Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has certified a North Korea Coin Set of 10 coins that were presented to Dennis Rodman by the North Korean government during his June 2017 visit to the reclusive country. Rodman, who gained worldwide fame for his Hall of Fame career with the National Basketball Association (NBA), has more recently been working to improve relations between the United States and North Korea.
Rodman made his first trip to North Korea in February 2013, when he became one of the first Americans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He has since traveled to the country at least five other times, often meeting with Kim.
The North Korea Coin Set was later given to well-known numismatist Dwight Manley, who decided to have them conserved by NCS and graded by NGC.
During his June 2017 trip, Rodman was presented with a North Korea Coin Set of 2011-dated brass 10 Won coins. The 10 Proof coins feature designs related to North Korea’s scenic Mount Kumgang Tourist Region. Korean poets and artists visited the area for centuries for inspiration.
Rodman, who won five championships with the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls, later gave the set to Dwight Manley, his friend and former agent. Manley is also a well-known numismatist; the library of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) is named in his honor.
Manley displayed the North Korea Coin Set in his office and also at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in 2018 before deciding to submit it to NGC for certification. Prior to grading, the coins were professionally conserved by Numismatic Conservation Services® (NCS®), an NGC affiliate. They were then seamlessly transferred to NGC for grading and encapsulation.
“NGC’s position as the leader in world coin grading made it the obvious choice to certify and protect these coins,” Manley said. “This set reflects important efforts to bring peace on the Korean peninsula.”
A cease-fire ended the Korean War in 1953, but tensions remain high, especially along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. The Mount Kumgang Tourist Region is located just north of the DMZ and serves as a leading destination for international tourists who wish to visit North Korea.
North Korean coins are not normally eligible for NGC certification, but the company determined that it was important to preserve the provenance of this particular North Korea Coin Set. The NGC certification label includes the unusual pedigree: North Korea Gift to Dennis Rodman (June 2017).
The coins in the set include: