Three hundred million new Washington dollars were ready to blanket the country on the first day of issue Feb. 15, and some banks and dealers were ready to distribute them.
Whether many people will want them is another matter.
Some banks contacted Feb. 14 said they had the first of the Presidential dollars in stock and ready to distribute on the official release date.
Coin wholesaler Julian Jarvis, of Greencastle, Ind., said on Feb. 14 that he had 50,000 of the dollars preordered by his customers.
?My bank has had them for 10 days, but I can?t pick them up until tomorrow (Feb. 15),? he said. ?They did let me in to look at them, though. They?re in $1,000 boxes ? 25-piece rolls and 40 rolls to a box. not releasing until Feb. 15.?
He said smaller retail coin stores are skeptical of how the Presidential dollars will go over.
?There are some who are ordering 1,000 to 5,000, and some who are saying that one roll of each is enough to start with.?
Renate Marek, vice president of BankNewport, of Newport, R.I., said a few customers have been asking about the coins, but not nearly to the extent of the state quarters series.
?We have ordered some of the dollars, but there really hasn?t been much of a request for them,? she said. ?We get them from the Federal Reserve Bank out of Boston, and they aren?t telling us when the dollars will arrive. They just show up.?
Betsy Hull, a customer service supervisor for California Bank Trust, Fresno, Calif., said she has received several inquiries about the coin?s release in the past few weeks.
?I don?t know exactly when we will be getting them,? she said. ?We haven?t had any notification yet from our cash vault. I don?t think we?ll have them this week.?
Hull said her bank branch does not have the option of ordering the coins.
?The main office just sends us whatever,? she said. ?Like the quarters, we just get random amounts. We usually just get one box and then it?s first come, first served.?
Jarvis said he doesn?t see any signs that the coins will circulate.
?They will not be able to get people to use them,? he said. ?People tend to empty their pockets at night and start with bills the next morning.?
He said the release of the Presidential dollar is already having an effect on Sacagawea dollars.
?For every three Presidential dollars, there has to be one Sacagawea. Banks are refusing to order them. I know one bank that only ordered 200 pieces.?