For many collectors it can be difficult to ensure you have collected and entire set of coin designs. We have many great resources like ParkPennies.com for Disneyland coins, Presscoins.com for Walt Disney World and Pennycollector.com for more general elongated coins around the country and internationally. However there are some more niche areas of the hobby that cannot be found within these online databases and instead we have found some unique books and catalogs to help with those areas of your collection.
First let’s check out the Yesterday’s Elongated book by Lee Martin and Dottie Dow. This is widely thought of as the main resource for early elongated coins.
This was originally published in 1981, and was then out of print for quite awhile before a second printing became available in 2004, and then a third printing in 2008. Each edition has a different color cover to help distinguish them.
Inside are hundreds of elongated coin pictures, and detailed descriptions of each design including information on different design variations. I don’t have many of these coins in my own personal collection, but I still enjoy paging through it and learning about all these different early designs that are floating around out there. If you are interested in a copy of this book you can get a copy from the TECNews online store here. There is a discount for TEC members, with instructions in the book description on how to get your discount if applicable.
Next we have a really amazing catalog that was created by fellow collector Rich Rich Bottles Jr and details Elongated Coins of West Virginia 1913 to 2021.
This is a spiral bound catalog with hundreds of high quality pictures of each elongated coin design. This includes many known coin designs available throughout West Virginia both retired and currently still available. There are descriptions of each coin, and details on the location.
I don’t personally have too many pressed pennies from West Virginia. However years ago my wife and I passed through on a vacation and I was able to get one from a Cabela’s Sporting Goods store in Wheeling, WV. Sure enough I found it inside this catalog as I had no doubt it would be there. This was certainly a passion project for Rich and I have heard he may have some similar versions for different US states in the works.
Our last entry for today’s book club review is this Penny Presses Mega List of Pressed Penny Machines. This is actually a book I have received quite a few comments and messages about asking if I had checked it out. Well now I have, and let me share some thoughts.
Upon first glance this appears to just be a compilation of the online database from the website Pennypresses.net. Now this is not a bad thing, as they state on the front this contains info on over 3000 penny machines across the United States. It’s organized by state, and then city to help you find machines that may be nearby your current location. But there is no information about how many machines may be at that location, how many designs are at the machine, or what type of coin can be pressed.
Here is just a quick example. On the above pictures page I checked out the entry for Disney’s Hollywood Studios but it just lists the address. There is no info on what machines can be found there. Now I’m sure you all know from my previous posts I spend quite a bit of time at the Walt Disney World parks and know that at Hollywood Studios they currently have over 25 machines, and almost 130 designs in total. Going of the above page only would make it very difficult to prepare for acquire the pennies at this location.
Another entry that caught my eye was at the Grand Floridian Resort and listed a machine (or more?) at the Boat Launch which I was pretty sure was not accurate.
Sure enough after a quick trip over to the resort I can confirm this entry was not accurate and there is no machine available at the Boat Launch. Now this was just a couple examples and I will admit that I skimmed through the pages for New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania that were my old stomping grounds and I pressed many pennies in those states. Those entries all appeared to be accurate based on my memory of the machines I visited in years past. I can only imaging that trying to maintain a list like this with over 3000 machines nationwide is obviously not going to be 100% accurate.
My recommendation is that this book can be a great starting point when you are trying to prepare for an upcoming trip or vacation with a few side stops to press some pennies. Use this in conjunction with other resources like pennycollector.com or even one of the elongated coin Facebook groups available. Members in those groups are always more than happy to help confirm information on their local machines.
One last item I wanted to review is that websites like pennycollector.com and pennypresses.net are heavily reliant on collectors and visitors to their sites. Most of the information is initially collected through a massive data import but as we found is not completely accurate. It then relies on us users to help update the information for other collectors. I did go on pennypresses.net to submit a comment about that Grand Floridian Boat Launch entry and hopefully this is a way they can update the information in their database. If you find any information on either of these websites that needs to be updated, please take some time to do so, your fellow collectors will thank you immensely for your effort.
Keep on Pressing!