When it comes to memorabilia commemorating Inauguration Day the the standard fare consists of everything from coffee cups to t-shirts and a wide variety of other cheaply made merchandise that will inevitably end up at the bottom of a box of garage sale items or at the city dump.
It’s also not at all unusual to see a commemorative coin produced to mark the occasion of a new president being sworn in, as NBC News noted was done for Barack Obama in 2009.
But when such a coin comes not from the U.S.-based Franklin Mint but is produced by a Russian weapons foundry — and when the shiny object weighs some 2 pounds instead of a couple of ounces — heads will definitely turn. And no doubt some eyes will roll.
With all the liberal bluster and bombast about supposed Russian interference in America’s presidential election — and with the president-elect’s positive statements about Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin — it’s unlikely Democrats will be placing orders for one of these heavyweight collectibles.
CBS News reports that the Russian company Art-Grani is producing the unusual souvenirs in a limited quantity of 45. Featuring Trump’s distinctive likeness on one side and an image of the Statue of Liberty on the other, the gold and silver coins also bear a slogan that replaces the word “God” with the president-elect’s last name: “In Trump We Trust.”
The Washington Times reports that the Russian metal working company plans to send one of the coins to Trump. The rest will be made available for sale, though an exact price, says the CBS report, has not yet been determined.
According to Russia’s Tass news agency, Art-Grani said the coin is the first in a series. Tass quoted the company as saying, “We have produced the first coin of the Donald Trump collection. This is a limited edition dedicated to Trump’s inauguration and will consist of 25 silver coins, 15 silver and gold coins and five gold coins.”
A Russian video via CLIKATV shows both sides of the Trump inaugural coin.
A spokesman for the company producing the coins says the inspiration for them and their positive message comes from the hope “associated with Trump with regards to the lifting of sanctions; maybe the environment [between the U.S. and Russia] will change,” according to CBS.
In an interview with The Times of London published Monday, Trump said he was open to a possible lifting of sanctions on Russia, imposed in 2014 after Putin annexed Crimea.
The incoming president said those economic penalties might be eased or removed in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Moscow.
The United States and Russia rank as the world’s biggest nuclear powers, with each nation having many hundreds of nuclear warheads deployed on missiles and bombers, says the Arms Control Association.
The Independent reports that high-ranking Russian officials expect to open a dialogue on nuclear arms with the new Trump administration sooner rather than later.