Regarding the Franklin Mint Collector's Society, I joined to buy a set of ingots wanted and wish I still had (one of the few items that was of topical interest to me). I was not afforded all the "extras" you speak of but did take a tour or the Franklin Mint in around 1973. I collect the cruise ship medals they made for folks that took the cruses and am only missing the Mexican one. I passed on it in a shop not recognizing what it was and when I went back it was gone.
Beyond that I remember little but do have a rare FM Dealer's manual that each dealer that ran a FM store got a copy of. Maybe 50 copies were made (just a guess) figuring they couldn't have had more than one store in each state.
Mine probably came from the Fairlane Shopping Mall FM store in Dearborn, MI. It contains far more information about the engravers, etc., than the literature given to the public. It is in a blue three ring binder and maybe 3" thick and printed on very heavy card stock (maybe 60 pound or better stock). It is a great reference to have when I write my column for Krause's World Coin News and a coin was made by FM and I want to know more about it.
I will respond to Len Augsburger’s request for information about the Franklin Mint Collectors Society because I suspect that very few of the original members of the group are still around, or would be willing to break their vow of secrecy.
This was an elite group that was given many special privileges including the opportunity to acquire off-metal striking of many medals, patterns, trial pieces and other goodies. Some of these were given as largess, others at minimal cost. Such things could often be requested as ‘special strikes’ if ordered in advance of minting.
Members were often consulted as to what designs or themes were wanted, or what they thought the public would be willing to buy. You could submit a rough design concept and have a Franklin Mint artist prepare plasters. If the group approved, it would be made into a medal.
The Society Club Room was at the Franklin Mint. It was for the member’s exclusive use for meetings, discussions about designs, plans for new medals, etc. It was beautifully appointed with a wall full of original plasters, design art work, galvanos, and models. Delicious treats were always present, and the bar was well stocked with everything from Champaign to Saki.
In adjoining rooms there was assistance for correspondence or related business, or for making travel arrangements which were fully paid for by the Franklin Mint. The full array of current products was always on display and available at reduced prices for members. Their numismatic library of over 20,000 books was available for use there or items could be borrowed for up to three weeks.
It was a great Society but unfortunately could be used only one day each year on