Results Are In - 8-Year-Old Boy Wins 200-Year-Old Coin!

After five months of painstaking preparation, we are happy to announce that our 200-Year-Old Coin Giveaway has come to a very happy conclusion. One little guy was very pleased in the end, and we certainly have to say that it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving child. Read on for more...

 Southgate Coins presents Garrett Allen with a 200-year old coin

As I mentioned, we’ve been preparing for August 5, 2008 for about 5 months now. We made signs, bought a raffle drum, sent out press releases, and spiffed up our store—all in anticipation of one child winning a 200-year-old Capped Bust half dollar.

This past Tuesday started out the same as any other, except that along with all of our opening duties, we were clearing a place for our giant, golden raffle drum so that it could be seen when the winning entry was drawn that afternoon. We decided that we would pull a nice wooden table from the back to set the drum on, along with corresponding signs, and of course the 1808 half dollar. That way our guests could all see what a neat little setup we had. Rusty also mixed up the morning routine a bit when he brought in two cartons of cookies (sugar with sprinkles and yummy chocolate chip), as well as two jugs of lemonade. Of course, we had to hold off on munching down until the festivities began.

Around 2:00 p.m., Crystal intercepted a call from a woman named , the senior director of elementary education for the Washoe County School District. She graciously agreed to pull the winning entry out of the drum, and called to let us know she was on her way to our store! This encouraged us to scramble to set everything up perfectly, and we finished just as Pati rang our doorbell.

As we awaited our other guests, we gave Pati the grand tour of the store. As we did, we had Carla Roccapriore, a reporter from the Reno Gazette Journal, come in and join in the festivities. She took pictures of the coin, as well as asked questions about how and why we decided to do the giveaway.

After that, people just seemed to flood in. We had about six or seven members of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce in attendance, led by Regina Lockwood, as well as a cameraman from KOLO TV, Channel 8 News. The Chamber of Commerce people happily surprised us with three proclamations (one from the mayor of Reno, one from Nevada’s Rep. Heller, and one from the Washoe County Commission), honoring us for our outreach to northern Nevada’s children. We were definitely pleased with that unexpected gift.

When it finally came down to picking the winning entry, I was called out because I was “the only one who can open the drum.” The camera was rolling, and Pati Falk stuck her hand deep down into the drum, pulled out two entries at first, and then dropped one back in. She opened the lucky one up, read all the questions—and the correct answers—off the child’s handwritten paper, and announced that the winner of the 200-Year-Old Coin Giveaway was Garrett Allen, an 8-year-old boy from Reno.

 Reno Chamber of Commerce draws the winning entry in the 200-year-old Coin Giveaway

Of course, we took tons of pictures of Pati Falk, the winning entry, and all the people gathered to observe the drawing. Even though it only took about an hour to execute the drawing, we’d been working on the event for about five months, and we were definitely satisfied with the result.

And now, here are Crystal’s thoughts on the giveaway:

When I first started working here at Southgate, the store was already 3 months into its “200-Year-Old Coin Giveaway,” and I received a run-down on what the giveaway was all about before I began processing many of the entries. I remember thinking it was so wonderful how this drawing was specifically geared toward children. This was not some standard giveaway, either. This giveaway was a mini-history lesson for kids; and whether these children won the coin or not, they would learn something valuable. However, I could not wait to see who the winner would be.

As the winner was announced on Tuesday, August 5, I could not help but feel pleased that such a young child, 8 years old, was chosen. He not only answered all the questions correctly, he also wrote out all the answers, himself. Now that’s an entry! Moreover, he’d just gotten his entry in—and I processed it—just one day before the deadline. What a lucky boy!

Thanks, Crystal. I’m pretty sure we all feel the same way!

Before we let all of our guests leave last Tuesday, we had one little thing left to do. Rusty got on speakerphone and called the winning entrant. It rang, and rang. Finally, a young boy picked up the phone, and told us that he was Garrett Allen’s older brother, Cole. We left a message for Garrett, letting him know that he’d won the giveaway contest. Our guests gradually filed out of the store.

About an hour later, I answered the phone, and heard a little boy’s voice say, “Hi... I think... I won your coin,” in true 8-year-old fashion. I asked if he was Garrett Allen, and when he said yes, I told him that he did, in fact, win our 200-year-old coin. He was very excited, and he and his mom said that they would be coming down that evening to claim their prize. All of us were excited that he was going to be there, and we wrote out questions to ask him when he arrived. We promptly called Carla Roccapriore (the RGJ reporter) back to the store so she could take some photos of the winner and interview him.

 Southgate Coins owners Rusty and Marie Goe pose with Garrett Allen and his prize

Sporting a tucked-in jersey and a Giant’s baseball cap, little Garrett was all smiles as we handed him the half dollar. He assured us that he was very responsible, and that he would keep it in a safe place, and not lose it. We interviewed him for almost an hour, and we have to say that he certainly was one of the most well-behaved 8-year-olds that we’ve ever met!

We finished the meeting with more pictures, and just to prove his love of coins, before Garrett left, he purchased a Wartime nickel from our coin case to add to his ever-growing collection.

Overall, I think that all the preparation was well worth the effort, and that Garrett Allen is one happy 8- (almost 9-) year-old. He has something that very few people will ever be privileged enough to see in their lifetime, and we know that he will take very good care of his new prize.

 Garrett proudly displays his prize coin at Southgate Coins

Thanks to everyone who sent in words of praise about our little giveaway. We really appreciate all of you, and we hope to continue teaching the youth in our area about history and coinage.

Hope everyone enjoyed it!

-Maya and Crystal