States of the Union
Instant Winner

Two scarce key game coins (more accurately 'medallions').
Top: Hawaii - $1.00 instant winner.
Bottom: New Mexico - 50-States bronze medal set instant winner.

States of the Union Coin Game - Version 1

Shell’s States of the Union Coin Game, Version 1 was a collect-and-win promotional game released by Shell Oil Company in 1969. Version 1 was distinctly different from Version 2 which you can see here.

In this game, players received a game piece with every visit to a Shell gas station. In the opaque packet was an aluminum coin with one of the fifty states on it. You placed your coin on a game card and tried to collect all the states in one section of the card in which case you won the prize indicated for that section. If your medallion had INSTANT WINNER on the back you won a prize determined by the state on the front - up to $5,000!

You could only win two things in Version 1 of Shell’s States of the Union Coin Game; cash or a beautiful 50-state medal set struck in bronze. Cash prizes were $1, $5, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000.

The aluminum game medallions and the bronze states prize sets were both produced by The Franklin Mint in 1969.

Version 1 of Shell's States of the Union game was released in some parts of the country while Version 2 was released in others. The two games ran concurrently. In fact, four Shell Oil promotional games ran concurrently; Mr. President Coin Game, Famous Facts and Faces, States of the Union Version 1 and States of the Union Version 2. None of them ran at the same time in the same region, but some regions saw two or three of these games in rapid succession in 1968 and 1969.

When released in a region it ran for three to five months then ended. The game pieces were interesting and fun to collect and there are millions of the common game coins still around. The prize-winning key coins are hard to find and, for some, may no longer exist. Therefore, assembling a set of the aluminum game pieces - all fifty states- may be impossible.

States of the Union

Typical aluminum game piece showing the common reverse design.

The Game Pieces

Manufacturer: The Franklin Mint in 1969
Composition: Aluminum
Diameter: 26mm
Edge: Reeded
Obverse Designs: 50
Reverse Designs: 2
Total Different Medallions: 50
Packaging: Plastic capsules with a paper cover (see below)
Quantity Produced: Unknown.

Below: Front and back of the common version of the game card onto which you placed your game coins. If you filled any of the game sections you won the indicated prize. These game cards were given away free at Shell gas stations.
States of the Union Game Card
States of the Union Game Card

The Prizes

There were two prizes in this game.
1) Cash in the amounts of $1, $5, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000.
2) A bronze medal set with all fifty state medals. This set came in a white envelope which contained the medals, a cardboard mounting board, and an informational pamphlet on all fifty states. The game pieces and medals were produced by The Franklin Mint.

The prizes were won either by collecting all the states in a section of the game card, or by receiving an INSTANT WINNER game token. There are seventeen key, prize-winning state tokens and the prizes they won are shown in the following table.

$5,000DelawarePart of a Group
$1,000IdahoInstant Winner
$1,000TennesseePart of a Group
$500WyomingInstant Winner
$500ArkansasPart of a Group
$100UtahInstant Winner
$100IowaPart of a Group
$50OklahomaInstant Winner
$50KansasPart of a Group
$5ArizonaInstant Winner
$5NebraskaPart of a Group
$1North DakotaPart of a Group
$1MontanaPart of a Group
$1AlaskaInstant Winner
$1HawaiiInstant Winner
50-State Bronze SetMississippiPart of a Group
50-State Bronze SetNew MexicoInstant Winner

Below: Other than cash, the 'States of the Union' fifty-state set of medals, struck in bronze, was the only other prize in the game. This set was produced by The Franklin Mint and came in an envelope with the medals, a cardbord display to mount the medals, and an informational pamphlet with details about all fifty states. This prize is similar to the prize awarded in Version 2 of the game (which you can see here).
States of the Union Prize
Below: This is the envelope that the bronze medal set came in.
States of the Union Coin Game
Below: This is the informational pamphlet that came with the bronze prize set.
States of the Union Instant Winner
Below: These are the plastic capsules that the game coins were packaged in.
States of the Union Packets
Below: Newspaper ad in the Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), 9/15/1969.
States of the Union Newspaper
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