This elongated penny is well centered and has an unusual round logo within the crenulated border.
On the obverse is a representation of the Navy Pier building in Chicago, Illinois, surrounded by a circular border. The border looks a little bit like a life buoy (aka a life ring or round float) and encloses the legend “Navy Pier * Chicago”.
Source: Chicago, Illinois, at the Navy Pier in the spring of 2008.
Status of the Machine: Still in operation (as far as I know)
Host Coin: Lincoln cent (date and composition unknown)
Other details: I picked this up while in Chicago to take the State Department Written Exam for Foreign Service Officers. They only had the test in Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, LA, and New York City that year (if memory serves) and did not pay travel expenses. I guess they didn’t want anyone from the American Southwest applying.
Estimated Value: $0.51
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.