Minneapolis, January 5, 2000 - The Millennium will arrive in mint condition -- literally! Ten million newly minted Millennium Pennies -- the first Lincoln cents stamped with the year 2000 -- will be distributed inside boxes of all six varieties of Cheerios. The 10 million cereal boxes containing the Millennium Penny will appear on store shelves across the United States beginning this week.
Since general circulation of these coins is not expected to begin until February, this historic offer gives Americans a chance to get the new coins before they're widely available.
In addition to the penny, every 2,000th participating box in the Cheerios franchise will include one of the brand new, highly anticipated one-dollar gold-colored coins - the Golden Dollar - featuring the image of Native American heroine Sacagawea. Plus, every 4,400th box will contain a $100 prize in the form of a special certificate redeemable for 100 of the new Golden Dollars.
Each shiny new Millennium Penny and Golden Dollar -- among the very first to be produced by the U.S. Mint -- will be carefully packaged within a protective, plastic Cheerios sleeve. The unique souvenir holder will be printed with the U.S. Mint's seal, a certificate of authenticity including the signature of U.S. Mint Director Philip N. Diehl, and a place for consumers to write their name, date and the event where they rang in the year 2000.
"This is such an innovative way to release our newest coins," said Diehl. "Our partnership with General Mills will surely build excitement around the Millennium Pennies and is an unparalled opportunity to introduce the public to the new Golden Dollar coin."
News of the promotion has already sparked interest among coin enthusiasts.
"The specially designed souvenir coin holders increase the collectible nature of these coins," says Steve Bobbit, public relations director of the congressionally-chartered American Numismatic Association. "Most importantly, we believe Cheerios' unique distribution of these millennium coins could get millions of kids interested in the lifelong hobby of coin collecting."
The Millennium Coin promotion will be featured on boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Team Cheerios. The participating packages will feature images of the new Millennium Pennies and Golden Dollars as well as interesting facts about each coin.
"These first Minted, first-available millennium coins will make great collectors' items for parents and grandparents to give to the children in their lives," says Janet Pofcher, marketing manager, Cheerios Business Unit. "Since they are in limited supply, we expect they'll fly off the store shelves pretty quickly."
For more information on the Cheerios Millennium Coin promotion, consumers may visit the Cheerios web site at www.cheerios.com.