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Published: Wednesday, 04 November 2009 00:00


coin and bullion expert Mike Fuljenz says colorization is not always a good thing. Technicolor movies transformed the “silver screen” into a visual rainbow and brought new vibrancy to American pop culture. Color TV consigned black-and-white “boob tubes” to the fringes of national life and soon became a universal presence in Americans’ living rooms. Color photographs now enliven most leading newspapers; many, in fact, reserve the front page for the splashiest full-color photo every day. Color, in short, can be a powerful tool for enhancing the appeal of a product.


There’s a very big exception to this rule. Adding color to a coin could reduce – if not erase – any value it might have had as a collectible. Mike Fuljenz, a leading expert and author on coin and bullion values, cautions collectors about offerings of “colorized” coins for sale through TV commercials and newspaper and magazine advertisements. Typically, he says, some businesses add eye-catching colors to 50-state quarters and other special coins produced by the U.S. Mint, then peddle the debatably “enhanced” coins for prices many times their small face value, to the young and elderly alike.


The average man and woman in the street might find these coins’ bright red, green, blue and gold colors attractive – even artistic. But, Mr. Fuljenz cautions, collectors typically view such coins as damaged goods. One of the first rules new collectors learn, he says, is: Never touch the surfaces of a coin. That means no contact, no cleaning – and no colorizing, especially outside the manufacturing mint.


Selling coins that have been colorized outside a mint might not be illegal, Mr. Fuljenz says, but any sales spiels suggesting that the colorizing process adds substantial value would be misleading if the claims become too outrageous. At the very least, he says, buying quantities of them for high prices over the coin’s face value should only be done after careful research and consideration.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; those who buy colorized coins because they find them “pretty” might think they’re getting their money’s worth and truly enjoy them. But those who buy them in hopes of making money are probably doomed to disappointment.


Mr. Fuljenz states, “Simply stated, colorized coins in most cases will never be worth a pretty penny.



Check out Mike Fuljenz 2009 award winning report on rare coins and bullion as seen on Fox 4 KBMT.