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What is the Franklin Mint?

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Quick Answer

The Franklin Mint is a company that sells a variety of commemorative and novelty goods marketed as collector's items. The company got its start minting commemorative coins but later branched out into die-cast vehicles, plates, knives, dolls and many other items.

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Full Answer

Originally, the Franklin Mint was known as General Numismatics, a private mint created by Joseph Segal. The company was founded in 1964 to produce commemorative coins, and its first issue was a coin bearing the image of General Douglas MacArthur. Segal renamed the company the Franklin Mint in 1965 and retired from the company in 1973. Eventually, Time Warner purchased the company then sold it to Roll International Corporation in 1984. As of 2015, the brand is owned by Sequential Brands Group.

In addition to commemorative coins, the Franklin Mint has also produced legal tender coins from other nations. Most of these offerings were legal tender in Central American countries or island nations and not negotiable inside the United States. The company has also offered collectible rare coins for sale, often at prices well above what collectors would generally pay for such items.

While the company sells many lines of licensed merchandise, it has come under fire in the past for allegedly selling unauthorized items. Tiger Woods sued the company in 1997 over an unlicensed commemorative medal, and a legal battle with the estate of Princess Diana resulted in the Princess Diana Fund paying the Mint a substantial settlement, earmarked for charity donations.

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