Elongated US Penny
Michigan State Numismatic Society (MSNS) - Ray Dillard, President 1997-1998
Designer: Raymond W Dillard. Rolled on a 1996 zinc penny.
IN VERY GOOD CONDITION IN A LABELLED 2" x 2" MYLAR
About Elongated Coins
are coins that have been flattened, stretched and imprinted with a new
design with the purpose of creating a commemorative or souvenir token. The
collecting of elongated coins is a branch of numismatics. Elongated coins can
also be categorized as exonumia. Elongated coins are also referred to
as pressed, squished, stretched, flattened, mashed, smashed, and rolled.
The first elongated
coins in the United
States were created at the World's Columbian
Exposition in Chicago, Illinois held in 1893. Several designs were
issued to commemorate the fair, and such coins can still be found in
circulation in the elongated coin collecting community today.
The earliest elongated
coin designer on record is Charles Damm, who created the design for the
elongated coins available at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New
The most well-known
and prolific engraver is Frank Brazell. Brazell died in the early 1990s, but
many of his designs are still being rolled today. He helped establish many
rollers (those who roll elongated coins) in their businesses. Another of the
most famous engravers is Jim Dundon of Florida. His designs, and
those of his son, James, can be found across the USA and further afield.
The hobby of
collecting elongated coins has expanded throughout the United States and the world. Most modern coin elongating
machines can be found in museum or landmark gift shops, souvenir stores, zoos,
amusement parks and other locations of this kind. Private engravers make
special-issue elongated coins to commemorate historical events, personal
landmarks (such as marriage or birth of a child), or other events warranting
celebration. They also design elongated coins for private clubs and
An early and common
method of coin elongation was smashing pennies by leaving them on a railroad
track. When a train rolls over a penny, the force is sufficient to cause
plastic deformation that flattens and stretches it into an oval, showing
only the faintest trace of the original design.
Modern elongated coins
are created by inserting a standard, small denomination coin into a small
rolling mill consisting of two steel rollers pressed against each other with
sufficient force to deform the coin. One of the rollers (called the
"die") is engraved with a design that imprints a new image into the
metal as the coin passes through it. The resulting coin is oval-shaped and
shows a design corresponding to the design on the die in the mill.
Generally, in the USA, pennies are used in
these machines, as they are thin, easy to mutilate, and are the smallest
denomination of American money. Prior to 1982, US pennies were made entirely of
copper and these remain the best coins to use in elongated penny machines. Post
1982 USA pennies have a zinc core with copper plating.
The stretching process can reveal the zinc, leaving the penny with a
two-tone look. Zinc pennies (known as zincers) are also lighter and can be bent
more easily when elongated. They are less desirable among collectors.
In the US, it is also common to
find machines capable of rolling nickels, dimes and quarters.
The process of
creating elongated coins is legal in the United
States, Japan, South
Africa, the UK and other parts of Europe. In the USA, US Code Title 18,
Chapter 17, Section 331 prohibits "the mutilation, diminution and
falsification of United States coinage." The foregoing statute, however,
does not prohibit the mutilation of coins if the coins are not used
fraudulently (ie with the intention of creating counterfeit coinage). Because
elongated coins are made mainly as souvenirs, mutilation for this purpose is
legal. While it is no longer illegal in the UK to mutilate the image of the Queen, it is
still illegal in Canada. There, blank planchets,
slugs or US pennies are occasionally used, though this law is often ignored
both by the users of the machine and law enforcement. This method is also often
used in countries, such as Australia, who do
not have a penny or equivalent coin. (Wikipedia)