Miami, FL: (Feb-26-08) Thomas Francisco brought a class action lawsuit against the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, over "First Strikes" designations. In his suit, he alleged that he and other similarly situated purchasers of "First Strikes" coins nationwide believed that US bullion coins the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation designated as "First Strikes" were among the first coins struck by the US Mint and were, therefore, worth more than the same type and grade US bullion coins that were not designated as "First Strikes." The lawsuit was filed seeking injunction relief, restitution, damages and attorneys' fees. Records show that Numismatic Guaranty Corporation denied liability and asserted that a clear definition of "First Strikes" was contained on its Web site, that there was a lack of complaints regarding any confusion over the company's definition of "First Strikes". The company stated that its competitors had previously used the term to signify coins that were released by the US Mint within 30 days of issuance.
As part of a settlement reached in the class action dispute, records show that the company agreed to cease designating coins as "First Strikes" unless they were certified to be one of the first coins struck as part of a ceremonial striking by the US Mint on the first day of minting. It further consented to establish a $650,000 settlement fund to be distributed, net of attorneys' fees and expenses plus the class representation award, to the American Numismatic Association. The company said that it will provide information for the purpose of educating the public about coins and terminology. Under the deal, the American Numismatic Association has received a $447,095 donation to support educational programs and produce a consumer awareness booklet with helpful information on coin collecting. [