Pressed Pennies and Quarters
FOR A LIST OF THE LOCATIONS OF PRESSED COIN MACHINES AROUND THE WDW RESORT, VISIT DISNEYWORLD.COM AND SEARCH FOR ELONGATED COINS.
What are pressed pennies and quarters?
Pressed pennies and quarters, sometimes referred to as “elongated coins” by coin collectors (or “exonumia” if you’re a fancy numismatic) are coins that have been run through a special machine that literally presses them while imprinting them with a new design. In the process the coins stretch into a longer, thinner, oval shape. These penny- and quarter-press machines are scattered all around Walt Disney World, and many other tourist attractions around the world for that matter, and produce the perfect inexpensive, easy-to-carry souvenir.
The earliest elongated coins in this country date back to 1893 and were issued to commemorate the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. They were made by metal rollers and a die engraved with a design in a process not unlike that used in the Walt Disney World machines today. While some machines may be automated, the machines around Walt Disney World are operated by a hand-crank — you insert your coins into the machine, then turn the handle and watch the gears rotate as your penny or quarter is transformed into an oval bearing Mickey Mouse or some other Disney-themed character or icon.
Pressed pennies require two quarters and the penny that will be converted (51 cents total). Pressed quarters require five quarters ($1.25)
Because elongated coins are primarily made as souvenirs, this “mutilation” is totally legal. Breathe easy!
PRESSED COIN TIPS:
*Use older pennies (pre-1982) if you can. They look better when pressed. This is because the older pennies don’t include zinc. Zinc can cause silver-colored streaking in the copper.
*Bring coins with you rather than searching for them when you’re at Walt Disney World. Finding a change machine anywhere on property can be difficult and takes the fun out of collecting.
*Clean your coins before leaving home using either silver cleaner, vinegar or some other commercial cleaning product. This will give a great-looking finished product.
*Carry your coins in rolls, or use plastic mini-M & M’s canisters — just be sure to tape them closed or they might pop open when they bounce around in your luggage.
*If you have a lot of change, put the coins in checked airline baggage rather than your carry-on bag. Airport security might stop you if your bags or rolls of coins show up on their scans, and besides, they’re heavy! Whatever you do, don’t carry the coins in your pockets — that will definitely set off the airport scanners.
*Purchase the specially designed souvenir books to store and protect your pressed coins. You’ll find them in stores at the parks and resorts. They hold many coins and make a nice way to display them. They can make a nice gift when filled with coins you personally made for friends.
*Check the machines each time you visit because they’re always adding new ones.
*If you want to know where the machines are before you go on your trip, there are websites that provide the information — even the official Walt Disney World site lists the locations (do a search on “pressed pennies” or “elongated coins”).
(with special thanks to Rose F., who originally wrote about Pressed Coins for AllEars® many years ago.)
READERS TIPS AND IDEAS:
Most theme park gift shops and other shopping locations sell books specifically designed to hold your newly pressed coins. (Bonnie Corso)
It’s best to use older pennies in the pressed penny machines. Starting in the middle of 1982, the US Mint switched from copper pennies to zinc pennies with a thin layer of copper. When you put these pennies through the pressed penny machine, you get a kind of “marble cake” appearance with the zinc sometimes peeking through. Some people like this effect, but I prefer to search through my pennies and find the older ones to use. (John Hayes)
The images on new shiny pennies are a lot clearer than old used pennies! So I suggest you roll up your pennies and head right to the bank to exchange for a brand new roll! (Cathy)
Some people like the shine of the new pennies, but not the zinc that may show through. Some like the old copper, but they usually lack the shine. What I do is soak my old copper pennies in some vinegar and that shines them up quite a bit. Not quite as shiny as a brand new penny, but it turns them from that brown color to more of a copper color. Try it! (Debbie)
Actually if you have a little silver cleaner around the house, your older pennies will shine up nice and new with a soft cloth and a little elbow grease. (nkes)
When my husband suggested we collect pressed pennies on our first trip with our kids, I thought it was lame, but it was wonderful. Our girls were 2 and 4 and couldn’t read yet, so the pennies were much more fun (and easier to collect) than autographs. Our girls (typical for their age) thought shopping was as much fun as the park itself. Pressed pennies were a great distraction in shops as many have machines. I could look around while the three of them collected pennies. You can pick up a pressed penny locator list at Guest Relations at each park. The list will tell you where the machines are and describe the presses as well. The machines are located in all the resorts as well as Disney Springs. Pennies from the parks have the park name on it. Some presses are commemorative and available only for a short period of time. This is one of my favorite part of our trips. My husband loves to go and see anything we haven’t seen before in WDW and our penny collection is a chronological walk back through our trip. (Ginny Brown)