

In addition to the included proof Lewis and Clark commemorative silver dollar that celebrated the 200th anniversary of their journey, part of the attraction for the set was the inclusion of an authentic American Indian pouch.

The Mint said it best at the time:

"Each Lewis and Clark Coin & Pouch Set includes a unique leather pouch that was personally cut, tanned and decorated by members of Tribes that figured prominently in the Lewis and Clark saga."

It certainly was an interesting concept. And although popular at the time, the unfortunate thing is that the sets haven’t held their value. (You can read an interesting blog on Numismaster.com about this very thing.)

Some of the pouches cause the refund announcement

As it turns out, the Mint recently learned from the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) that one of the organizations who produced some of the pouches doesn’t meet the legal requirements to officially produce or market authentic Indian products. That organization is the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio.

Curiously, at the time they produced the pouches everything was seemingly fine. But the organization apparently dropped their membership in the Circle of Tribal Advisors (COTA) in 2005, resulting in a chain-reaction and the current situation.

Information on who can return the bicentennial coin and pouch sets and where to send for refunds

The sets that are eligible for return are limited to those with pouches made by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio. If you have one of these sets and want to return it, here are your options:

  1. First, you must have the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) that came with the Mint set and it must name the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio as the maker of the pouch
  2. Second, if you want to keep the Lewis and Clark bicentennial silver dollar but return the pouch, you can do so and receive a refund of $90 (part of that $90 includes $10 for shipping)
  3. Or, if you wish to return the entire set (coin and pouch), you’ll receive $130 (includes $10 for shipping)

In order to get the refund, you must select your option, and then send the appropriate contents, including the Certificate of Authenticity, by insured mail or overnight delivery to:

United States Mint, ATTN:  Indian Arts & Crafts Return, 801 9th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001. 

Inside of the shipping package be sure to include the return address and all mailing information for the refund, along with a note indicating that the item is to be directed to the Indian Arts & Crafts Return.

In conclusion…

It’ll be interesting to see where prices head after the dust settles with the returns. And what will the Mint do with the returned coins?

The Mint announcement, United States Mint Offers Refund for Pouches That Are Not Authentic American Indian Products includes additional information and was used as a reference in this article. You may find the Mint’s Consumer Alert page useful as well.

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Bill NehringRobert KroningEricBlack Wind Recent comment authors
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Black Wind
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Please visit, http://www.zaneshawneecaverns.net and click the Press Release to view the response to this article.

Black Wind
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Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio Strikes Back Concerning the Validity of State Recognition of the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio A press release on the website of the United States Mint dated October 31st stated, “ The United States Mint is offering a refund of $130 to persons who own the 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set, if the pouch was produced by the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio. The U.S. Mint has learned that neither the state nor Federal authorities recognize the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio as an official Indian tribe. Therefore, the pouch is not an authentic American Indian arts and crafts product.” Leo Jennings, spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office mis-spoke (maliciously or not) concerning the worth of the State Recognition of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio (Joint Resolution… Read more »

Eric
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Interesting article how the US is inforcing that no one else coins their own money. I don’t think the US government is ever going to allow this.

http://www.sellingcoinestates.com

Robert Kroning
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Robert Kroning

Sounds like this tribe has been badly treated. Their case rings true.

Bill Nehring
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Bill Nehring

The 2 government agencies read the law wrong. It says that only artists who are members of a federal or state recognized tribe (AND artists authorized by such tribe to produce artifacts) can sold as authentic Indian artifacts. Since tribes in the COTA alliance all recognized the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band, that is their authorization and their pouches met the criteria for Indian artifacts. Whether they dropped their COTA membership later is immaterial. In fact, COTA ceased to exist after the bicentennial was over and the funds from the pouch sales were distributed. The pouches were legal at the time they were made and the dates on the COA show that. Whether the tribe meets the criteria to currently sell their crafts as Native American is something that may have to be determined by the courts. The agency in charge of protecting native american crafts made a bad judgement… Read more »