One Liberty Observation – Philadelphia, PA

Quick disclaimer: I wrote about this trip and had it published in the April-June 2016 TEC Newsletter.  I have tweaked it a little bit so it wasn’t exactly the same as what I had written for TEC.  For anyone not currently a member what are you waiting for?  These are the type of articles you can read about in the newsletter each quarter.  We have a lot of fabulous members with really great stories and tips you just won’t find anywhere else.  This is the only time I’m going to post the same adventure here and in the newsletter, and I hope TEC will forgive me for giving a free sample.  I really just wanted to give you an example of what you can expect when you become a member.  Sign up today so you don’t miss the next issue.

On a side note I was the second runner-up in this years design contest (patting myself on the back, I’m a really terrible artist but had fun designing). Congratulations to Jason Armstrong for his winning design I can’t wait to receive my pressed copy in the mail.  See all the fun your missing by not being a member.


I was in Philadelphia the other day on business which was right near their city hall.  When my meeting was over I asked my hosts if there was anywhere good to eat nearby.  They then asked if I had ever gone up to the observation floor in One Liberty Place that was just a few blocks away.  I said that I had not and didn’t even know about it, which immediately got them all riled up and they insisted I go before leaving the city.

One Liberty Place

How could I say no.  With some time to spare we made the short walk over and as you can see from the picture above this is a beautiful building.  It’s filled with office space as usual, but also has a shops and a food court on the lower levels.

One Liberty Observation 12

As you walk up there is a separate entrance for the Observation deck, and there are numerous staff members around to ensure you don’t get lost.  There is a fee which isn’t too bad, but I promise you will forget all about it once at the top.

One Liberty Observation 02

The picture above shows the elevator coming back down from the 57th floor, and would be our ride up to the top.  Being that my visit was in the middle of the week and in the early afternoon there weren’t many people here which was kind of nice.

One Liberty Observation 05

After the quick elevator ride (there’s a video you get to watch so you forget how high you are going), we walked out onto the observation floor and I was blown away by the view.  Unfortunately the day was a little overcast but the views of the city were really gorgeous.

One Liberty Observation 06

We had the entire floor almost to ourselves and was able to stroll around the entire level trying out the interactive displays exhibits and just enjoying the break from work.  At one point I sat down in a comfy chair just enjoying the view when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

One Liberty Observation 09

A penny machine how cool.  Years ago I pressed some coins at the Empire State Building’s Observation deck in New York, so these weren’t necessarily the highest altitude pennies I have ever collected but still a nice surprise.  I quickly pulled out my emergency package of coins and pressed myself a set.

PA - One Liberty Observation Pennies

The designs are very Philly themed as you might expect.  The images included the One Liberty Observation Deck, a Philly Cheesesteak, Benjamin Franklin and the Philly skyline.

I’m not going to lie, when I saw the cheesesteak design it made me hungry so after finishing up my visit on the 57th floor I headed back downstairs and grab one for a late lunch.  This observation deck was really awesome and one of the best I’ve been to.  I’m not sure how enjoyable it would have been if it was crowded but being one of only a handful of visitors that day made it very relaxing and enjoyable.  Plus there aren’t too many place where you can press a set of coins over 750 feet in the air.


Philadelphia Zoo 2016 – New Machines!!

Last year we had decided to support our nearby Philadelphia Zoo by becoming members.  The fee for the family was really quite reasonable and not only could we visit that zoo but we also had free admission to hundreds of zoos and aquariums across the country.  We have had some really cold weather recently in Jersey and going outside even just running to the card was more than we could take.  Finally this past weekend we had some nice weather and I jumped at the change to take my daughter Hanna out for a trip to see some animals.  When we visited the zoo in previous years they always had a few penny machines around, and when we went last year they were all gone and I wrote out it here.  In that post I said I hoped that this was a sign that new machines were on the way and wouldn’t you know it I was absolutely correct.  Plus there was news about a mystery machine that was to be available but no pictures or information were available.  This sounded like a challenge.

Zoo Visit 01

After a 40 minute trip we arrived at the zoo and headed inside.  We didn’t make it far before running into the first new machine.

Ticketing Booth

Right beside the admission ticket booth was a brand spanking new machine.  I will say I’m not a huge fan of the wheel instead of the handle crank, but that didn’t stop me from pressing a set.

Ticketing Booth Pennies

The first set of designs included a Flamingo, Monkey, Lion and the 6ABC Zoo Balloon.  All of the designs also said Philadelphia Zoo.  Thankfully with our membership we didn’t have to wait in line for any tickets and just headed through the gate.  Making our way methodically around every inch of the zoo we eventually came to big cat country which Hanna always likes.

Zoo Visit 02

Apparently this Leopard was fond of Hanna as she kept following her as we walked past her.  After exiting the big cat area we were facing the Trading Post Gift Shop which was the location of the next machine.

Trading Post Gift Shop

Hanna helped collect the pennies as I pressed them.  She always likes to show them off to other kids that may be nearby.

Trading Post Pennies

These next four designs included two Giraffes, a Rhino, another Lion, and a Lemur.  By this time Hanna was hungry so we stopped for some lunch.  A couple of the kids Hanna had shown off our pennies to came up with their parents and asked if we knew of any other machines.  I told them we were on the lookout as well but had some tips on where they could be found.  The family was very appreciative and headed off on their search.  Once we were done eating we headed back out and it didn’t take long before we found the third machine.

Grove Gift Shop

The machine was right outside the Grove Gift Shop which was closed for the season.  Thankfully they kept the machine outside so we could use it.

Grove Shop Pennies

Continuing the theme of the zoo these next four designs had another set of animals on them.  A Cheetah, Gorilla, Seal and a red Panda.  Next we headed into the bird sanctuary which I liked but Hanna wasn’t a big fan of the birds walking and flying all around here.

Zoo Visit 03

Leaving before any of the birds could escape with us we headed down the last stretch of the zoo.  Here we found the Giraffes, Rhinos and Zebras.  Across from them was the Polar Bear Observation area which has an above water view and a below water view.  On the lower viewing area we found another machine.

Polar Bear Observation

The family we had met back at lunch was just leaving this machine and waved as they left.  We made our way up to the machine and pressed out set.

Polar Bear Pennies

As you can see in the above picture the images were of a Frog, Peacock, a Kangaroo and what I believe is an Aye-aye Lemur.

These above four machines were the ones that I knew about from but we still had to find the mystery machine.  I did have some doubt that it may not have been made available yet, but I was holding out hope we would find it.  There were a few areas we had only briefly checked out and now we headed back in for a more thorough search but we didn’t find it.  As we started to head towards the exit I had one last glimmer of home the ZooShop.  Hanna ran in to try to find a toy to bring home and after she carefully selected a stuffed Pink Baby Elephant we headed out the middle set of doors and found the last machine.

Philly Zoo Machine 05 2016

As an extra special surprise this was another one of the latest and greatest super-multi design machines.  It had 8 brand spanking new designs available in total.

Zooshop Designs

Above is a close up of the 8 designs available that are displayed in the machine.  The cost for this machine was 2 designs for $1 or all 8 for $3.

Philly Zoo 05 Pennies 2016

All the designs are pressed on blanks which give a nice shiny finished product.  The designs included: The Zoo Logo, a Black Bear, and orangutan, a Parrot, a Three-toed Sloth, a Crocodile, a Northern Bald Eagle, and a Amur Tiger.

We were happy with our visit and had a pocket full of new pennies to add to our collection.  Another great use of our annual pass which really turned out to be a great investment for our family.  Looks like I’ll be renewing it very soon so I can keep an eye on these new machines.

2016 Nickel Set – Main Street Opera House Disneyland, CA

Take a quick stroll down Main Street in Disneyland and you will come across the Opera House which is where you can see the famous Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  After the show you are ushered out through the exit and will come across a special pressed coin machine which actually presses Nickels.  This is pretty rare within the parks, but the larger coin does allow for additional detail in the design.  Last year there were special 2015 dated designs available and the trend has continued this year.

DL MS Opera House Nickels 2016

There are three designs available.  All of them have Disneyland 2016 listed as part of the design and include some very familiar characters: Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto.  Now here is something else unique about this machine.  The initial set of designs was only available for about 2 maybe 3 days.  The backstamp on the original designs were missing the standard (C) Copyright Disney.

DL MS Opera Nickel 2016 No Disney

After these few days the machine was removed, new dies put in and now the coins press with the (C) Disney listed on the back under the USA.

DL MS Opera 2016 c disney

For most casual collectors this probably is not a big deal, but for serious collectors these “error” designs are a pretty hot commodity.  Keep your eyes open in case you come across these special designs as there are not going to be very many out in circulation.  Happy Collecting!

Jenkinson’s Sweet Shop – Point Pleasant, NJ

This always happens, we have a great time visiting somewhere new (in this case the Jenkinson’s Aquarium) and as we try to leave our daughter has a melt down.  Luckily on this trip we had a quick way to turn the frown upside down.  Right next door to the aquarium was the Jenkinson’s Sweet Shop.  Nothing gets tears to stop but a huge store filled from top to bottom with candy.

Jenkinsons Sweet Shop 01

This place had it all, fresh fudge, candy coated apples, and chocolate covered twinkies on a stick (this was new to me, but nothing surprises me at the Jersey shore).  I will admit I did buy one of these twinkies and ate it almost immediately.  After I finished (it was fantastic by the way) I realized I forgot to take a picture, sorry.


Of course they also had the famous Salt Water Taffy which is always a favorite of ours.  Most places on the shore will have prepackaged boxes of taffy which I never liked unless I was getting it as a gift for someone.  This place had bins filled with all different flavors and you could pick and choose which kinds you wanted.

Jenkinsons Sweet Shop 02

As my wife carefully selected our taffy flavors I noticed by the exit that the Sweet Shop had a penny machine.


Upon further inspection of this machine I noticed that this used to be located nearby on the boardwalk at the Castaway Cove mini-golf.  Since it was February the mini-golf course was closed for the season so I’m assuming this was moved here for the winter.  If you come for a visit and the machine isn’t in the Sweet Shop check next door at the mini-golf course and you may find it there.  The designs were the same as when I last used the machine, but I pressed a new set anyways.

Jenkinsons Sweet Shop Pennies

These pennies all pressed short same as they did the last time I used the machine.  The designs included the Castaway Cove golf course logo, Skull and Crossbones, and a Treasure chest.

With our trip to the beach in the winter completed we quickly headed back to our car to get the heat blasting so we could defrost ourselves.  With our stomachs full of candy and an updated set of pressed pennies it had been a nice day trip out with the family.