This 750 commemorates the 125th anniversary of Wisconsin-based Seagrave Fire Apparatus. It is produced in 1:24th scale and offered by Fairfield Mint. The model is manufactured by Yat Ming. An interesting note, Yat Ming typically produces two versions of every model that they make -- 1:50th and 1:24th scale.
The mint started by manufacturing and marketing privately-minted gold and silver commemorative rounds and medallions, but quickly branched out into other collectibles.
In the 1960s the price of silver rose, causing all silver coins to be removed from circulation. The Nevada casinos used silver dollars in their slot machines, which were soon worth more than a dollar.
The Franklin Mint was one of the earliest and largest minters of replacement slot machine tokens.
Coins and medallions
It minted in its own production facility numerous sets of coins-of-the-realm, theme-based medals and ingots, selling them on the subscription plan, with buyers getting a monthly shipment and invoice. Franklin Mint struck issues in all the different precious and semi-precious metals. American history and art masterpiece themes were predominant, with space, important persons and other topics also quite popular. Sets were often limited by the number of subscribers, by a cut-off date or a fixed mintage, resulting in "limited editions". Prices were fairly reasonable, compared to the cost of silver, and often tens of thousands of sets were sold. Custom wood cases, fancy packaging and certificates appealed to collectors, and the market boomed. However, silver prices climbed, making the cost of larger items high, and replacement bronze and pewter issues did not appeal to collectors as much.
From 1973 to 2000, the Franklin Mint had a division called the Franklin Library, which produced hundreds of editions of classic works of literature, in what is purported to be fine bindings. Franklin Mint even purchased the Sloves Book Bindery in NYC to help jumpstart its book division in the 1970's. The most recent book offerings were produced by RR Donnelly for the Franklin Library.
In 1983, the Franklin Mint entered the die-cast car market with the 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Roadster. In the following years, Franklin Mint produced numerous designs including the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, one of Franklin Mint's better-selling models. Collector knives, figurines, plates, Monopoly sets, chess sets and board games including the three dimensional chess game featured frequently in the TV series Star Trek, plaques, and other collectibles have been issued over the years by the Franklin Mint.
The Franklin Mint was heavily reliant upon direct mail and media print ads for sales. Advertisements for Franklin Mint collectiblesóincluding the Civil War Commemorative Chess Set among thousands of other itemsówere once ubiquitous in popular magazines.
Changes in ownership and current status
In 1980, Warner Communications (now part of Time Warner) purchased The Franklin Mint for about $225 million. The combination was short lived: Warner sold The Franklin Mint in 1985 to American Protection Industries Inc. (API) for $167.5 million. However, Warner retained Eastern Mountain Sports, a retailer that The Franklin Mint had acquired in the 1970s, as well as The Franklin Mint Center, which it leased back to API.API was renamed Roll International in 1993.
During the early 2000's, Roll International divested and wound down much of the Franklin Mint business. On August 31, 2006, Roll International Corp sold the remaining assets of The Franklin Mint to a group including a private equity investor and The Morgan Mint, which was managed by M. Moshe Malamud and Steven Sisskind, chairman and chief executive respectively. The new ownership planned to rebuild The Franklin Mint by re-introducing previous products and expanding their lineup of collectibles. That investor exited its investment in 2009 with new investors coming in to recapitalize the company. Malamud and Sisskind are reportedly no longer managing the company.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund vs Franklin Mint
Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image. In 1998, after refusing the Franklin Mint an official license to produce Diana merchandise, the fund sued the company, accusing it of illegally selling Diana dolls, plates and jewellery. In California, where the initial case was tried, a suit to preserve the right of publicity may be filed on behalf of a dead person, but only if that person is a Californian. The Memorial Fund therefore filed the lawsuit on behalf of the estate, and upon losing the case were counter sued by Franklin Mint in 2003. In November 2004, the case was settled out of court with the Diana Memorial Fund agreeing to pay £13.5 million to charitable causes that both sides agreed on. In addition to this, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund had spent a total of close to £4 million in costs and fees relating to this litigation, and as a result froze grants allocated to a number of charities.
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