Bill Goldmann writes:
I built a web page for the 1968 Shell's Mr. President Coin Game promotion with photos and descriptions of the medallions.
Here's an excerpt. -Editor
Shell’s Mr. President Coin Game was a fabulous success for Shell Oil Company in 1968 and 1969. A lot of people played and a lot of people
won prizes. Perhaps you did, also? In its wake are millions of aluminum president game coins and millions of bronze prize coins. You can buy them on
auction sites every day. Also in its wake are collectors who try in vain to assemble a complete set of the original game pieces. In my quest to
complete a set I have learned a lot about this promotional game and it can all be found here.
Many people have fond memories of playing the game and winning prizes and that, in itself, is a testament to its success. The Mr.
President Coin Game inspired a multitude of similar collect-and-win games which continue to this day, like McDonald’s ‘Monopoly’ game. Such
games were also a shot in the arm for numismatics because it got people in the habit of identifying and collecting sets of coins.
The design and execution of this marketing promotion was nothing short of brilliant and it’s crazy that there is so little information
available about it. No one can tell me when the game started, when it ended, how many game pieces were issued, or how many prizes were
awarded. No one can tell me if this game was nationwide or only released in certain regions. There are many unanswered questions but there
are a lot of clues.
The game was simple on the surface – just collect coins and win prizes. Whenever you filled up with gas at a Shell station you received
a paper packet which contained one of 39 different aluminum president coins. You then placed your coin in the matching space provided on
the official game card. The game card was divided into sections and if you could get all the president coins in any one of the sections,
you won the prize indicated for that section.
Prizes ranged from $1 to $5,000 (that’s about $30,000 in today’s dollars!) and you could also win a beautiful bronze set of presidential
medals that came with a mounting board. This is the prize most remembered as over a million of these bronze presidential sets were given
away. There were also ‘instant winner’ coins that won a prize without having to collect any additional coins. I remember the excitement of
opening up a game piece and seeing SHELL'S INSTANT WINNER on the back.
The Franklin Mint created the game pieces. Thanks to Bill for pulling together so much information on the series. Be sure to read the
whole thing online - there are quite a number of great illustrations. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Shell's Mr. President Coin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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