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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 15, April 9, 2006, Article 27

COOK ISLAND COINS PRESENTED FOR PAYMENT

The Cook Island Herald reported on a previously hushed-up scheme
to redeem Cook Island "coins" for profit, which prompted the
country to update its coinage laws.

"Cook Islanders do not know it, but early last year, a crisis
arose which was kept quiet and which has remained unpublicised
until now.

Such was the urgency that the Minister of Finance of the time
relied on the Herald not to publicise the matter. In June,
government rushed a much-needed amendment to legislation through
all three stages in the House."

"He told the House that coins left the country as souvenirs and
that was good for the Cook Islands. Then he dropped a big clue
as to the nature of the crisis. He said he heard that some coins
had somehow come back to the Cook Islands and payments had been
demanded. Then he referred to a few who, “Would come back to a
developing country and try to rip us off.”

The coins Dr Maoate referred to, are $50 silver coins. According
to Greta Little of the Numismatic Bureau, the coins involved are
the “explorer series, it is a set of $50 silver coins which mark
the 500th anniversary of America 1492-1992. They are currently not
on display at the bureau. While the face value of the coin is $50,
the rise and fall of the price of silver on the market also affects
the coin’s true value.

Little says that last year, some German collectors whom she describes
as scam artists, tried to “cash in” some of the $50 coins and asked
for the money to be sent overseas to them.  They had somehow acquired
a lot of the coins at a lower value. Unfortunately, Cook Islands
currency legislation did not provide any safeguard against someone
wanting to cash them in."

The Herald understood the Finance Secretary had estimated that the
Germans stood to make many millions of dollars. The exact figure was
not known. There needed to be a law change or some contingency built
into the upcoming budget to provide for a very large payout."

To read the complete story: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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