U.S. Secret Service Investigates Coins Used in McDonald’s


Two days ago the Peoria Journal Star reported a police investigation alleging the use of counterfeit Presidential $1 Coins at a local McDonald’s restaurant in Macomb, Illinois.

The coins were colored and had the faces of U.S. Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Each were apparently shiny and because they included what looked like the James Madison Presidential Dollar, it was surmised the coins may have come from a collector’s proof set.

Proof sets are special coins the U.S. Mint specifically makes for coin collectors. Although the Madison Presidential Dollar has not yet been released for public circulation, it is available through the 2007 Presidential $1 Coin Proof Set.

Initially, speculation arose that the lack of understanding of proof sets and that of Presidential $1 Coins, which have mintage productions in the hundreds of millions but many people still haven’t seen, resulted in the investigation of counterfeit coins that were actually genuine.

That was understandable given the circumstances and lack of details. Further, it’s less than logical that anyone would actually spend time and resources to counterfeit metallic dollars and then try to pass them off as real.

However, in this case, logic may have been thrown out the door.

The Peoria Journal Star followed up today with another story indicating the U.S. Secret Service has taken over the case.

In further information provided, the police said a teenager received the coins as a gift in a collector’s proof set and then used them at the McDonald’s.

That in itself would be shocking to collectors, given proof coins are worth more than circulating coinage and the thought of using them in daily circulation credulous.

As it is, the shock escalates. Apparently missing marks, connected hashes and closer than normal lettering provide merit that the coins may indeed be counterfeit.

If the U.S. Secret Service confirms the coins are fake, the intrigue level will rise several factors.

If they’re not fake, it may be even more exciting for collectors. Are these coins Mint errors, possibly worth hundreds to thousands of dollars?

If so, think of that poor teenage boy. He’s probably already been “interrogated” by the police and maybe even by the Secret Service. He has to be a bit remorse over getting caught using a gift to buy some fast food. And then to potentially find out the coins were worth even more money than he’s already discovered they were initially worth.

This all has to sting! Minimally, those coins could have paid for many trips to McDonald’s.

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And still today, June 1, 2009, many Americans have not seen a Presidential Dollar coin.