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Trump-Kim summit coin is a collectible punch line

The U.S.-North Korea summit medallion has become the butt of many jokes, but buyers could have the last laugh if it proves valuable.
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A commemorative medallion marking the now-canceled summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is drawing ridicule, but one famous coin buyer says the diplomatic setback could help collectors cash in.

Rick Harrison, producer and star of the History Channel's "Pawn Stars," says the no-denomination U.S. coin has two things going for it: the president himself, whose profile is featured on the item, and the specter of a once chummy Trump and Kim parting faster than a fool and his money.

The medallions — which are not technically coins because they have no denomination, numismatists say — are issued by the White House Communications Agency, a military unit assigned to the president. Shortly after Trump canceled the summit on Thursday, the White House gift shop cut the price of the medallions from $24.95 to $19.95. The website had so much traffic Thursday morning that it crashed.

"I almost guarantee they will sell out of them," Harrison, co-owner of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, said Thursday. "Anything Trump sells."

Image: A+E Networks Hosts the NCTA Reception - Arrivals
Rick Harrison, star of "Pawn Stars," predicted the commemorative coin would sell despite the cancellation of the summit.Larry French / Getty Images for A+E Networks file

The cancellation and the discount had some critics of the president issuing gleeful zingers.

David Axelrod, chief campaign strategist for President Barack Obama, said on Twitter, "Coming soon to eBay: Historic summit coins!!"

Journalist and author Thomas E. Ricks noted that some of the president's supporters have been lobbying for a Nobel Peace Prize to recognize Trump's diplomacy with the North Korean regime. "Does he have to return his Premature Nobel Peace Prize?" Ricks said on Twitter. "Time to issue a 'no summit' coin?"

The cancellation of the summit, which appears to have put potential talks over North Korean denuclearization on hold, is also a collector-worthy twist, Harrison said.

"It probably makes it worth a little more," he said. "Half the value of these things is the story behind them — and the better the story, the more it’s worth."

While reluctant to predict the Trump-Kim medallion's desirability, American Numismatic Association education director Rod Gillis agrees that Trump's withdrawal from the summit could make the item more collectible.

"Something with a great deal of interest might see value rise," he says.

Its value could be contingent on how many of the medallions are made, both men said, with higher production numbers usually correlating to less value. The White House Communications Agency did not respond immediately to a request for comment from NBC News.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wasn't joking Tuesday when he said, via Twitter, that he doesn't believe that the profile of Kim, whom he described as "a brutal dictator," should share space on a government-issued medallion with the president.

"I urge the White House to take Kim off the coin," he said.

The White House said the issuance of the medallion was both routine and outside its purview. "In terms of the coins, this is not something that the White House has anything to do with," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

"We don't have any input on the design, the manufacturer, the process, in any capacity," she said. "This is a standard procedure by the White House Communications Agency, which is made up exclusively of career military officials. And these coins are designed and done by that organization."

The White House Gift Shop page for the medallion states that it comes with a black velvet coin case. "If summit does not occur," it states, "you can request a refund. Virtually all customers have asked us to fulfill this unique heirloom of political history regardless of outcome."

Short of nuclear annihilation, it did not appear that the item would be recalled or curtailed.