McDonald's Unveils MacCoin to Celebrate Big Mac's 50th Birthday

The Big Mac is turning 50, and McDonald's is celebrating with the release of its own limited edition currency.

Starting at the lunch rush on Thursday, August 2, customers visiting the Golden Arches can receive a MacCoin — a limited edition global currency backed by the Big Mac — with the purchase of a Big Mac at 14,000 participating restaurants across the United States and thousands more across the globe. Customers can then redeem the MacCoins for a free Big Mac starting Friday and running through end of 2018.

"Since it was introduced at a family-owned McDonald's restaurant 50 years ago, the Big Mac has traversed the globe and is enjoyed in cities from Shangahi to Chicago, providing delicious, feel good moments to people all over the world," McDonald's President and CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a release. "So we wanted a global celebration as unique as the burger itself. The MacCoin transcends currencies to commemorate our global iconic burger while giving customers all over the world a chance to enjoy a Big Mac on us."

The MacCoin, inspired by the Big Mac Index published by The Economist, which serves as a measurement the purchasing power of different international currencies year after year, will come in five unique designs representing each decade that the Big Mac has been in existence. The '70s coin will showcase the decades flower power, while the '80s version alludes to pop art and the '90s coin is defined with bold, abstract shapes. The '00s MacCoin focuses on the technology that was at the forefront of the turn of the century and the '10s MacCoin calls attention to the evolution of communication.

"When my great-grandfather Jim Delligatti invented the Big Mac at his grill in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, he just wanted to make his local customers happy," said Nick Delligatti, fourth-generation McDonald's owner-operator and great-grandson of Jim Delligatti, the inventor of the Big Mac. "August 2 would have been my great-grandfather's 100th birthday, and I believe he would be very proud knowing his humble sandwich has made such a lasting impression that people all around the world can enjoy it wherever they find a McDonald's."

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Since its 1968 debut, the iconic burger has risen to sell more than 550 million every year, quickly cementing its place as one of the most popular fast food menu items in the world. In 2007, the Big Mac Museum Restaurant was established in North Huntington, Pennsylvania, debuting a giant Big Mac sculpture that is 14 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter.