This is a copy of a letter sent to myself, Robert Hoff (Boomer of ParkPennies), which was received on November 15, 2010 and presented by Tim Prize as a proposed eBay auction description. Advanced collectors may share reservations I had with some of the points made by Tim in this letter, even if Tim did not. However, keep in mind that he is recalling events that took place nearly two decades before this letter was written. I'm sharing this here because it was intended to be public and it is a voice for Tim. (If of interest, here is some of the key correspondence from 2009, read from bottom up. ) -Boomer
To start with this is going to be a long description, but a great story and opportunity for anyone that collects Disney pressed pennies. In the early 1980s, I started a company called Centek which was a manufacturer that was the first to distribute coin operated penny presses in the country. Unfortunately, as any small company we had to be very cost contious and I say unfortunately to be explained later, we were approached by some of the largest tourist attractions in the country interested in our product. Being a small company, we were excited to introduce one of the most collectible souvenirs to this day. One of our first few customers to be interested in our product was Ripley Believe it or Not and Disneyland in California. After months of negotiation on equipment, costs, and designs, we finally received an order from Disney for their first penny presses. They had sent us art work for two machines that included a die with Mickey Mouse and the second a Country Bear Jamborie. As many of you collectors know, there were problems with the first machines that were sent to Disneyland in California. We had problems with the hardness of the dies that caused a coin that was on stage for a very short period of time and has become one the most collectible coins and rare according to Park Pennies.com. When we first received the order from Disney, we were very excited about the opportunity to be in one of the largest amusement parks in the country. We wanted to make sure everything was right to ensure future orders. The art work was sent to us for the two coins on our single die presses that were to be sent to the park in the early 1980s. There were a number of logistical issues that we had not yet worked out and unfortunately caused the problems with the initial machines that were sent out.
When we first sent the art work to our engraver here in Denver to create a coin with Mickey Mouse, Disneyland spelled over the top of Mickey and a number of rays that extended from Mickey to the outside of the coin, we were not quite sure at that time if we could fit all of it on the coin and still be legible on a half-inch of dirty copper. So taking it upon ourselves we made some changes to the original art work thinking that Disney would have no problem with the changes we made. Our dies were engraved on what is called O1 Steel (very soft) and then hardened to anywhere from 56 to 60 Rockwell. The cost of a die at that time to our company could have run anywhere from $150 - $300 per engraving so it was very important cost wise to get it right. So we had a die made that we thought would be perfect and acceptable to Disney for their Mickey coin. These dies would be engraved on the softer O1 Steel and then be hardened to the 56 to 60 Rockwell to ensure the life of the die. The very first coin that we rolled from our engraver is what is pictured above. We rolled a sample coin to present to Disney as a proof prior to having it hardened. Because of the cost of the die, we did not want to do any damage to it by rolling the sample on a copper penny . We had received currency from Japan because of their interest in our machine as to its future potential in their market. These coins (Yen) were made of aluminum and to ensure not doing any damage to our dies we rolled the very FIRST DISNEY COIN on a ONE YEN. We had left out the Disney over the head of Mickey as well as eliminated a number of the rays from Mickey's head thinking that we would be able to clean the coin up as to not make it too busy. After showing it to Disney, they rejected the image for the lack of Disney on the coin as well as the elimination of the number of rays emitting from Mickey's head. It is a story in itself how I found this coin, but it is the ORIGINAL engraving for Disney which started the very first coin ever rolled for Disneyland in California. The same engraver that made the first and second coin ever to be placed on stage in Disneyland engraved this one of a kind coin in the 1980's that was rolled as a prototype for Disney's approval. There is only ONE and I have it up for action and will certify its authenticity. There are no dies in existence to ever reproduce the FIRST DISNEY COIN ever produced. I was as shocked as I'm sure you collectors will be to find what is REALLY the first prototype Disney coin ever rolled.
Please e-mail me or please feel free to call me for any additional information you may have in regards to this coin. As you can see, it is a beautiful, perfect roll on a Japanese Yen showing the absolute FIRST DISNEY COIN ever rolled. I am sure that the one person that is lucky enough to be the highest bidder will have in their possession the only first prototype ever produced by my company, Centek, for Disneyland in California.
Good luck and I look forward to talking to anyone interested in bidding on this coin. If you have any questions as to my involvement with Centex which I was the owner and CEO, . This is truly the find of finds and I am as excited as I am sure the winning bidder will be to own a one of a kind. As I told you earlier, you may even call me and I will be happy to talk to you and give you as much detail as I can in regards to anymore information on this coin that I have not already listed. This will be a private auction. . Good luck and enjoy the coin.
One of my replies in reference to the eBay auction description:
Please edit the current auction copy. Your most resent eBay auction copy implies that ParkPennies.com has documentation to support statements made by you in regards to the subject elongated coin. That is not correct. The documentation I have collected over the years indicates artwork supplied by Disney for the first Disney elongated coins was similar to the DL0001 and DN0001 coins, a design which differs substantially from that of the subject coin. Tim, I can provide limited support. Although the subject coin itself, related ephemera, references, Cast Member recollections, and other research I have done, have been contrary and / or non-supportive that the subject coin is "The very first coin that we [Disney / Centek] rolled". I can confirm that the first Disney penny presses were ordered from Centek, the dates, designs, etc. I'm also happy to continue helping you establish the coin's date, Disney authorization, etc., just as I have over the past years with this and other coins. I hope you will submit more data to ParkPennies. However, even without additional data and absent meeting any other ParkPennies guide's criteria, the subject coin qualifies for listing in the "DW" guide, as a Disney Themed Tribute elongated coin.