Is it legal to produce numismatic items with X-canceled U.S. dies?
The Regency Mint in Orem, Utah, is striking medals from an X-canceled U.S. Mint 1995 commemorative die for the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games program. In 1997 the Mint sold around 2,700 dies for silver dollars and gold $5 half eagles to collectors in just two weeks.
When these dies entered the marketplace, some hobbyists voiced concern that the X-canceled dies would be used to strike fake error coins for sale to an unsuspecting public. That threat never materialized.
At the time, the Mint considered the foray into selling X-canceled dies as a test. Later the Mint sold coin dies directly to the public, but the dies were entirely defaced with no designs remaining. The Mint has not since sold X-canceled dies.
Today, these Atlanta Centennial Olympic X-canceled dies, which were initially sold to collectors for $49, have seen a robust aftermarket with dies selling online at the $750 to $1,000 level.
But is it legal to use the dies to strike medals as the Regency Mint is doing? Isn’t the purpose of the cancellation so that the dies can’t be used again?
When questioned the U.S. Mint would not provide an opinion on the legality of the medals, instead referring Coin World to the Secret Service. The latter agency is authorized to enforce laws relating to coins, obligations and securities of the United States and other governments.
The chances of the Secret Service investigating the production of these medals is extremely slim as the agency has its hands full with more substantial issues regarding counterfeits and protecting the integrity of the country’s physical money supply.
Although it is clear that it is legal to possess these dies since they were sold directly by the U.S. Mint, do strikes from these dies have the potential to confuse the public to the point where they’re considered counterfeits? Likely not.
It would seem that the legality depends in part on the Regency Mint’s intent, which is not to create counterfeit coins but to use dies to produce medals. One might even say that it’s a logical next step for these X-canceled dies.
There’s no denomination on them and the reverse clearly states that they were struck from a canceled U.S. Mint die. That some examples are ringed-bimetallic further reduces the likelihood of confusion that buyers would confuse these medals for an official U.S. Mint product.