The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Trump Kitsch

kitsch (noun)  art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

Let me state this up front: this page has nothing to do with politics.  It is just a chronicle of some badly made merchandise that happens to have Donald Trump's likeness on it.

I must admit a fondness for the piles of poorly made kitsch that have come on the market since he first announced running for office.  The top items on my list are the Donald Trump coins.

Trump's coin committee will eventually issue Presidential Inauguration coins.  These are highly collectible, and will gain in value over the years, as have past official inaugural coins.  What has been issued so far will not gain in value, and indeed will never be worth what people are paying for it.  If the coins are made of silver or gold they will be worth the value of the metal in them.  If they're plated (what the fake coin sellers refer to as "clad" or "layered"), you should be able to get them for a fraction of their current price in a year or two.

For we kitsch collectors, this is a good thing.  Myself, I plan on making a tacky room, one filled with nothing but velvet paintings of Elvis, tawdry religious artifacts-- and lots and lots of Trump kitsch.  It doesn't matter how you feel about the man or his politics-- even his supporters are surprised at the sheer volume of tacky Trump merchandise.

Some people assume that Trump is somehow making money from these coins.  Nope.  And here is how these coins are unifying America: If you're against Trump, naturally you wouldn't want him publicized.  If you are a Trump fan, he is not making a dime off of these: his image is being exploited for the gain of others.  Finally, if you're a coin collector, you're against these fake coins flooding the market..  All three groups, from different backgrounds, and all three groups have a good reason for hating these Trump coins.

There are a lot of companies out there that call themselves "private mints" that make all sort of valueless coins, stamps and so on.  So, when Trump ran for office, they all decided "Here's our chance to cash in!"  These same types "cashed in" after the 9/11 disaster by offering coins "clad in silver found in the ruins of the Twin Towers."  These ghouls would clamp onto any event or person to try to make money.  Sadly, there are always suckers who want tawdry stuff, and who will pay top dollar for it.

Honestly, if I was Donald Trump I'd take all of these companies to court for selling such unflattering images.

For some reason very few artists can depict Trump's hair without making it look like some sort of mop.  This is more a matter of the artists lacking the proper skills than anything else.

One thing I must note: most of these coins were made (presumably) by people who like Trump.  Why in the world are there so many poorly done images of him?  I can see how artists who hate the guy would be happy to make him look bad, but it's his fans that are putting out these things.

I am also fully aware that as hard as I've tried to make this as inoffensive as possible, I am sure some would object on political grounds.  So again I state: this is not about Donald Trump, his personality, or his politics.  It's about cheaply made crap that floods the collectors' market.

Since the people making these coins are such vultures, there are numerous cases where coins are copied or slightly reworked,  In order to get legal protection, such as a trademark, the coin sellers would have to get Trump's permission to copy his likeness.  They don't have that permission, so it's a free-for-all.  Want to get in on the fun?  You certainly can, and there's nothing any of these companies can do.  Just pick a Trump coin you like, and start casting copies.  Don't bother too much with quality standards, and use whatever metal suits your fancy.  Your coins will be just as legitimate as any of the coins seen here.

I use the term "coins" here as a form of verbal shorthand.  Coins are legal tender, and are only issued by government mints.  These objects are more accurately termed as medals or medallions.

Value

Value should be addressed here.  Just look at what the coins are made of, and ask yourself how much you are willing to pay for a coin above its metal vauie.  Prices of base metals per ounce are approximate due to rounding.

Base metals:
Lead: 20 cents a pound/$0.01 an ounce
Iron: 24 cents a pound/$0.01 an ounce
Aluminum: 45 cents a pound/$0.03 an ounce
Tin: 50 cents a pound/$0.03 an ounce
Zinc: $1.05 a pound/$0.07 an ounce
Copper: $2.50 a pound/0.16 an ounce
Nickel: $3.89 a pound/$0.23 an ounce

Gold plated or silver plated base metal coins do niot have enough gold or silver in them to appreciably increase their value.


Precious Metals:

Silver: $17.50 an ounce
Palladium: $907.80 an ounce
Gold: $1289.96 an ounce
Platinum: $2270.50 per ounce

Let's look over the fine selection of Trump coins that have been issued so far.

Scary Trumps
scary trump

This, appropriately enough, was made in China.  This is available in a silver plated and gold plated edition.  Look at his eye.  It's like it's staring at you.  This is easily the scariest portrait I have seen of Trump.  I like the way they did his hair too.  I have yet to see any artist of any type that could portray Trump's hair without making it look ridiculous.  This particular coin looks like how a high school art student would do a bust of someone: it looks like the artist just ran a comb through some clay and said "OK, I'm done."


scary knockoff

A knockoff of the above coin, and just as scary.  Trump looks like he's sucking on lemons.


another scary trump

Another scary Trump.  The coin's seller really did a good job on photographing his item.  Trump has this Jack Nicholson "Here's Johnny!" maniacal look about him, which is emphasized by the poor flash photography.  This coin is advertised as being one ounce of pure copper, and sells for $2.75.  As of this date, copper sells for $2.50 a pound.  Yeah, this is a real good investment all right.


wrinkly trump        reverse

Front: Just in case you wondered what Trump would look like covered with wrinkles.  Scary.
Back:
Coin designers apparently don't like to make Trump look happy.  It's a decent likeness, I will give them that.  But why does it bear no resemblance to the image on the other side?


phallic trump

I get the distinct feeling that the person who designed this does not like Trump.


border patrol

Now this is a real mixed message.  The image of Trump looks like something out a monster movie.  The message paraphrases a crude comment Trump made.  Yet the coin's makers support Trump.


Emotional Trumps

smirking trump

This Trump looks rather effeminate, and has a rather smug looking smirk.  This is advertised as being solid silver.


mr potato head

Now this I admire.  Notice that even though it bears no resemblance to Trump whatsoever, the artist still made the hair look ridiculous.  I like the Mr. Potato Head style nose too. Th mouth is way too low on his face.  Trump looks like he's about ready to cry.  He's probably crying about how bad this image is.


pot metal trump

A gold plated coin, with another bad job of portraying Trump's hair.  He sure doesn't look happy.  I call this the Scowling Trump coin.  But it is gold plated, so maybe if you got a ton of these you could melt them down and get an ounce of gold.  Maybe.


jimmy stewart

Another crying Trump.  The image bears a striking resemblance to Donald Moffat, who played Rem in the "Logan's Run" TV series.


silent majority trump

The artist figured out the best way to do Trump's hair is to do an outline.  Notice the eyes.  It looks like Trump was in a fist fight.  And, like some other portrayals, the eyes don't match.  And what is it with that smirk?


trump in color

Not a bad portrait, all told.  He does look a little petulant.  And why the cauliflower ear?

boxing trump

A flip coin.  Trump has his usual smirk, and looks like he is about to hit someone.


thumbs up trump

Trump is kind of sort of smiling in this zinc alloy silver plated coin from China.


Extremely Badly Done Trumps

worst hair yet

I can see the artist sitting up all night, doing the portrait over and over and finally saying "Screw it," and just sculpting this mess with a putty knife.



bad. really bad

Sure, I can see getting his hair wrong, but his chin???



trump wtf

The artist didn't even try to get a likeness.  My guess is that they had a coin die that depicted someone else, and just messed with it a bit to make it look like some sort of Frankentrump.  I had to look twice.  The signature bears an uncanny resemblance to the Neiman Marcus logo.



new england patriots

"Hey, if we combined a sort-of image of Trump with the New England Patriots logo, that would be cool."  "Anything you say, Beavis."


they got his hand size
                    right anyway        the back

This crudely cast coin is being advertised as 2 oz. of .999 pure silver.


turtle trump

I call this Turtle Trump, because his head looks like a turtle's coming out of its shell.  A gold-plated coin.


chesp trump

Crudely cast coin.  Trump looks constipated.
 

Offset Printed Trumps


trump half dollar

These folks aren't even trying.  They bought a bunch of recently minted Kennedy half dollars (value: 50 cents) and, using an offset press, printed Trump's image on the front.  But they're a real bargain: those defaced 50 cent coins were selling for $29.95 each, and now they're going for $19.95.


trump dollar

The Eisenhower dollar version, which now sells for $14.95.  There are several coins on the market that are made this way.  Since it takes no skill to make coins like these, I won't be listing any more offset-printed coins.


Weird Eyes Trumps

trump liberty coin

Note the skillfully done eyes, which are not pointing in the same direction.  Even though it's a straight-on depiction, the nose is pointing toward the left.  I'm kind of reminded of Alfred E. Neuman here.


trump bow tie

I have never seen even one photo of Trump wearing a bow tie.  His eyes are tiny slits, his face is flat, yet his nose practically jumps off of the coin.  A new era of bad coin making has surely begun, I will grant them that.


silver plated trump

The description on coinworld.com sums this up perfectly: "Silver plated over base metal 38 millimeter Trump medal marries a Trump portrait obverse with a reverse design copied from an American Eagle silver bullion coin, with the coin inscription also copied." 

I can just picture some poor sap buying one of these at a coin show, thinking he is getting an ounce of silver.



larget trump medal

This is sold as a "large Trump medallion."  Trump loooks like someopne slugged him in his eye.


Coins and Knockoff Coins


make america great

A fair portrait, marred only by the very strange smirk on it.


turkey neck

Is it just me, or does this look more like Hillary Clinton than it does like Donald Trump?  This is apparently either another striking or a bootleg of the above coin, with a coin ridge added, detail added to the hair, as well as a turkey neck.


trump buck rogers

Now this is truly odd.  This is another version of the "Make America Great Again" Trump coin, which was apparently redone a third time.  Only this time Trump looks like Henry Silva from the old "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" TV show.  My thought is that there have been multiple manufacturers of this design.



trump plus mao

This looks like someone took the DNA from Mao Zedong and Donald Trump and mixed them together.  Note the careful detail put in his mouth and nose.


a redesigned trump
An apparent redesign of the above coin, with a Trump that looks like an overfed Buddy Ebsen.  "Whew doggies!"


russian trump coin          russian trump coin back

And just when you thought things couldn't get any more absurd, a Russian gun foundry issued a $10,000 fist sized silver coin, only 45 of which were made.  The designers of the coin must have used the Trump nickel for inspiration: it's got that same razor cutting edge hair.  This Trump kind of reminds me of a turtle, with his head sticking out if his shell.  I guess it would be inevitable that this was made, since there have been many reports of Trump being Russia's lapdog. Note the spelling of "Amerika."  "In Trump we trust," indeed.  There's more than a little bit of irony in that.



us coin
            ripoff

And, of course, a US company has taken the above design and is selling it in a silver plated 40mm copy.  There is no honor among these people.  To give them some credit, they corrected the spelling of "America."


Trump Liberty Dollars


trump peace dollar

Trump liberty dollar.  These at least have some value, as each is an ounce of silver, gold, or copper.  Look up  liberty dollar sometime on Google: the story behind that is quite fascinating.  Note for instance the "Not to be used as current money" disclaimer on it.  That is exactly what liberty dollars were issued for-- and the US government did not take kindly to that.  Now they're sold with weasel words: they're to be used as barter.  Thus the disclaimer.  The artist designing these finally got Trump's hair looking slightly less peculiar by doing it as an almost abstract design, like it was made of cast metal.  Look up a televangelist named Ernest Angley.  He has the same sort of cast-metal looking hair as this coin.  And is it just me, or does the entire coin look like something that would have been issued in fascist Italy?


liberty dollar knockoff

I am not sure of this one.  This could be a ripoff of the Trump liberty dollar, or just another distinct version of it.  It is also possible that the top illustration is just an artist's conception, and this is the actual production coin.

These coins have a $25 dollar face value, have $17.50 worth of silver in them, and sell for $32.50.  I'm in the wrong racket.

 

Celebrity Lookalike Trumps


fcked

This had an image of Hillary Clinton on the flip side.  It resembles a junior high school art class project.  And why does it look so much like JFK?


trump flip coin

Another Trump flip coin.  This looks more like David Doyle from "Charlie's Angels" than it does like Trump.


flip coin

Another Trump/David Doyle flip coin, complete with what I presume is supposed to be an image of Hillary Clinton.


trump bea arthur

Another Trump celebrity lookalike.  This time it's Bea Arthur from "Maude" and "The Golden Girls."


michael moore trump

This looks more like Michael Moore than it does Trump.  The artist did an especially good job on his nose.  And there's that smirk again!



trump/nielsen

And here is a Trump image that looks a lot like Leslie Nielsen of "Police Squad!" and "Airplane."


who???

"OK, so you've never seen Trump?  No problem.  Just do a portrait of Newt Gingrich and we'll alter it a bit to look like him.  He has this hair, two eyes, a chin, and a nose.  Just wing it.  It will be fine."


 
trump flat

"That's a great picture of Bill Pullman from 'Independence Day.'  But we wanted one of Trump.  Oh well.  Let's run it off anyway."


jimmy carter

"OK, we'll get that portrait of Jimmy Carter we have and alter some of the details a bit.  It will be fine."


buddy ebsen

I wonder what Buddy Ebsen would think about this.


buddy ebsen #2

Another Buddy Ebsen lookalike con.


buddy ebsen 3

Buddy Ebsen looks a little woried here.


trump coin from guinea

Here we have another Bea Arthur lookalike Trump coin.  This is from the Republic of Guinea, which has made a large (that is to say, bad) reputation among collectors.  They issue stamps and coins that are technically legal tender, but which are never actually put into circulation.  In short, they make stuff for "collectors" only, just like all the other fake mints on this page.  There are silver and gold versions of this coin, both 1 ounce, which is OK, in that the metal in the coins will always have some value.  The problem is the coins are selling for at least eight times what the metal in them is worth. 


captain kangaroo

A Trump/Clinton flip coin.  This one resembles Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo.


the joker

Oh no.  Batman better watch out!  The Joker is in town!



Hobo Nickels


puking trump

And here we have a coin from Scotland, probably modified from another coin.  i call this Puking Trump.  Like him or not, Trump has unified the masses, in at least one respect: very few people can depict him well.


 
take a dump on trump coin

"Take a dump on Trump" coin.  These are apparently modified from quarters, and have been circulated on a small scale.  Trump bears a striking resemblance to the Eoanthropus Dawsoni (Piltdown man) images you used to see in school science books.


trump nickel

The Donald Trump commemorative nickel, which has been hand modified from a real, legal tender nickel.  Trump's hair looks like you could cut tile with it.


chester gould trump

Now this is interesting.  Trump looks like a standard Dick Tracy villain.   I think Chester Gould would have named this character Sourpuss.  This looks like it was hand made from a British coin.


"novist"

"THESE COINS ARE STAMPED BY NOVIST AND CONDITION VARIES" the eBay listing said.  'Nuff said.

hobo quarter        frederick douglass        fdr

Some hobo quarters, and a dime, name stamped.  Not a bad markup: These sell for $2.99 postpaid.  I need to maske a Trump die and start stamping these things out. 


hobo nickel

Another hand made coin, shown as "Donald Trump hair Queen Elizabeth hobo nickel."  Sure, they just altered Queen Elizabeth's image by adding Trump hair to it-- but at the same time, it bears at least as good a   resemblance to Trump as a lot of the other coins here, though Saturday Night Live's Dana Carvey does come to mind too.  And I did learn something: according to Wikipedia, a hobo nickel is "...
a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small-denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The US nickel coin was favored because of its size, thickness and relative softness."


They're Only Off By Ten Days; What's The Big Deal?
 

january 30?????

And the final indignity.  A Trump inauguration coin.  Notice the date on the coin: January 30, 2017.  The President is inaugurated on January 20, and has been since 1937.  They put as much work into the design of this coin as they did on research.  From the same great minds who made the Scowling Trump coin. 
         

The Proposed Trump Inaugural Commemorative Coin Design



official trump coin design

Here is the not yet approved design for the official Trump inaugural medal.  Notice that Trump's likeness is no better than any of the other items seen on this page.  But it's official, and will gain in value over the years, long after the rest of the junk on this page has been filed away in landfills.



A quick note: we won't be covering all of the Trump billion dollar bills, defaced $2 bills, and so on.Any jerk with a computer and a printer can make their own: where's the skill in that?  Exhibit A: in one evening we designed our own Trump $3 bill, which is every bit as good (and as valuable) as the Trump bills polluting the marketplace.

Trump $3 bill


Do you see what I mean?


How to cast a coin the easy way


4 Reasons to Avoid Investing in Commemorative Coins