Saturday, June 19, 2004

Hello Kitty Invades Japan's Gold and Silver Markets

Hello Kitty Lends A Paw...

By Jim Hawe


TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Hello Kitty has returned to Japan's precious metals market to again share her marketing magic and hopefully scratch up some interest among first-time investors.

Monday Japan's Taisei Coins Corp., along with Hello Kitty owner Sanrio Co. (8136.TO), began marketing gold and silver coins featuring the likeness of Japan's most recognizable feline.

The coins, which are being issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Hello Kitty's debut in 1974, vary in price from Y7,350 for one-ounce silver coins, to Y126,000 for one-ounce gold coins.

The run will be limited to 1,000 one-ounce gold coins, 2,000 one-quarter-ounce gold coins and 5,000 one-ounce silver coins.

On one side of the coin is Hello Kitty adorned in one of six different kimonos, each representing a heroine in a classic kabuki play. The flip-side features Queen Elizabeth II, as the coins were minted on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

This isn't the first time Hello Kitty has popped up on Japan's precious metals market.

In February, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo KK, Japan's largest retailer of precious metals, began offering a 30-millimeter-tall platinum Hello Kitty doll sporting a diamond-encrusted dress and a hefty price tag of Y3 million. Then in March, Sanrio offered 50 sets of gold Hello Kitty medallions that sold out almost instantly.

However, this week's release marks the first time the popular cat will appear on a coin.

Toshiharu Kato, a spokesman for Taisei Coins, said sales in just the first few days have been brisk.

Kato didn't have exact figures as the coins are being sold through both Taisei Coins and Sanrio, but he estimates sales have already topped Y100 million.

Read the Whole Story on Yahoo Finance - Singapore

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