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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 18, April 30, 2006, Article 27

"PENNY DROP" PUBLICITY STUNT LOGISTICS

Regarding the National Coin Week "penny drop" stunt, Gary Dunaier
writes: "Unless the actual purchase is done with no media present,
what's there to prevent the merchant with whom the coin is spent
from putting it aside and subsequently turning it in himself?"

[Well, when I saw the photos of all the press surrounding Scott
Travers in New York, I wondered just how the coin drop COULD work
without the merchant suspecting something and immediately pocketing
the coins.  There's never a guarantee that the merchant or clerk
won't spot the coin and immediately set it aside.

When I did my coin drop in Pittsburgh I picked a busy bakery at
lunchtime (with no media in tow), when I figured no one would have
time to examine coins.  I went back to the bakery following the coin
show and told the staff what I'd done.  They'd seen the publicity
about the coins and had searched their tills, but no one found the
coin.

As far as we knew, it had been handed back out in change shortly
after I'd spent it.  Most likely, it went straight into someone's
dresser drawer or coin jar.

The Lincoln cent is the longest-lived of current coin designs, and
provides the best cover for a scarce coin.  Pre-1965 silver coins
are out because the color and sound of silver would draw immediate
attention.  I'm waiting for someone to use a scarce state quarter,
like the extra corn leaf variety. But varieties are much harder to
describe in a press release than a simple date/mintmark combination.
We never repeated the coin drop in Pittsburgh out of courtesy to the
local coin dealers - the publicity set their phones ringing with
callers who seemed to think they could cash in their 1994 cents for
$100 apiece.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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