A full-page ad Tuesday in both Salt Lake daily newspapers offered Utah quarters in special packaging for nearly $1 apiece.

A quarter for a buck.

That's essentially the offer to Utah residents from the World Reserve Monetary Fund, whose advertisement appeared Tuesday in the Deseret Morning News and the Salt Lake Tribune. For only $11, plus $10.10 in shipping and handling charges, residents can receive 25 new Utah quarters wrapped in special packaging that is stamped "RESTRICTED: For Utah State Residents Only."

What the advertisement, which was styled like a newspaper article and filled an entire page, does not clarify is that these are the same quarters available at many banks and credit unions around the state at face value — 25 cents, or $10 for a roll.

As for the fancy packaging, which is purported to make it a more valuable collectible? Hogwash.

"That would mean nothing, unless it's from the government and limited," said Gaylen Rust, owner of Rust Rare Coin. From a coin-collecting standpoint, what makes a coin valuable is rarity, something most of the state quarters are not.

Rust said that these offers come around quite often, although the names of the companies offering them seem to always be changing. They are usually targeted at the elderly and tout particular coins as investment opportunities or as special gifts for grandchildren.

Additionally, they have special packaging — such as the "resident only" wrap for the Utah quarters — and carry exorbitant added charges. They are almost never worth the cost, however.

Rust recommended that people be careful with these ads and check with the local collectors. "They'll tell you if it's worth it," he said.

The advertisement was placed in the newspapers by Universal Syndication Inc., who did not return phone calls requesting comment. It featured a byline from a copy writer for Universal Media Syndicate, which is actually an advertising firm under the UniSyn corporate umbrella, not a news media outlet.

The company is a regular advertiser in many newspapers around the country. On Tuesday, both Salt Lake City dailies also featured Universal Media Syndicate color advertisements for a framed collection of the first four presidential dollar coins, with space for all of the coming collectible dollar coins. Cost: $32.85. The Tribune also carried an ad from the same company for a Japanese health supplement.

Glory Layton, advertising operations director for MediaOne, which handles advertising for both papers, said that it has a policy that any advertisement looking like an article needs to be labeled with an "advertisement" banner of at least 10 point type.

"We want it to be clear that it was placed by an advertiser," she said.

E-mail: jloftin@desnews.com