Goes Crazy for Gold By World Coin News
“coin” enterprises appear to be cropping
up all over India. The Gold Club of Chennai, Union Bank
of India, and even the ICICI Bank (formerly the Industrial
Credit and Investment Corporation of India) are each
involved in their own independent projects. The term
“coin” is being used rather loosely, but
unlike in the United States there is no truth in advertising
law through which the words “coin” and “medal”
can necessarily denote something different.
The Gold Club of Chennai recently released what it calls
“24-carat gold coins” in denominations ranging
from one gram to 10 grams. The GCC coins are available
through jewelry outlets owned by members of the club.
According to a recent issue of The Hindu newspaper,
“The coins, once purchased, can later be exchanged
for gold or money (at the price of gold prevalent on
that particular day) in any of the close-to 200 members’
showrooms in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.”
GCC Chairman N. Anantha Padmanaban has gone as far as to
ask the local state government for permission to conduct an
Akshaya Tritiya’ Day or mega gold festival in the future
(Akshaya Tritiya’ fell on April 19 and 20 in 2007).
A similar event held during 2006 realized sales estimated
at 38 metric tons of gold.
Also active in the Indian gold market is the Union Bank of
India, a public-sector lender based in Mumbai that plans to
go into the bullion and gold coin business as well.
UBI’s General Manager for Treasury and International
Banking Bhaskar Sen was quoted in the April 11 The Economic
Times newspaper as saying, “The business potential in
gold is huge and we aim to tap this potential.”
UBI has sold 90 metric tons of gold bullion since it entered
the bullion business during 2002. The bank entered the gold
coin business in October 2006, offering what it describes
as coins in weights of 5, 8, 10 and 20 grams. None were available
for inspection in time for this article. The bank did not
provide information regarding denomination values, which would
be necessary if the issue is truly coinage rather than medallions,
however it was learned the coins are imported from the private
concern Pamps in Switzerland.
doesn’t stop the bank from offering them as coins at
100 of the bank’s branches throughout India. Sen said
of the effort, “We are in the process of identifying
more branches for marketing of gold coins based on market
He added, “There are several strong players in the market
and hence our pricing will be in consonance with the market.”
Apparently festivals are an important event at which gold
coins can be sold in India. UBI plans to market its gold coin
products during the Deepavali, Akshaya Tritiya, Vishu, Baisakhi
and Bihu festivals.
ICICI Bank, India’s largest home loan provider, is also
joining in the gold coin marketing game. ICICI is offering
gold “coins” in weights of 50, 8, 5, and 2.5 grams
through its many branch offices, again the bank failing to
identify coinage denominations for each item. Each of these
coins depicts the goddess Lakshmi. The bank markets these
items under the banner “purity, reliability, and convenience.”