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U.S. MINT LOSES A MINT ON WORLD CUP COMMEMORATIVE COINS
Published November 4, 1994
The U.S. Mint's World Cup commemorative coin program was "a flop" for the government and lost more than $5M -- "the first in modern times to lose money," according to a report in this morning's L.A. TIMES. However, the program netted almost $9M for the World Cup Organizing Committee. Legislation authorized by Congress and signed in 1992 by President Bush, permitted the U.S. Mint to produce over 10M coins of legal tender celebrating the 1994 World Cup, but only 1.5M coins were sold. The Federal government was responsible for designing, manufacturing, marketing, and distributing the coins -- and then paying the World Cup a 25% royalty on any coins sold, essentially guaranteeing a profit. "For example, an uncirculated World Cup commemorative silver dollar sold for $28. Included in the purchase price was the surcharge payment of $7, which went to the World Cup Organizing Committee." Rep. Esteban Torres (D-CA), who sponsored the legislation: "Everyone wants to get into the commemorative coin business for obvious reasons. It's not so much that members want to provide perks. But they are besieged by interest groups -- everyone comes at you." This January, Congress will launch a commemorative coin program for the 1996 Olympics (Julie Cart, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/3).