One of our customers sent us a message asking about “the new Zelenskyy and Biden coin available through the White House Gift Shop.” We were kind of surprised because to our knowledge there was no such coin, but to answer the question we looked into it.
We explored the US Mint website but had no luck finding any Biden and Zelenskyy coins. That was our first hint that something was amiss. After a little more research we found an interesting story.
As it turns out there is a “Historic Moments” production piece featuring Biden and Zelenskyy. It’s not a bad-looking disk, but it was not minted by the US Treasury Department, nor is it an official coin of any country or currency system.
It is a promotional item created by a gift shop called “The White House Gift Shop” that is not currently associated with the White House, or the United States Government in any capacity. It has been a private business since 2012 based out of a Detroit, Michigan suburb.
The item in question appears to be a metal disk with a laser-printed surface. The legend on the reverse reads, “The Courage of the Ukrainians | Leader of The World – Leader of Peace” in a dual surround with a rectangular screenshot of Zelenskyy delivering his message to the US Congress on March 16, 2022.
The obverse shows the US and Ukrainian flags with “United We Stand” printed on the US flag and right-facing profile photographs of US President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Both men are named in the surrounding legend.
This item is not a coin in the traditional meaning of the word, but rather, a token.
The curious company producing the tokens says they are donating 100% of the proceeds to the American Red Cross.
Personally, I would feel more comfortable making a direct donation, perhaps to UNICEF, the Red Cross, or another organization directly connected to Ukraine. To each his own…
As a side note, the White House Historical Association operates two official gift shops; one at the White House Visitor’s Center and one at the historic Decatur House, both located in Washington DC. These unaffiliated tokens are not for sale in either location.
We hope this answers your question about the Zelenskyy token from the not-the-real-White-House gift shop.
Stay sharp and we’ll see you next time on Pendant and Ring.
- AP Fact Checking – Associated Press News
- The White House Historical Association
- US Mint