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Eaglet Takes to the Wilds
April 14, 2008

It likely won't have an impact on the ultimate sales totals for the Bald Eagle commemorative coins being sold this year, but the Mint nonetheless deserves applause for a public relations feat on behalf of the program.

Country music singer Dolly Parton participated April 10 in the release of an eaglet by the American Eagle Foundation at Douglas Lake near the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.

Not to denigrate the appeal of the star, but coin collectors are a stubborn bunch. They make up their own minds. They don't easily get stampeded into doing something by noncollectors.

Fortunately, the coin program is an appealing one. Eagle images have appeared on the coins of the United States since the U.S. Mint opened. Some looked scrawny. Some looked majestic. Some, such as the one on the Bridgeport, Conn., commemorative looked positively supersonic. But, hey, showman P.T. Barnum is on the other side. What other kind of eagle would have suited him?

Collectors like our national emblem. They have strong attachments to the images and strong opinions about how they look. They probably are pleased to be joined in this appreciation by Parton.

The Bald Eagle program adds some new renditions that collectors seem happy with. Roughly half the silver dollars and $5 gold pieces have been sold. Perhaps all of the coins will sell out by the end of the year.

Whether they sell out or not, the appearance of Dolly Parton in a related event creates a long-lasting positive memory of the program that we will be recalling for many years as we write about it in the future.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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