Quirk of the Month: Penny Smasher

Whatever you prefer to call it—penny smasher, coin smasher, penny squisher, coin press, or penny pincher, among many other things—it refers to that novelty machine found in amusement parks and tourist spots that melt and roll your penny into an engraved souvenir called the elongated coin.

Yes, as you would’ve guessed, I am a sucker for penny smashers. During my recent trip to Hong Kong, I got a Tinkerbell design for HK$10 in Disneyland. When I placed it in my coin collection album, I realized I’ve collected 21 elongated coins since my first Disneyland Anaheim trip in the ’80s.

left: Mickey nickel from Disneyland Anaheim; right: Tinkerbell coin from Disneyland Hong Kong

That’s not much, if you consider that there are serious collectors out there. In fact, Google has led me to sites such as pressedpenny.com and pennycollector.com, where hobbyists can order penny passport collector books and read tips about keeping their beloved coins in shiny tip-top shape for decades to come.

While I plan to keep spending my money in penny smashers around the world, I have no interest in going hardcore (e.g., penny conventions and historical studies of elongated coins.)

Now check out my collection, which began in the ’80s.

clockwise from top left: Back to the Future from Universal Studios Hollywood, Rugrats from Universal Studios Hollywood, Dumbo from Disnleyland Anaheim, and Finding Nemo from Disnleyland Anaheim 
clockwise from top left: Flounder of Little Mermaid, Ariel of Little Mermaid, Lady and The Tramp, and Mickey Mouse, all from Disneyland Ahaheim
clockwise from top left: M&Ms Store at Las Vegas, Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco, Race For Atlantis at Las Vegas, and Excalibur at Las Vegas
clockwise from top left: Queen Mary at Long Beach California, Knott’s Berry Farm, Sea World California, and Magic Mountain
clockwise from top left: USS Enterprise, Jurassic Park, King Kong and Star Trek, all from Universal Studios Hollywood

Do you have a personal collection as well? Send me a link to your gallery!

January 19, 2012