The DL0001 Mickey Rays image above is acknowledged as the first onstage (non-prototype or pattern) Disney pressed coin design in the world. (Artwork for the First Disney Pressed Penny) It was first onstage at Disneyland Park in 1987 with a companion machine featuring the DL0002, Bear Country pressed penny. While onstage, the pressed penny coin grip was changed at least once as shown above. Cast Member recollection, interviews and close examination reveal that the die's original engraving featured an unmodified coin grip slot, possibly too short to grab and hold a coin edge reliably. The next state of the DL0001 had a slightly modified, "Intermediate Grip" and was known to have been on-stage. The third example of a DL0001, has an "extremely modified" coin grip and was most likely onstage the longest time.
Given the bits and pieces of information gathered so far, we believe: First, that the earliest example, the unmodified coin grip, was an early test roll pressed by the engraver / manufacturer at their place of business. Second, because the sample coin kept by the engraver / manufacturer with the Disney invoice had an intermediate grip modification, we believe coin die was probably modified before it was shipped to Disneyland.
And third, the easy part :-), because many examples of the extreme grip modification were pressed onstage, we believe that at least that modification was done at the park.
Guide numbering is important... As many readers know, as per our Disneyland elongated coin guide policies, a die as it is first pressed onstage is given a DL guide number without a suffix, e.g. DL0001_. When / if that coin die is modified, the guide number is changed and given the first sequential alphabetical suffix, e.g. DL0001a, the next modification, DL0001b etc. So, we expect that in time, the the guides will reflect the unmodified coin grip examples as very scarce and very early test roll DL0001's, the intermediate grip examples as the DL0001, and the extremely modified coin grip examples as DL0001a's. However, the "probably" in the paragraph above has caused us to pause, while we gather more bits and pieces of information. :-)
Notes: In January of 2010, an example of an unmodified DL0001 was offered for sale on eBay by a person that stated in their auction: "Here is the very rare first pressed penny made for Disneyland by Centek out of Wheat Ridge, Colorado in 1986. I was part of the ownership group at that time and know that that there are probably just a handful of these coins still floating around. Best of luck to the lucky collector who ends up with this rare coin." Given the owner's statement, ParkPennies.com will (forgive us we don't do this often) assume that the coin auctioned was pressed before the die was shipped to Disneyland. (At least until we can locate a short(er) grip coin that is known to have been pressed onstage at the park.) Scan of a DL0001 with unmodified coin grip is shown above as the "Short Grip DL0001".
In 2011, the sample or proof coin sent with the Centek Disneyland invoice was examined and found to be very similar to the "Intermediate Size Grip DL0001" above. Given the coin was from Colorado, the hone of Centek the machine manufacturer, and third party statements confirmed the owner's claims, we believe, with some certainty, that the sample coin closely represents the state of the coin grip when the first DL0001 coin die was placed onstage.
The First Disneyland Pressed Coin Design
Unmodified Grip DL0001
Earliest example of
Disney onstage pressed penny design.
(Coin grip in unmodified state
before die shipment to Disneyland.)
The First Disneyland Pressed Coin Design Intermediate Grip DL0001
A very early example of the first
Disney onstage pressed penny design.
(Coin grip in slightly modified. The probable
when shipped to Disneyland.)
The First Disneyland Pressed Coin Design Extremely Modified Grip DL0001
Representative later example of the
first official onstage
(Note heavily modified coin grip. Representative
of most examples pressed onstage.