The Franklin Mint
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|Headquarters||Exton, Pennsylvania and
New York City, New York, United States
The company is currently owned by Sequential Brands Group headquartered in New York City, New York. The previous owners have a license to complete the Presidential Dollar continuity program, but otherwise the company exists as a brand name only. The Franklin Mint manufactured and marketed coins, jewelry, diecast vehicles, dolls, sculpture and other collectibles.
For five decades The Franklin Mint produced and mass marketed "collectibles". Its product line began with manufacturing and marketing privately minted gold and silver commemorative rounds and medallions.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Franklin Mint expanded operations to legal-tender coins, producing a combination of bullion and non-bullion proof and uncirculated coin sets of both small and large denominations for a number of countries, particularly Panama and various island states. One of its best numismatic sellers was the "Coin Sets of all Nations" series which included stamps and post marks of the respective nation on each set.
Besides coins, other offerings included dolls, plates, knives, LP record sets and die-cast vehicles. Often emphasized in these media were influential historical figures or famous actors. Wildlife scenes were also a common feature. Many of these items were sold through magazine and television advertisement over the years.
One of the LP sets was the 100 Greatest Recordings Of All Time, a collection of classical recordings selected by a panel of performers and conductors and pressed on translucent 180 gram deep red vinyl and packaged two LPs to an each album. Each LP was set into a plastic carrier that touched only the center spindle hole and the rim. There were two rereleases of this set. The second used ordinary paper sleeves inside a foldout compartment to house the LPs. The third used a side-open box and paper sleeves. In all three sets the vinyl quality was the same.
The Franklin Library
In 1983, after Warner Communications had purchased the Franklin Mint, the company entered the diecast vehicle market, starting with the 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Roadster. Usually the cars were labeled as Franklin Mint Precision Models. In the following years, Franklin Mint produced more than 600 different issues of motorcycles, trucks and tractors besides automobiles.
Additionally the Franklin Mint began manufacturing diecast aircraft. The Franklin Mint produced a large number of World War II 1:48 scale planes including the B-17 Flying Fortress, PBY Catalina, P-51 Mustang, and FW190.
Changes in ownership
In 1980, Warner Communications (now part of Time Warner) purchased The Franklin Mint for about $225 million. The combination was short lived: Warner sold The Franklin Mint in 1985 to American Protection Industries Inc. (API) for $167.5 million. However, Warner retained Eastern Mountain Sports, a retailer that The Franklin Mint had acquired in the 1970s, as well as The Franklin Mint Center, which it leased back to API. API was renamed Roll International in 1993. During the early 2000s, Roll International wound down much of the Franklin Mint business. On August 31, 2006, Roll International Corp sold the remaining assets of The Franklin Mint to a group including a private equity investor and The Morgan Mint. The Franklin Mint brand was purchased in November 2013 by Sequential Brands Group.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund vs Franklin Mint
Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image. In 1998, after refusing the Franklin Mint an official license to produce Diana merchandise, the fund sued the company, accusing it of illegally selling Diana dolls, plates and jewelry. In California, where the initial case was tried, a suit to preserve the right of publicity may be filed on behalf of a dead person, but only if that person is a Californian. The Memorial Fund therefore filed the lawsuit on behalf of the estate, and upon losing the case, was countersued by Franklin Mint in 2003. In November 2004, the case was settled out of court with the Diana Memorial Fund agreeing to pay £13.5 million to charitable causes on which both sides agreed. In addition to this, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund had spent a total of close to £4 million in costs and fees relating to this litigation, and as a result froze grants allocated to a number of charities.
- Krause, Chester (1978). Guidebook of Franklin Mint Issues. Krause Publications.
- The Franklin Mint Almanac (Pamphlet), Franklin Mint
- Numismatic Issues of the Franklin Mint, Covering the Years 1965-1969. Franklin Mint. 1970.
- Johnson, Dana (1998). Collector's Guide to Diecast Toys and Scale Models (second ed.). Padukah, Kentucky: Collector Books / Schroeder Publishing. pp. 78–79. ISBN 1-57432-041-6.
- "The Franklin Mint Diecast Model Library". JSS Software. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Dinger, Ed (1998). "The Franklin Mint". International Directory of Company Histories. 69. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- Mattioli, Dana (2013-11-03). "Sequential Brands Buys the Franklin Mint Brand". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- Datar, Rajan (2005-05-13). "Diana's lost millions". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- "BOND funding guide: Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund". Bond.org.uk. Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- "Frequently asked questions". The Work Continues. Retrieved 2012-11-22.