This elongated nickel is from the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in Key West, Florida.
On the obverse, it shows a Padaung woman with rings stretching her neck. Kinda ironic, on an elongated coin, right? Robert Riple’ys signature is at the 12:00 on the tip of the long side of the coin. The bottom of the coin says “Key West”.
The reverse is plain, with very little trace of the original coin (a nickel or a quarter).
Source: A penny pressing machine at the Key West Odditorium.
Status of the Machine: Still in operation (as far as I know)
Host Coin: Jefferson nickel (circa 2000)
Other details: The long-necked Paduang women are famed for their giraffe necks. They achieve this effect by putting bronze rings around their necks at a young age and gradually adding more to stretch out their necks. Unfortunately, they can’t take the rings off because their necks are too weak to support the weight of their heads.
The tradition is dying off because young Padaung women don’t want to be treated like tourist attractions.
Estimated Value: $0.55
What are elongated coins?
This souvenir piece was made by crushing a coin against a die in a rolling mill. High pressure causes the host coin to deform and take on the shape of the die, although some details often remain. The rolling mills often have designs on just one side, although 2 sided designs are fairly common. These pieces have various names – they are known as elongates, pressed coins, squashed pennies, or flattened coins, elongated cents, or stretched coins.
The first elongates were made at the 1892 World’s Fair in Chicago. Since then, coin pressing machines have appeared at many locations all around the world. They are commonly found at tourist attractions and feature patterns evocative of a location or activity (ie; the Seattle Space Needle or Playing Cards in Las Vegas).
Coin pressing machines come in various designs. Many are powered by a hand crank, although there are also automatic machines with electric motors that can get pretty fancy. Most cost 51 cents to operate (including the price of the penny that’s being pressed).
Pennies, Dimes, Nickels, Quarters, and various foreign coins have been used as hosts through the years. Pennies are probably the most common, but it seems like quarters are rising in popularity.