Federal Trade Commission Votes to Retain Hobby Protection Rules

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission, as part of its periodic review of its rules and guides, has voted to retain in their present form the rules and regulations issued under the 1973 Hobby Protection Act. The Act requires that manufacturers and importers of "imitation political items" and "imitation numismatic items" mark the items with the date of manufacture or the word "copy." A notice announcing the agency’s decision and outlining the comments it received will be published in today’s Federal Register. Since the FTC began its regulatory review effort it has repealed 27 rules and guides and streamlined or updated others.

On March 25, 1997, the FTC announced that it was seeking comments on its rules issued in 1975 which implement the Act’s marking requirements for imitation political items, including buttons, posters and coffee mugs, and imitation numismatic items, such as coins, tokens and paper money.

The Commission received more than 1,000 comments in response to its March 1997 request for input. According to the agency, the comments uniformly supported the continuing need for the rules and noted that the rules have been successful in protecting consumers from those who would try to pass off reproductions as originals. In addition, the agency believes the comments indicated that the rules do not impose significant burdens or costs on firms subject to the rules.

Some comments related to products not covered by the Act and implementing rules, claiming that replicas of other types of antiques and collectibles were being passed off as genuine and urging expansion of the Act and rules. The Commission declined to expand the rules citing the Act’s limited scope, the existence of other state and federal laws that provide remedies for these problems, and the availability of resources that educate and warn collectors on how to distinguish originals from reproductions.

The Commission vote to retain the rules was 4-0.

Copies of the full text of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC- HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202- 326-2710.

(FTC File No. P974230)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Michelle Muth
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161
Staff Contact:
Robert Easton
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3029