The Exchange : A brief history of elongated coins

A brief history of elongated coins

Anyone who has been a tourist or who has children has likely at one point come across an elongated coin. If elongated coin does not sound like a term you are familiar with, perhaps you recognize such alias names as pressed pennies, squished pennies, smashed pennies or rolled-out pennies. Many who purchase elongated coins see them as small and inexpensive souvenirs commonly purchased at museums, amusement parks, historical sites, and other visitor locations. In fact, the Money Museum has an elongated coin-making machine in the front lobby. These coins are not just inexpensive souvenirs; they have a history and are collected by coin collectors around the world. This type of coin collecting is called exonumia or novelty coin collecting.

 

The history of elongated coins dates back to 1893, when the first elongated coins were created at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Immediately, the coins gained popularity and remained popular until 1916. From 1917-1932 the popularity decreased, but after 1932 they began to reclaim their popularity, which has only increased throughout the years. The long history of elongated coins has led the coins to be categorized in three classes: Colloquially (1893-1965), Modern Elongateds (1966-1985), and Contemporary Elongateds (1986-present).

 1893 Expo

(Elongated Coin from the Columbian Exposition in 1893) 


Elongated coins are created when coins, tokens, medals or metal blanks are forced between two rollers that engrave on one or both sides of the roller and an incredible amount of pressure is exuded onto the metal. The average price to purchase a freshly created elongated coin ranges from 50 cents to $1.50. Rarer coins can be purchased from elongated penny dealers for $5-10. Additionally, private engravers make special elongated coins to commemorate historical events and personal highlights or celebrations. 

 

A question that comes up often regards the legality of producing elongated coins. The answer is yes, at least in the United States. U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 17, Section 331 prohibits the mutilation, diminution and falsification of United States coinage. However, the statute does not prohibit the mutilation of coins, if the mutilated coins are not used fraudulently or for profit from the base metal. Elongated coins are typically made as souvenir items, hence the mutilation is deemed as legal. When a business or location purchases an elongated coin machine, it must obtain a permit from the U.S. Mint.

 

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(Small sign located on the Penny Pincher machine at the Money Musuem)

 

Elongated coins can be appealing to any age range from children to hardcore coin collectors. There are thousands of these coins to collect, click here to view. Stop by the Money Museum located 818 N Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colo., to make a Money Museum elongate. 

 

 

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(Penny Pincher machine at the Money Musuem)

             

 

             

Written by Brandon Ortega at 00:00

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