This elongated penny shows a pathway over the San Antonio River with a tour boat chugging along underneath. It is pressed onto a penny, and the design takes up about 75% of the surface.
Source: A penny press machine along the San Antonio riverwalk in Texas c. 2006. The River Walk is a touristy area with lots of TexMex restaurants, ice cream shops, and bars.
Status of the Machine: Still in operation (as far as I know)
Host Coin: post 1982 Lincoln cent
Other details: This elongate is on a post 1982 penny, which means that it has a high zinc content. Crushing the Lincoln cent exposed the zinc, which has lead to some minor corrosion.
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.