When custom coins are talked about, a representation and the reputation of an organization is also being talked about. For instance, when a corporation issues these coins to its members, people will talk not only about the coin itself, but also about the corporation. They may talk about how good or how bad the corporation is doing, or about it being involved in a million dollar collection lawsuit. Since custom coins carry with it the reputation of the organization, care must be exercised even on its designing stage. As such, there are limitations that must be considered in making or even designing these coins.
The following are some of the limitations that must be considered in making these coins:
1. The design must not be in conflict with the law, morals, public order, customs, or public policy.
Custom coins must not be in conflict with law or public order. This only happens when the purpose of the organization is, of course, against the law. For instance, the police or the military must never have coins which have designs depicting brutality, severe killing, or rebellion. An example of which is a coin designed with a bloodied head, apparently from a beheaded human, with the words “Serving for the Community.”
2. The design, words, and shape must not be that which is copyrighted.
Not every word, shape, design, or logo can be used to make these coins. One has to make sure that the designs, shapes, and words to be used are not copyrighted; otherwise, they will be invading the exclusive rights of another when it comes to intellectual property. This may lead to a lawsuit if not settled, and this event may bring the organization’s reputation down. To be able to avoid this from happening, organizations must be very careful in specifying the design of the coins that they are going to use. There are intellectual property laws which contain guidelines that will help an individual or an organization adopt a design without infringing upon the exclusive rights of others.
3. The design and shape must not be similar to those used as legal tender.
Custom coins are not used in trade as legal tender. Thus, an organization must not adopt a design which is similar to that of coins used as legal tender, for if it is allowed, not only legal, but also economic and financial negative consequences may happen. In the legal sense, the design of coins used as money is also protected by law.
In the economic sense, this is also equivalent to making money, thus causing the increase in interest rates apparently because of oversupply.In the financial sense, this will cause these coins to be circulated as legal tender. All of these consequences may happen successively or simultaneously, whenever someone will use these coins in trade, since the design, shape, and even the metal used is similar to money.
4. The coins must not be in honor of a living person.
The laws provide that except as provided therein, no building, bridge, park, resource reserve, plaques, signs, and emblems owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions shall be named after a living person, and anyone who will be guilty of violating it shall face penalties prescribed therein. Also, this is very crucial because, aside from being illegal, it can also cause confusion and misrepresentation.
While the purpose of custom coins is to recognize, to inspire, and to motivate, it does not give the organization the absolute freedom to choose whatever it wants as a design to these coins. Considering the above limitations will further realize the true purpose of these coins; otherwise, these supposed to be signs of unity can be sign of destruction and death.