Secrets of souvenir coins: History and technique of penny pressing

By Tychyna TetianaDec 23, 2023 07:31 AMNews
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Secrets of souvenir coins: History and technique of penny pressing
Coins. Source: Pixabay

Visitors to many amusement parks and zoos know that you can find special machines for small metal money in certain places. The principle of their operation is simple: you put small coins into the machine along with your fee.

Eventually, you can see the machine flatten the coin and add a picture for an instant souvenir. They are extremely affordable, portable, easy to store, and tell a story about your travels, Simplemost writes.

Moreover, there is even an entire website dedicated to these amazing coins: PennyCollector.com. You can check the location of penny vending machines in every region of the many countries around the world.

However, not everyone knows some little-known facts about pressed coins. It is well known that such souvenirs have been around for two centuries. The first souvenir coins were made by a Viennese jeweller in Austria in 1818. The first penny press was a manual jewellery mill.

Secrets of souvenir coins: History and technique of penny pressing
Pressing of souvenir coins. Source: Pixabay

At the same time, pressed pennies made their American debut at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. There were four designs, each dedicated to the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America.

The principle of making souvenir coins is quite simple: they are clamped between two rollers. One of the rollers has an engraved surface. While one roller flattens and lengthens the coin, the other presses a custom design into it.

Experts know that the darker colour of the copper and zinc used to mint the coins allows for a more distinctive design. In fact, old pennies are best suited for this process because at that time, pennies consisted of 95% copper.

Secrets of souvenir coins: History and technique of penny pressing
Coin production. Source: Pixabay

Disneyland Amusement Park has over 150 different commemorative images that can be stamped on small coppers. Coin machines can be found throughout the parks, as well as in all 3 hotels at the Disneyland Resort.

Not everyone may know it, but there is an official name for coin collectors. People who collect pennies are called exonumists. Exonumia is a collection of items related to money that are not intended for circulation, such as tokens or coins in salaries. There are clubs and groups of exonumists, as well as coin traders who buy and sell certain pieces.

At the same time, not all countries allow the production of souvenir coins from the real ones. For example, in Canada, it is forbidden to deface coins. You can buy metal blanks to use in presses instead.

Collectors know that some souvenir coins can be valuable. If you've been collecting minted coins for years or have inherited someone else's coin collection, you may want to look into their value and be pleasantly surprised.

We would like to add that many souvenir coins have a series of letters near the narrow end of the coin. These are the initials of those involved in the coin's creation, such as the designer, the original engraver, or the roll manufacturer.

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