The DL0329 and DL0329 Nightmare Before Christmas, Elongated Quarters
The DL0329 is a coin worthy of a feature page. Because it was on-stage only part of a single day, it is a coin on many wish lists.
As you can see from the large picture above or the even larger NBC quarters picture here, the only difference between the DL0329 and DL0329a is the size of the gripper. (Joke intentionally avoided.) There is a lot more about the NBC and Haunted Mansion elongated quarter sets covered in a separate ParkPennies.com article about the NBC and Haunted Mansion sets. But, I'll try to focus on just the DL0329 /a here.
The '329 is hard to find for good reason.
Early morning, October 24th, 2005, I was again looking for the expected arrival of the new NBC quarter press machine. The Haunted Mansion machine had been off-stage for a while and I anticipated that as in previous years, the machine would return with the Halloween season NBC set soon. The off-stage machine had frustrated avid collectors for several days and knew it was about time for the long delayed NBC quarter machine to arrive. I wanted a set of those quarters... NOW ALL READY!
Without luck, I had regularly checked the alcove next to the Pieces of Eight Shop, now called The Port Royal Court. It seemed like one of the most likely locations for the machine if / when returned. But on this day, the alcove gate was locked up. The park had recently placed a small shop in the alcove and being the shop was not open, the court was closed. Given the crowds had not shown up yet, I entered the Pieces of Eight Shop to the right of the courtyard hoping that I could see if the machine had returned. The view was blocked. I went to the Nightmare Before Christmas Shop on the other side of the courtyard, but again the view was restricted as was access to the alcove area.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Shop was staffed by a single Cast Member at the time. I asked her if I could enter the court to check for a "penny press". She apologetically told me that she couldn't leave the store. Just then we spotted a security guard, she asked him and he agreed to chaperone me into the alcove area. (I'm sure they thought me crazy, but, given my demeanor and my Hawaiian shirt, harmless as well.) The machine had returned! I pressed a few sets while the guard politely waited. The machine worked well with the exception of the DL0329 die which didn't seem to be able to catch the coin consistently. While there, I managed to mash two DL0329 elongated quarters together. I did my best not to abuse the hospitality of my chaperone and planned to return the next day to roll replacements for the miss-rolled pair and some extras.
Late that afternoon, my daughter was on a date at the park and agreed to stop by and see if the machine was available. About the time she arrived, a Cast Member opened the courtyard gates! She pressed a couple of sets, one for her date and then... let the next person in what was already a waiting line, press a few coins. (Do I really need to tell you what happened?) The machine jammed and was taken off-stage later that night. I was there early the next day to find the Nightmare Before Christmas quarter press had returned... with the larger gripper, DL0329a in place of the very short lived DL0329!