Friends, have you got $20 to throw away?
There's a company, via a television commercial, that's hawking $20 silver leaf 'coin-certificates' minted in rectangular shapes larger than a US twenty dollar bill. Sounds good, doesn't it? Government approved; .999 pure silver leaf; commemorative of the 9/11 tragedy; face value of $20; non-circulating legal tender in Liberia [the latter fact toned down.] "Yours for face value $20."
Well, I have nothing against people earning a living by selling things. I just wish they would disclose the facts. Sometimes they do partially, of course. Remember those tiny letters at the bottom of the screen, where you're shown it so quickly even a speed reader couldn't follow it?
In any case, let's consider the above offer. The government doing the approving is the Liberian government, a small country on the West Coast of Africa. It was originally settled by free blacks and former slaves from the United States, and the religious practices, social customs and cultural standards of these ethnic American-Liberians have their roots in the pre-war American South. Including the American-Liberians, there are over 15 ethnicities in the country, each with its own agenda.
In recent decades, revolutions, murders, and instability have been the problems faced by Liberia. A recent unemployment rate was 85%! And Liberia is among the largest of the World Registry of Ships---mostly for the tax advantages, since Liberia doesn't operate any of them.
But, back to the silver leaf 'coin-certificates.'
Since silver leaf is indicated, that means that the core is made of something else with silver leaf applied to the surface---it could be brass, another inexpensive alloy, or even plaster for all I know. Based on the current cost of silver leaf, and allowing for the cost of coinage, we're talking about $3 to create each one, maybe $1 for sales and television promotion---all assuming they sell a lot of these things.
So, you get a $20 piece of Liberian currency? Not really. First of all, the ad states that the 'coin-certificates' will never be circulated as currency. Anyway, at the exchange rate of July 29, 2008, each Liberian Dollar is worth $.01562 US, or about a cent and a half. So, in US Dollars each 'coin-certificate' is worth about 31 cents. You certainly aren't asked to really buy it at 'face' value, that's for sure. You're told: "* All orders are in US Dollars"
But, the ad says "Yours for face value $20." Sooo, if that's true---and governmental authorities should be insuring that---then you should be able to buy each 'coin-certificate' for the face value: $20 Liberian [if you happen to have Liberian currency] or its $US dollar equivalent, about 31 cents. Thus the shipping and handling of $4.95 based on the wording of the ad, is about 8 cents $US. You should be able to get each commemorative 'coin-certificate' for 39 cents $US delivered.
Buy the 'September 11 commemorative coin-certificate' if you want, but don't buy it for use or investment.