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These new coins are worthy of a king

Published Oct. 9, 2005

The Marshall Islands has released three legal tender coins to mark the 40th anniversary of the year that Elvis cut his first record, My Happiness and That's When Your Heartaches Begin.

The islands, a former U.S. trust territory in the South Pacific, have aggressively marketed stamps and coins in the United States since they received their independence in 1981.

Although the U.S. Postal Service still runs the islands' mail service, selling the country's own stamps, U.S. dollars remain the primary currency there.

Unlike U.S. postal officials, who conducted a national poll on whether to honor the younger or older Elvis before issuing their single 29-cent commemorative, the Marshall Islands decided to honor both.

The $50 silver proof commemorative, about one and a half inches across and weighing one troy ounce, depicts a mature Elvis. Two smaller-denomination coins portray Elvis as a young man: the $10 coin, made of brass and 10-sided instead of round, and the $5 coin, made of cupronickel.

In addition to Presley's profile, the coins carry the wording "Elvis Presley, 1993" and the denomination. The $5 and $10 coins also have a pair of guitars _ one acoustic and the other electric _ flanking the singer's head.

The coins cost $65 for the set, or their face value if ordered individually. More information is available from: (800) 443-3232.

The Marshall Islands has also issued a 12-coin commemorative series detailing the whales and dolphins of the Pacific. Each coin depicts a different marine mammal on the front and the Republic of Marshall Islands seal on the reverse. The $50 silver coins are about one and a half inches in diameter and weigh one troy ounce. They are limited to 25,000 sets. For each order, a coin is shipped each month until the set is completed.

The coins cost $50 apiece, plus $6 for shipping and handling. For more information call (800) 443-3232.