This is the "Crossword" Card, a MEGA-RARE and truly a unique Starbucks Card. The highest price ever paid for any Starbucks Card to date happened on January 27th, 2011 and sold for a record $10,277.00.
This Card was given away to the winners of the "Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge" only." The first puzzle of The Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge appeared Sunday, February 19, in Starbucks in-store copies of The New York Times, and continued for six consecutive Sundays through March 26. Here's how it worked.
"Will Shortz - editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle and host of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament -- has created six weeks of crossword puzzles that will be available only in The New York Times newspapers sold at Starbucks locations nationwide."
That will be six special Sunday crosswords.
"Each crossword created for Starbucks is linked to coffeehouse experiences, featuring artists, musicians, painters, and others whose works were inspired at the coffeehouse of their time. The puzzles range from easy to moderate, with each week presenting a new thematic test of wit and wisdom, and a unique way to shake up your weekend crossword ritual with Starbucks."
"To win coffee for life, you must complete (and save) the puzzles each week. After the final puzzle, log onto www.starbucks.com/crossword to complete a virtual scavenger hunt, in which the answers are found in each week's puzzle. Once the clues are all answered online, a telephone number will appear, and the first correct respondent to the final question will win Starbucks coffee for life."
So it would seem that speed is of the essence for the final puzzle on March 26.
Winners received a letter much like the one below from Starbucks.
Congratulations! You were among an elite group of participants who successfully completed the Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge earlier this month. As one of the first five callers with the correct answer, we'd like to offer you a Starbucks Card loaded with $500!
This isn't just any Starbucks card either. This card was especially created for the Grand Prize and First Prize winners of the Challenge. It is one of only six cards with this special Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge Design. Use this card to enjoy some of your favorite Starbucks treats on us, or perhaps even invest in some new brewing equipment of your own.
We sincerely appreciate your participation in the Challenge. We hope you found the puzzles to be both challenging and fun. Whether you solved them on your own, or as part of a team, we hope this contest encouraged you to connect with others and share your experience.
The Card was issued without a Matching Sleeve.
Collectors Note: eBay auction ending on January 27th, 2011 ( 170593325668 ), the first to show up in the secondary market, sold for the highest price for a Starbucks Card to date - $10,277.00!! As predicted, because of the VERY short run of Cards made, it will fetch top dollar! One private sale fetched $2,800 around August 2006. One individual that has one of the 6 Cards was offered $4,000 for his June 2007.
For those that tried to obtain this Card from Starbucks, this was their official response to emails. "Unfortunately, the "Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge" Starbucks Card is a unique design only available to the winners of the challenge. I appreciate your interest and apologize for any inconvenience."