The Presidential Inaugural Committee Requests the Honor of Your Presence ¦ by Way of Copper and Steel

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Reported in the New York Times, New York-based printing firm Precise Continental was awarded to make the million invitations for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. Engraving was the type of printing by which the invitation’s design was incised into the surface of a hard plate, traditionally copper, by a hardened steel chisel called a burin. To make a print, the engraved plate was then fully covered with ink which was afterwards wiped off the surface, leaving only ink in the engraved lines. Sheets of paper picked up the ink within the engraved lines, resulting in a printed design. As you can tell, engraving takes steady hands. Engraver Augusto Lovato is Precise Continental’s steady-handed man, with a magnifying glass, scrutinized the copper plate and expertly cleaned the serifs and curls of the invites’s lettering. Each sheet of paper was individually fed with clean hands during the printmaking process. With metal playing a key supporting part from the start, the inaugural ceremony’s invites were handled with both precision and care.

Nate Burgos

Comments (30)

  1. Nancy Stuart says:

    Yesterday, January 7th, I received one of these engraved invitations. It will be framed. The accompanying letter indicates that I am invited to all public events and no tickets were enclosed. Does anyone know anything about these invitations and what benefit, if any, there is to having one (aside from framing.)?
    Any info would be appreciated.

  2. Nate says:

    Congratulations Nancy on receiving a historic invite to a historic event! Try contacting Jim Donnelly, President, of Precise Continental at 718-484-2001 or Maybe he might have info or could point you in the right direction. Thanks for your comment and question.

  3. Johnson O. says:

    well.. i guess i will be contacting them as well. this morning i received an invite, im not sure what to do with it, mine also came with no tickets, not sure if the actual paper with the seal is the actual ticket.. tomorrow morning i will call and see whats going on.. thanks Nate.

  4. ChrlsAngl says:

    Okay, so I’m in good company. I too recieved and offical Inaugural Invitation in the mail today, but without tickets. I have emailed Jim Donnelly at the printing company as suggested by Nate. I’ll repost if I get a response back with information. Please do the same for me via my email.

  5. Amy says:

    Did Johnson O or Nancy Stuart get aanywhere? I am wondering what to do with this letter.

  6. nan says:

    I received one today. I thought it was a promotion of some kind. Didn’t take it as an actual invitation. to my knowledge the neighborhood ball is already free and I can’t find any definition of “public “ball.

  7. A.M says:

    If you read the invitation closely, it will say you are invited to attend all public events. (Sorry, that doesn’t mean you have tickets to anything!)

  8. Laura Miller says:

    Same here – I got one of these in the mail yesterday and have no idea what I’m supposed to do with it. Just tried the number above and it went to voicemail. Guess I’ll send the guy and email and see where to go from there!

  9. George Kinser says:

    Ok, we got one too. Nice to look at, but no tickets. Hmmmm…. My wife and I had tickets to the Chicago, Grant Park event on election day. They were actual tickets and got us into the event. They were very difficult to obtain (we did a lot of out of state door knocking). This letter is, I think, just what it says…an invitation to all public events, which I don’t think you need an invitation to…

  10. Kathleen says:

    Seems more like a nice marketing piece because they give you lots of items to purchase, if you want to commemorate the event. It’s beautiful, though!

  11. Ally J says:

    hey I got through and spoke with Mr. Donnelly.
    I asked about the special invitation, and was told “It is a special commemorative invitiation, just for keepsake. If you got one, you are lucky, not everyone got one.”

  12. Marijean says:

    I have one also which I intend to frame. Who got these? it says above a million were printed. Was it donors, volunteers? Anyone know?

  13. CSJR says:

    I got one as well. Jim respondended to my email stating that it was a commemorative for the inauguration. I think they could have eliminated all the buzz and confusion by just telling us that. I would still charish it just as much.

  14. Donna says:

    We got one too today in MD – they are strictly commerative. Just a lottery to who got them. Conressman’s office said they are strictly commerative and technically we are invited to all public events. To get into the actual inauguration, you need tickets – but they are not physical tickets. Your name is on a list that they will verify the morning of the inaguration. If you receive tickets – you will be notified by your congressman or senator via mail.

  15. Judy Lynn Clark Ferguson says:


  16. Cam says:

    I got one too! I am going to frame it!

  17. Brigida Banfelder says:

    I received an “invitation” by mail on Saturday and of course I am so thrilled even it it is just a memento and millions of other people got one just like it. I love Obama and maybe because I volunteered for the dems, I got it in the mail. I also contributed to his campaign.

  18. Lara says:

    I got mine today. It’s lovely and frameworthy, and only one in a million! 😉 I too volunteered and contributed, so either could have gotten me on that list…

  19. darryl says:

    I got one today and knew it was just shill for the inserts that came with, selling pillows, throw rugs, medallions, etc.

    Not too special if millions of people got them.

    To get into anything you must have to be from Chicago or attended Harvard.

  20. VAL says:

    Well, I am disappointed that I didn’t get an actual invitation. I also recieved the commemorable invite but it seems that it was another way to solicit money from us people who donate during the campaign. I thought If he won I would weather the crowds and go but now I feel that just being in the crowd isn’t enough for me. So I’ll just stay home and watch.

  21. Joyce says:

    Yes, they are real folks. I compared it to my boss’ invite from 1981 and the lettering and seal are the same. I believe the invites went out to most people who may have worked/volunteered during either the Primary or General Election campaigns. And also may have gone to people living in pivotal states. I just suggest framing it because how many times have you received an invitation of for an inauguration fake real or otherwise.

  22. Chris Rath says:

    we got a good leader in office and I bet he wants us all to come, if you didnt get yours I will give you mine.

  23. Andre' says:

    I too recieved an invite. Im dissapointed that it is not an actual invite to an event that Obama himself will be attending. Never the less, I will cherish this keep sake.
    I guess I was one fo the lucky one’s…..
    How are those invites being distributed? If not to the individuals who put hard work into the campaign, then who?

  24. Sam says:

    One in a million chance of a lifetime. I got two invites to the public affairs. Love the commemorative invitation and will be in the public crowd.

  25. Janet says:

    I also received the invitation and thought it was real. A letter of explanation should have been included. I also saw it on The View. Barbara & Whoopi stated seats section was set aside for people receiving these invitations. Which they thought was for 100.

  26. Jill says:

    Mine was destroyed by mistake, anyone know how I can replace it ?

  27. Mary says:

    I am honored to have received one even if it is just commerative. I did meet and shake Barack’s hand in Orlando back in May and also gave him a mustard seed pin with a personal handwritten note and my name and address attached so maybe that is how I was put on a list. I have a framed photo of that encounter on my wall and an autographed book that he signed that same evening so this is one more thing to complete my Shrine. And, of course, all are things to pass on to my three grandchildren someday!

  28. Franklin Delano R. Jackson says:

    Yes, I received one and am delighted. I will frame mine and hang it on my wall at the University in Virginia wher I am working.

    President (elect) Obama has made me so very proud. We will work with him to assist in actualizing his positive message of hope and transformation. May God guide and protect him.

  29. Franklin Delano R. Jackson says:

    Great! I appreciate being considered. Obama will do well. The world is expecting him to be “Friendlt, Fair, Frank, Faithful, and Firm.”


  30. Karl Gillette says:

    I saw mr Donnelly on news this morning where he was explaining how no tax $ used to pay for these useless trinkets ,it was paid for out of the inaug fund CHANGE INDEED

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