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Sesquicentennial merchandise a hit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mugs, hats, T-shirts, license plates and other merchandise celebrating West Virginia's 150th anniversary are a hit.

The state Department of Commerce sold 1,863 T-shirts, 1,000 key chains, 750 coffee mugs, 396 water bottles and 256 hats at a tent set up at the Capitol during last week's three-day celebration.

"The sales were just crazy,'' department spokeswoman Andrea Bond told the Charleston Daily Mail.

Another 30 shirts, 20 hats and 25 coffee mugs have been sold on the website www.wvscenics.com since it came online earlier this week.

"They should be a collectors' item someday,'' Bond said.

A limited-edition silver coin marking the Sesquicentennial sold out within 12 hours of its debut on May 19.

Division of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Natalie Harvey said 9,000 West Virginians have signed up so far for the state's limited-edition Sesquicentennial license plate, which features navy blue letters and numbers over a golden background of the state seal and a map of West Virginia.

The DMV, which ordered 70,000 plates, sold 33 last Saturday at its tent at the Capitol.

"We were able to do that right on-site,'' she said.

Other people who stopped by the tent asked questions and said they planned to buy the plates at their regional DMV office.

"It certainly raised awareness of the plate,'' she said.

Harvey said West Virginia motorists still have time to obtain the plate.

The U.S. Postal Service's Forever Stamp, released last Thursday, which commemorates West Virginia's 150th anniversary, is another hot item. Postal service workers sold the stamp last Thursday and Saturday at the Culture Center.

"The lines were literally out the door,'' Postal Service spokeswoman Cathy Yarosky said. "They are going to be, I can already tell, very popular.''

The Postal Service does not release sales numbers for its products. But Yarosky said the West Virginia stamp is already popular among philatelists.

The stamp features a Pocahontas County sunrise captured by photographer Roger Spence.


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