Monday, January 31, 2005

What A Disappointment!

I'm glad I didn't take my son to the release of the California quarter. What a disappointment!

Last week I could find no information about the release of the quarter. There was nothing on the US Mint web site, nothing on the state's Welcome to California web site, nothing on the Governor's or First Lady's web sites. It took two calls to Washington, DC to find out that the release ceremony would be from noon to 2 pm in the courtyard of the California State History Museum. Nothing on their web site, either.

I slept in an extra hour this morning, lounged around for awhile, then drove to the light rail station and took the train downtown. I figured that at $1.50 each way, I'd probably be saving parking money and I'd definitely be saving the stress of finding a parking place. When I got to the museum at about 10:45 there was already a line a few dozen people long. I took my place in it and waited.

While in the line I heard that the official, invitation-only release ceremony was taking place from 11-noon. Both the Governor and the First Lady were supposedly there, as well as Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore. That really perturbed me: the man who proclaims himself to be The People's Governor had "the people" wait outside (fortunately it's a beautiful day) during the official ceremony and then he took off! When they let us into the courtyard, all that was there was a long table staffed by Wells Fargo Bank employees, selling rolls of California quarters for $10 each (limit 5 until 2pm, limit 10 after 2pm) and illustrated folders with the new quarter for $5 (limit 5 until 2pm, with proceeds going to the Museum). There was no mint director, no governor, no ceremony for us--not even a freakin' oversized cardboard California quarter that we could get our pictures taken next to!!! The only "celebrity" I saw was some mascot, an eagle dressed in Colonial garb with a 3-cornered hat. Oh, and there was a US Mint security officer there, too.

I waited in line for over an hour to buy quarters that I could get at the bank. The People's Governor released a quarter celebrating the great state of California, while the people of that great state waited outside. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll see some of the release ceremony tonight on the 5:00 news.

I expected more.

Update (3:37pm): The video of the official release ceremony can be seen at . We of the unwashed masses weren't even allowed into this room after the ceremony was over! To say I'm disappointed would be a tremendous understatement.


Austin said...

Yea, that does sound very inconsiderate of everyone who hosted this event. You'd think that maybe if they advertised and organized this better, they could generate more interest in numismatic stuff like this and maybe, for example, keep those new, golden dollar coins in circulation. Though off the topic, those coins came out with minimal fanfare and now they departed in the same way.

Darren said...

Actually, I thought the Sacagawea dollars came out with a lot of fanfare. There were huge crowds at Walmart, which was chosen by the mint to help distribute them. But you're right about the dying.

Dollar coins and dollar bills will not circulate side by side. Canada circulates $1 and $2 coins, with a $5 bill being the smallest bill. Same goes in the Euro countries.

Getting rid of the dollar bill would save the government money. It costs only twice as much to manufacture a dollar coin as it does to manufacture a dollar bill, but the coin will last an average of 25 years, whereas the average dollar bill has a lifespan of only 18 months. That means that the coins are only 1/8 as expensive as dollar bills, because you don't have to replace your entire supply of coins every 18 months.

Yet the Congress refuses to get rid of the $1 bill.

Anonymous said...

hey its ben from your 4th period class. my dad experienced a similar thing, he went to see the governor for some speech or something, crowds of people were put behind cyclone fences, while the governor was talking about he's the "people's governor", geuss he's gotta work on that aspect

Darren said...

Ben, shouldn't you be doing your pre-calculus homework and not googling around looking for my blog? :-)