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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on its Hobby Protection Act Rules, which require imitation political items -- such as buttons, posters, coffee mugs and the like -- to be marked with the calendar year they were manufactured, and imitation numismatic items -- including coins, tokens and paper money -- to be marked with the word "copy." The FTC is conducting a review of the rule as part of its overall effort to update all agency rules and regulations and eliminate those that are no longer useful or necessary. Since the regulatory reform effort began, the FTC has repealed 27 rules and guides and streamlined or updated several more. A notice published in today's Federal Register describes the Hobby Protection Act Rules in further detail, lists specific questions on which the FTC is seeking public comments, and states that comments are due May 27.

The FTC promulgated the Hobby Protection Act Rules in 1975, as required by Congress pursuant to the 1973 Hobby Protection Act. The rules prescribe the required markings on imitation political and numismatic items, specifying the sizes and dimensions of the type, the location of the marking, and how to mark incusable (those that can be impressed with a stamp) and nonincusable items. The FTC said it has undertaken a limited inquiry that indicated a high level of compliance with the rule.

Among the questions on which the FTC is seeking comments is whether there is a continued need for regulatory and legislative intervention in the sale of these items, but not for other collectibles. The FTC also is seeking information about the rules' costs and benefits, whether any changes should be made, and what the costs and benefits of those changes would be.

The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register notice was 5-0. Comments should be directed to the Secretary, FTC, Room H-159, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, and identified as "16 CFR Part 304 Comment."

Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC's web site at and also from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY 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 Matter No. P974230)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Claudia Bourne Farrell or Bonnie Jansen
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:

Elaine Kolish
Bureau of Consumer Protection