On another thread, I proposed a combined order of Bitcoin security holograms for the purpose of allowing others to make their own Casascius-like coins and other physical Bitcoin products. As most of you know, I make Casascius Coins, but I wish for others to make physical Bitcoins as well. (I just want them to exist - it promotes Bitcoin - I don't desire a "monopoly" on physical Bitcoins).
That thread is here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=60136.0
One thing that occurred to me is that a significant obstacle to others making coins would be the production of private keys. And it's not as though I can simply just sell a batch of private keys to someone - doing so would have mutually unfavorable security implications.
On that same thread, I offered to provide a service where someone could come to Utah for a visit and we'd make a batch of private keys together. Gabe at MyBitcoinMint expressed an interest. The purpose of having two unrelated strangers would be sort of like the same reason Mormon missionaries travel in twos - it's the job of one to keep the other in check, and rat the other out if he does anything bad. So, the other party and I would both participate in creating a very large batch of private keys, and then notarize letters for one another certifying that both were in custody of all the keys at all time and that they are secure.
I got to thinking that if I did such a thing, we could just as easily create and sell batches of private key circles for other people - where the only extra step is that we seal and mail the keys to our mutual customer, along with a notarized statement from both of us that we kept one another in check. That would offer a much greater degree of confidence in the product, not just in terms of preventing shenanigans, but also that more careful eyes were watching and double-checking against mistakes in production. (Note that this production method has nothing to do with elliptic curve multiplication - it is simply a normal private key whose security has been attested by two independent people with a notarized signature.)
In my other thread I offer a batch of 2500 holograms for $500.
So I want to know... if you could also buy a batch of 2500 certified private keys to go with them for $500, already pre-cut into circles so they fit right into the coin slugs, would that tip you into being interested in making your own coins?
The only last thing you would need is the physical coin slug itself. You could source them yourself, or I could offer mine... either way, you're looking at about 35 cents per coin slug including shipping (and perhaps less if you go and do your own artwork, get your own dies done, and can meet the minimum order quantities of a token company, which for the company that did mine, was 5,000, and wait 4-6 weeks for the production)
Bottom line is, you'd be able to create your own physical bitcoins for under 75 cents USD per coin - which is far less than the markup I charge for Casascius Coins. And especially if you are not in the US, you could also sell them in your local market and make a decent profit.