I see a need for a Ceremony Release designation for coins/medals obtained at an US Mint coin/medal release day ceremony. Why? Because I was there! I was not there 30-days after the fact (designation criteria for Early or First Release labels).
I was in attendance to support the celebration of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Release Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore Maryland at 11:00 am on the morning of March 5, 2012.
The ceremony was both a revisit of my past US history lessons and renewed celebration of our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, as penned by Francis Scott Key as he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships.
The ceremony also celebrated the release of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins. After the ceremony ended, the US Mint workers began selling these commemorative coins to ceremony attendees. Roughly, 25 minutes before the US Mint internet sales began at noon.
I purchased each commemorative coin in person: An uncirculated silver $1, a proof silver $1, an uncirculated gold $5 and a proof gold $5. I also stood in line to get each US Mint COA signed and dated by Daniel Shaver, Chief Counsel of the United States Mint, who officially represented the US Mint at the ceremony. The four signed/dated US Mint COAs authenticates my purchase on March 5, 2012. Mr. Shaver also signed and dated four celebration certificates attesting that I was at the ceremony when I made the coin purchase.(See image below - signatures redacted to prevent forgeries)
The next day, I read an article in the Baltimore Sun indicating that the US Mint sold all of its ceremony gold coin inventory within a hour after the ceremony ended. The ceremony gold coin inventory was a mere 16 pieces. As for the ceremony silver coin inventory, the US Mint sold roughly half of its 400 ceremony inventory.
Today, I look at my newly acquired Star-Spangled Banner commemorative coin set with pride. I have 2 of the 16 gold coins from the release day ceremony. I also have 2 of the 400 silver coins from the release day ceremony. I have the proper documents authenticating these commemorative coins as ceremony release. More importantly, I was there! I really did attend and experience the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Release Day ceremony.
So for those seeking Early or First Release designation for the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins you have 27 days left as of this writing. Also, please visit Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine within your 27-day deadline period.
It should be noted that its estimated that only six 4-coin ceremony release sets could have been assembled. So now the search begins for the owners of the remaining five ceremony release sets.
In closing, I have posed the question to NGC in allowing my set to be designated as Ceremony Release. No word from them yet.