- Do consult with your attorney before embarking on any activity involving the
incorporation of genuine United States coins in jewelry or other numismatic items.
Do familiarize yourself with applicable
If you are going to modify the coins you are using in any way, you should be especially careful to consult with your
attorneys on the applicability to your activities of criminal laws such as 18 U.S.C. §331. While the United States Mint cannot
issue interpretations of criminal statutes such as this, which fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice,
note that this law prohibits alteration of United States or foreign coins in use as money with the intent to defraud. Businesses
should consult with their attorneys and carefully evaluate their proposed products, packaging and advertising to ensure they
do not run afoul of this criminal statute.
(Text as of 2/19/02) 18 U.S.C. §331:
Whoever fraudulently alters,
defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United
States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United
States; or whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell,
or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished,
falsified, scaled or lightened - shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. (Emphasis
Do include a disclaimer in all advertisements, order forms, web pages and other marketing materials featuring
or promoting jewelry or other items using or incorporating genuine United States coins.
Disclaimers should be prominently
displayed in advertisements and marketing materials, and set in an easily readable pitch and font. Disclaimers should expressly
state that your business concern is not affiliated with the United States Government in any way. You should also note that
your business has created the jewelry with genuine U.S. coins. Disclaimers should be placed immediately adjacent to or below
the actual photograph of the replica used in the advertisement or marketing material, and should not be buried in "fine print"
at the bottom of the advertisement or marketing material. Disclaimers should appear in a different color than the background
of the photograph box and should be clear and noticeable. For additional suggestions, see United States v. The Washington
Mint, LLC, et al., Civil No. 99-1768, 2001 WL1640073 (D. Minn. Sep. 5, 2001).
Do include a disclaimer in all television,
video or radio advertisements, and identify your product clearly and not in a deceptive or confusing manner.
should expressly state that your business concern is not affiliated with the United States Government in any way, and should
note that your business has created the jewelry with genuine U.S. coins. Disclaimers should be clear, legible and prominent,
and should be placed at the beginning of the advertisement (close to the start of voiceover and first appearance of product
graphics). Disclaimers should be presented simultaneously in both the audio and video portions of the advertisement. Audio
disclaimers should be delivered in volume and cadence sufficient for an ordinary consumer to hear and understand. Video disclaimers
should be of a size, shade and duration sufficient for an ordinary consumer to read and understand, with each disclaimer line
placed against contrasting background. Attention should be paid to the selection of music and graphics background so as not
to create an atmosphere that may suggest to consumers that the government is the source or sponsor of the product as it is
being offered, especially as this may diminish the effectiveness of the disclaimers. For some disclaimer benchmarks see FCC
Regulations 47 C.F.R. §73.1212 (a)(2)(ii) and consult individual television network guidelines.