Throughout 2019 we have noticed that the 4-design pressed penny machines around Walt Disney World property have been slowly converted to have a higher cost per penny…now at a whopping $1. This is up from the standard $0.50 which seems to be the norm for most of the penny presses around the United States. You can read about some of the recent changes here. While thoughts on this increase among collectors various with some not happy about the increase, others upset that they can no longer use their own pennies, to others agreeing this was inevitable with the assumed rising cost to maintain the machines. However, you fell about this change about increased cost I have started to notice something else start popping up around property that is even more expensive…collectible medallions.
Initially, when a set of these came out I had convinced myself I wouldn’t get them and wanted to stay focused on the pressed pennies. Then they released a special medallion for the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot (something I’ve always wanted with pressed pennies), and I finally broke. Thankfully at the time, there were only a couple machines but it seems like more and more of these are making appearances. Just a few weeks ago I received a message on Facebook about a new set of medallions but this time in the Magic Kingdom for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
The first chance I got I headed over to the park and visited one of my favorite rides. I was able to get a last-minute fastness so I enjoyed the ride first and then headed towards the gift shop in search of the machine.
The store is actually called the Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar but most people just say the gift shop at the end of the Pirates ride.
It didn’t take long to find the machine since it’s located pretty much in the dead center of the store. This is good and bad, easy to find but in a very busy spot. There are people both exiting the attraction that pass right by it, and also people shopping all around. I stood here about a good 5 minutes just to try and get a clear picture of the machine and the above is about the best I could do.
The cabinet for the medallions is pretty cool looking. The distressed wood makes it look like it came straight off a pirate ship or was made of old treasure chests.
I find these machines a bit interesting as to how they are setup. In the middle of the machine are large glass pieces where you can see inside where the coins are stored. But these never move so they are not actually the ones you get after you pay for them. I guess this is where the “extras” are stored until needed, but wouldn’t it look strange when the inside is empty due to the coins all being loaded for dispensing? To be honest I’ve never seen one of these medallion machines without any coins in this middle display section but you would think eventually they would want to sell off those coins as well. If I ever find someone doing some maintenance on these machines I’ll have to try and ask how it works.
Here are the buttons that you would press to pick the medallions you want after paying for them. The cost is $5 each, or 3 of them for $10. So if you want all 4 that will run you $15. The machine does accept cash or credit card, but be aware if paying with a credit card it will only allow the $10 option (for three coins).
As per usual I just couldn’t resist the entire set. The coins are made of different materials, although I would actually assume the core of them is the same but with a different coating/finish on the outside. The designs are Pirate Mickey, Pirate Minnie, Pluto and the Skeleton steering the ship from the ride.
The back of all the medallions has the same design for the Pirates of the Caribbean with the skull and crossbones. These coins aren’t dated like some of the other ones released this year so I would think this set may be sticking around for a while but you just never know with Disney.
Now back to my original conversation on the increased cost to the pressed pennies. Am I happy about an increase in cost, of course not! I wish they could stay at $0.50 forever especially with my obsessive need to collect all of them that would help keep my expense budget down. But I do really enjoy this hobby and even at $1 per penny, it’s still a pretty good steak for a collectible and souvenir from Disney. It would be nice to be able to use my own penny but the machines now do seem to be supplying uncirculated pennies that come out nice and shiny and hopefully will hold up over the years if properly stored, only time will tell. Then we come to these new medallions and at $5 a coin they are now starting to push their luck. The coins are hefty and solid, not cheaply made and I enjoy the unique designs on them. I don’t know if I would pay much more than the current cost for these medallions so hopefully, they stay this cost for now and limit the total number of medallions available to help keep these all affordable for collectibles and casual fans alike. If the costs rise too much more and my budget allows for only medallions or pressed pennies, the pennies will win out every time. Although even that has a limit of how much we would be willing to pay for our beloved pressed pennies.