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Presidential Commemoratives Once a Month

by Tom Carrier (02/14/08).
The advertisement
The advertisement, closeup
Wm Rogers Presidential Spoons, c. 1930s, the complete collection
Wm Rogers Presidential Spoons, c. 1930s

Presidential spoons. That is what the advertisement was trying to sell me, 42 presidents with a color photo on the stem and an engraving on the bowl. Silver plated, of course.

I found the offering in the trash. And, it should have stayed there. Yet, I found it to be of such interest that I pulled it out to examine it and again wonder why there are some who consider these to be collectible.

The initial cost is always low, in this case $2.95. That includes the shipping. However, once a month over the next 3.5 years, you will receive an additional “…elegant, custom-designed, commemorative…” silver-plated spoon for only $9.95, plus $1.95 shipping and service for a total cost of $359.95. The wooden collector’s “beautifully designed” showcase is free.

But are they really collectible? In order for them to be “…sought after…” they must command a higher price in the after market of collectibles. What about these? Hard to say, since they are a relatively new offering. There are others that have come before, so let’s examine one such silver-plated set.

In the 1930s, a set of silver coin spoons were issued by Wm Rogers Co, a silversmith family dating to the early 1800s. Each had a stamped image of a president through Franklin D. Roosevelt along with an image etched in the bowl pertinent to the president pictured. I can’t get information as to what they were selling for at the time, but a complete set of 31 presidential silver spoons from this period can be bought today for about $4 each.

So, if a set of real coin silver commemorative presidential spoons that are about 75 years old are selling for only about $4 each today, a premium over what they sold for originally, I’m sure, what does that say about the long term collectiblity of these newly minted commemorative ones?

And yet, I still can’t help but wonder about this newer offering. They look familiar somehow. Ah, yes, now I remember. These same spoons, with an almost identical stamped design and image with claims of silver plate, sell routinely at Political Americana as a gift shop souvenir for no more than $3 to $5 each which means they are bought from a wholesaler for about $2 each.

The bottom line is that these ‘collectibles’, whether from this series or any ‘mint’ series, have little long-term value as a collectible. If you want to collect these items, shop for them in the after market, not through the ongoing subscription market. You’ll come out ahead that way and, most importantly, you won’t find yourself on mailing lists to buy other ‘collectibles’ at an amazing introductory offer.

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