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:
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
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.