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The London Mint Office

If you think the name 'London Mint Office' is misleading, we would agree with you. It is a trade mark of 'The Crown Collections Limited', a coin marketing company.
We first became aware of it (or them) when a customer told us they had received a mailshot or leaflet from "The Mint" in London. They were under the impression that the offer was an official one of some kind from the Royal Mint. We have now seen a sample of their offers, having received one as a leaflet delivery. It was made to look and sound important, being in a "security printed" envelope as though it contained important personal information such as a pin number or bank statement.

THE LONDON MINT OFFICE (alongside an impressive looking crest of a crowned unicorn between two pairs of crossed keys and two red roses with a, surprisingly, uninscribed scroll beneath)
delivered by Royal Mail

To all householders in the United Kingdom
Announcement from The London Mint Office

(Security / ID number printed in red)

On the reverse:-

Please open with care
documentation inside

urgent attention required (in red)

On the inside flap:

Coin Issue Authorised by Royal Proclamation

Inside, it continues:-

Exchange $5 for limited edition £5 - no extra charges

The new 200th Anniversary Trafalgar £5 Coin

May 2006"
(in purple ink in imitation of a rubber stamp)

Why Misleading?
There is nothing obviously untrue about any of this, except perhaps for the statement that the year 2005 dated coin on offer is new. It was issued early in 2005, and there have been two others issued since, so it's actually quite old now. It's just that most of it has been skilfully designed to create the erroneous impression that this is some kind of privileged official offer from an official government source such as the Royal Mint. As such, it could accurately if somewhat crudely be described as bullshit. Phineas T. Barnum would have recognised it instantly as near meaningless showbusiness or circus hype. The sad fact is that most people are probably taken in by it.
Perhaps we were too hasty in saying there was nothing untrue, the third page of the offer is headed
"200th Anniversary Battle of Trafalgar £5 - limited edition"
To the best of our knowledge there is no issue limit on this edition of these coins, so this statement is inaccurate untrue false and misleading.
There is also a statement "Officially numbered presentation folder limited to just 30,000 households. There is nothing to explain in what way this is official. Is it done by the Royal Mint?
One last point. Although you are not asked to send any money with the "Application", when you receive your coin, "You may then make your payment of £5 using any of the methods offered." But there is no mention on this leaflet of the methods offered, we presume they mean methods which will be offered. Our guess is that these might include standing orders possibly including other unspecified items which you may be sent at some time in the future.

Worthwhile Offer?
You could easily get one - or as many as you wanted from the Post Office, or at least you could have done last year then they were first released. You would not be restricted to a "strict limit of one £5 coin per household", as in the marketing offer.

What's the Catch?
Anybody responding to the offer is unlikely to suffer any direct loss or harm. We fully expect that you will receive your coin and be able to pay for it by cheque or some other convenient method. If you happen to want one of these coins, it can't do much harm to order one from this particular company.
Many people, but not all, will probably realise that the reason for the offer is to get your name onto somebody's marketing list, which will presumably include a mailing list, but may also include a telephone, e-mail, or text list as well. You can be sure that the marketing company makes a loss on every coin it "sells" in this initial offer. It intends to recoup this loss, and make continuing profits, from selling you follow-up items. From our forty years plus as coin dealers, we get offered "collections" of modern issues which people have accumulated from similar marketing operations, including the Royal Mint itself. Whilst we would not discourage anybody from spending their hard-earned money as they wish, we realise that most of these "collectors" have acquired their "collections" as an investment or as a"family heirloom". Almost without exception, these are worth a fraction of their original cost when resold on the secondary market. Some of the coins may be attractive, even beautiful, but many are simply churned out mass-produced rubbish, and while some of these "armchair collectors" may derive great pleasure in owning and looking at their collections, many never even open the packaging, and get very little pleasure from ownership. When the time comes to sell, or for their heirs to sell, there is usually disappointment, and even bitterness. Many ex-collectors feel they have been "ripped-off", although we usually point out that they had a choice. One of the most frustrating aspects of this type of marketing is that the buyers could have got far more pleasure from collecting "real" old coins, and usually for much less money. In many cases, they would have seen the monetary value of their collections increase.

Our Advice
If you actually want one of the coins, you may as well order one. If so, we suggest that you do not buy any of the follow-up offers without shopping around or getting advice from somebody, perhaps from a local coin dealer. Do not sign up for anything you do not actually want, and take firm action if you are sent any unsolicited goods which you are then expected to pay for.
As "The London Mint Office" has clearly tried to confuse and mislead, our advice would be to avoid buying anything from them on the simple principle that if they will mislead and misinform to get your name on their mailing list, then what else would they do to part you from your money. Stick to dealing with companies who make simple honest straightforward offers and claims, and avoid any who are not completely straightforward. There are a number of well-known High Street retailers who we think are best avoided for similar reasons. these include Dixon's PC World, and Halford's. Dixons, among many others, have been criticised by consumer organisations for selling extended guarantees of dubious value, expensive credit, and other rip-offs.

Update - January 2011
On the 27th January we received the following email

Reference your webpage article on the London Mint Office.
You may wish to update it. My son received some coins from them. He was told he was entitled to return them within a set time if he was not happy with them. That's exactly what he did - in their for-purpose free-post paid envelope. That 'invitation to use' that envelope of course meant that he had no proof of postage!! Obviously the coins were 'never received' by the London Mint Co. who are now pestering him with solicitors etc. I'm sure they are doing the same to many others. It's a nasty trap for the unwary.
Thank you

The Royal Mint
Even the Royal Mint (the official government controlled mint for the UK) are not beyond reproach. They used to advertise "Gold sovereigns from £37.50, when what they were selling were half sovereigns! When we pointed out this apparent error to them, they argued with us as if they were right. After the British Numismatic Trade Association wrote to voice their opinion that this was misleading, they did eventually change their advert slightly. It probably would have been better for us to report them to Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority at the time, as we feel certain that they would have publicly ruled that they adverts were misleading, and advised or ordered the Royal Mint to stop. This would have created a permanent black mark on their record.

Please Note
Please note that we are not The London Mint Office. This page appears on our website for information only. If you need to contact the London Mint Office, please do so using the contact details in their adverts, leaflets, invoices, or other documentation.

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Save £70 - A Deceptive Offer from the London Mint Office
Yet another dodgy deal from the LMO!

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