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A peace bargain to tempt all coin collectors

25 May 2018

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Oh dear. Earlier this week, the White House Communications Agency released images of a commemorative coin designed to mark the putative peace summit between the US and North Korean governments. Almost immediately, the coin – which depicted President Trump and ‘supreme leader’ Kim Jong-Un squaring up for discussions – became the subject of mockery. Quite apart from its dubious aesthetic merits, some commentators complained that it served to legitimise the North Korean dictatorship.

Soon enough, even the White House was moved to distance itself from the product, hastily issuing a statement to clarify that it ‘did not have any input into the design and manufacture of the coin’. As it turned out, the announcement was a prescient one: on Thursday afternoon, President Trump cancelled the planned summit citing ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ on the part of the North Korean regime. But at least someone stands to benefit from the diplomatic collapse: the White House gift shop has now slashed the price of a similar coin, which also features the South Korean president, Moon Jae-In, from $24.95 to a mere $19.95. Collectors, get in!

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