Pressed Penny Minted Date Comparison

In past posts, I’ve gone over how Pressed Penny Collectors usually prefer to use what are known as Pre-1982 pennies.  This is due to the larger percentage of copper used in those older coins.  Starting in 1982 the United States Mint changed the metals in the penny to 97.5% zinc with only a 2.5% copper coating.

A common complaint among collectors is that when using these new pennies that thin copper coating can stretch and tear while being elongated to reveal streaks of the zinc core.

Years ago after learning more about this from fellow collectors I quickly changed over to pre-1982 pennies and of course had to go back and replace quite a few pennies in my collection.  Recently I was working on a video for Youtube and decided that I wanted to do a massive comparison between pennies with different minted dates.

First I had to figure out which pressed penny machine to use.  I wanted the design to be fairly simple but also needed to ensure that the machine (hopefully) would be around for years to come.  This is because I’m hoping to continue with this in future years to keep the comparison up to date.  Also due to many of the theme parks around Orlando being closed this did limit what machines I would have access to.  After going through my options I decided on a machine in Disney Springs at the Pin Trading store.

The design I chose was of Classic Mickey Mouse.  I don’t see Disney retiring this machine or design any time soon.  Mickey is here to stay for a long time.  Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx things.

A few weeks before my visit I had placed numerous orders with many coin merchants to get as many Brilliant Uncirculated pennies starting with 1950 all the way through 2020.  I had each penny stored in a separate little baggie with the date printed on the outside so that after I pressed each of them I would know which was which.  I think the Cast Members in the store thought I had lost my mind as I pressed the exact same design 71 times.  But they seemed happy just to have guests back in the store, and I actually kind of enjoyed being able to press some pennies again after being cooped up in our house for the last couple of months.

1950 1981 1982 2000 2020

Above is just a sampling of the pennies I pressed for this comparison.  You can click on the images to get a larger image for more detail.  At a glance, they don’t actually look too different.  But when you zoom in is where you start to see some differences.


The image above on the Left is a 60x zoom of the 1950 penny, and the image on the Right is the 1988 penny.  That 1988 penny clearly shows those stretch and tear marks on the right side along the dot border.

However, this is not a hard and fast rule.  Above I zoomed in on the 2020 penny and there are none of those tear marks.  The penny machines for the most part have been calibrated to try and press with pressure and die configuration that hopefully will work for a wide range of pennies to try and ensure the final product is as good as can be.  For the most part, I do find the pre-1982 pennies work the best and are what I’m sticking with for now as long as I am able to obtain them.

If you would like to check out the full comparison of all pennies from 1950 to the Present year just scroll up to the top of this page and click on “Penny Comparison” from the menu just under the main banner.  Enjoy and keep on smashing!!


Gettysburg, PA – Part 2

With the first half of my Gettysburg trip completed, and a longer than anticipated stop in an antique store I was ready … for some food.  I made a quick stop for a very late lunch and then made it over to my next destination.

Jennie Wade House 01

The Jennie Wade House.  For just a little history, Jennie at the age of 20 was the only direct civilian casualty of the battle.  This is the house where she was hit by a stray bullet on July 3rd, 1863.  They do offer tours but unfortunately when I visited they were closed for the season.

PA - Jeanie Wade House

At the end of the tour you enter the gift shop.  This shop is available to anyone and do not need to take the tour to go inside.  At the back of the store is a one die electric penny machine.

Jennie Wade House Penny

The image on the penny is an exterior image of Jennie Wade’s House.  Directly across the street was my next stop.

Old Gettysburg Village 01

The Old Gettysburg Village is a collection of small stores that surround a central area that has a gazebo and nice little gardens (when there isn’t snow all over the place) for a quite place to relax.

PA - Old Gettysburg Village 01

Most of these stores were closed during my visit, but the penny machine was available outside for use.

Old Gettysburg Village

The four penny designs available at this machine were: A Civil War Soldier, a Cannon, United States & Confederate Flags, and a Military Drum.  With pennies in hand I packed them away with the others and headed about a block down the street to the Gettysburg Tour Center.

Gettysburg Tour Center 01

This place was also closed for the season as they offer bus tours around the battlefield.  I lucked out that there was someone inside and they allowed me in real quick to use their two machines.  Since the place was technically closed they didn’t have any of the overhead lights on and my pictures of the machines came out really dark so I’m not bothering to post them.  Guess I’ll just have to go back again sometime.

Gettysburg Tour Center 01a

The first machine had one design which was of a Soldier firing a cannon with Gettysburg, PA across the bottom.

Gettysburg Tour Center 02

The second machine had three available designs that were images of General Lee, General Meade, and General Chamberlain.  Once I was done I quickly thanked the employee and let myself out.  The last stop on this particular street was again right across the street.

Hall of Presidents 01

The impressive looking building was the Hall of Presidents museum.  Unfortunately like a lot of the places this time of season were not open.  I did send them a letter when I got home asking if someone could press the penny for me and it come back pretty quickly.

Hall of Presidents

This penny has the beginning of President Lincolns famous “Fourscore and even years ago, our forefathers established, upon this continent, a new nation …”.  After finding out this museum was closed I started my way back.  Luckily as I mentioned in the previous post these machines were all located along two streets that met like a “Y”.  Back by the Old Gettysburg Village I was able to cut through over to the other street and only a couple blocks away was the Lincoln Train Museum where my car was parked.  But this was not the end of my trip, there were still a couple of machines left to find.

Gettysburg Military Park 03

Just a few minute drive south I drove into the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center.  This is a huge park with paths you can walk along and enjoy some fresh air.  Unfortunately when I was their it was cold so I just headed towards the museum but came across a familiar face.

Gettysburg Military Park 04

President Lincoln is an overwhelming presence here in Gettysburg.  With my selfie-stick nowhere to be found I wasn’t able to take a proper picture with the former President.

Gettysburg Military Park 06

Inside the museum there are all types of artifacts pertaining to the Gettysburg battle.  There is an admission to visit the entire museum, but there are some small areas you can look at for no fee.  Just outside the theatre is their gift shop which has quite a selection of items for purchase.  Just near the one exit tot he gift shop I found penny machine.

PA - Gettysburg Military Park 01

This seemed to be a fairly new machine, but all the images had 2015 listed on them.  It only takes dollar bills and spits out the design on a coin blank.  I will say they came out really shiny.

PA - Gettysburg Military Park Pennies 01

The images on the coins are President Lincoln, a Cannon, Part of the Museum Tower, and the Military Park’s logo.  After I was done the gift shop was calling my name again so I went back in to wonder around.  Towards the opposite end there was an exit towards where the restrooms.  I figured I may as well make a pit stop before hitting the road but just before I left I saw another penny machine.

PA - Gettysburg Military Park 02

When I had done my pre-trip planning only the one machine had been listed as active here which is why this one caught me off guard.  Thankfully I had my emergency backup kit in my car with some extra coins (I wrote out this kit here, always be prepared).  I ran out to my car, got the change and came back to press a set before leaving.

PA - Gettysburg Military Park Pennies 02

Two of the pennies rolled a little long, and the other two a little short, but the images still came out pretty nicely.  The designs included Our Country’s Common Ground, Abraham Lincoln, a Military Drum, and the United States and Confederate Flags 1863.  Back in my car I had only one more stop to make and thankfully it was in the direction back home.

Drummer Boy Camping Resort 03

The Drummer Boy Camping Resort was only a few miles away and was right off the highway.  I took the exit and made my way into the woods towards the General Store.

Drummer Boy Camping Resort 02

As soon as I walked in I was greeted by a very friendly women that asked if she could help me.  I told her I was there to use the penny machine and she walked me back to where it was.

Drummer Boy Camping Resort

The machine had three designs to press: the Drummer Boy, a Cannon and July 1-3, 1863 Gettysburg.  I thanked her for her help and hopped back in my car.  My very short stop over in Gettysburg had been quite a success at least when it came to the pennies.  In the near future I hope to come back here and be able to spend more time exploring all the history and stories this place has to offer.

Gettysburg, PA – Part 1

A recent work trip had me passing through a town I had been interested in visiting for quite a while.  With my family recently going through the US Citizenship process we had lots of American History to read up on.  One of the most important battles in our country’s history was the Civil War and one of the battlefields was not only a turning point but the location of President Lincolns most important speeches.

Gettysburg 01

Gettysburg Pennsylvania is a few hours away from where we live in Jersey.  As I planned out my trip for work I noticed that one of the routes had me passing right through the center of town.  I wasn’t going to have a lot of spare time on my trip but not knowing when I would be able to come back gave me enough incentive to stop for a bit and collect some pressed pennies.  Going through my usual preparations I checked online for a complete list of machine locations, marked them on a map and started organizing the appropriate change needed for each machine.

The day of my trip came and after my meetings I headed into the heart of Gettysburg which had me drive through the famous battlefields.

Gettysburg 02

Most of the penny machine locations were located along two streets that connected like a “Y”.  This made it quite a bit easier to start at one end and make my way around.  My first stop was the Lincoln Train Museum.

Lincoln Train Museum 02

I parked in their lot and headed to the front door but as my luck would have it I was there on the one day of the week they weren’t open.  The penny machine was located just inside the door teasing me.

PA - Lincoln Train Museum 01

I took the above picture of the machine from outside which is why it looks a little far away.  After I got home I put together a package with a letter and some coins mentioning I had stopped by when they were closed, and asking if someone would press a set for me.  A week or so later the coins arrive back along with some nice reading material about the museum.

Lincoln Train Museum

The designs included President Lincoln, a Steam Engine and the 1899 Maryland & Pennsylvania Bobber Caboose that is available at the museum to explore (ahem when it’s open of course).

Gettysburg Heritage Center 01

I left my card at the Train Museum and started walking since everything now was pretty close together.  Located on the next block was the Gettysburg Heritage Center.  I had read online this used to be a Wax Museum with animated scenes from the Civil War but those were all long gone.  There was a tour you could take but due to time constraints I just stuck to the gift shop.

PA - Gettysburg Heritage Center 01

The machine was located near the admission counter right next to the tour entrance.  I have come across these style of machines from time to time and always find them a little hard to use and the pennies usually press short.

Gettysburg Heritage Center

However this machine actually surprised me and worked very nicely.  The staff member that was at the counter told me they had just serviced this machine which may have been why it worked so well.  These pennies have images of Two crossed Civil War swords with Gettysburg across the top, the Lord’s Prayer, My Lucky Penny with four-leaf clovers, and a special coin to cash in for a Free Hug and Kiss anytime … anywhere.  I really should have pressed more of that one!

Gettysburg Diorama 01

A short ways away was my next stop the Gettysburg Diorama.  As the name says this place has a scale model of the Battle of Gettysburg.  It is over 800 square feet and includes a light and sound show.  You get a bird’s-eye view of the entire battlefield which is a really cool way to see it all at once.

PA - Gettysburg Diorama 01

Just inside the front door is the penny machine.  No admission is required to use the machine, but the cost to see the diorama is only about $7 and I would recommend taking a look at it really is pretty impressive.

PA - Gettysburg Diorama Pennies

This machine has only three designs which include Gettysburg 150th Anniversary, Civil War Soldiers, and Abraham Lincoln.  After I was done with the diorama I headed out to my next stop.

Gettysburg Ghost Tours 01

The Gettysburg Ghost Tours as you can see from the sign in the above picture is a Candlelight Walking Tour at night.

PA - Gettysburg Ghost Tours 01

In case a Ghost Tour isn’t your thing, worry not the penny machine is located outside so you don’t even need to go in.

Gettysburg Ghost Tours

Four coin designs are available at this location which include: The Gettysburg Ghost Tour logo, a Cannon, the United States & Confederate flags, and Abraham Lincoln (this is a popular design here).  The next machine was literally right next door.

Bases Loaded 01

It’s a little store called Bases Loaded.  Just like the Ghost Tours their machine is located right outside and can be used even when the store isn’t open.

PA - Basses Loaded 01

The machine is a Penny Pincher four design model.  It was a little squeaky as I turned the handle to press my designs but the end results came out pretty good.

Bases Loaded Pennies

My last stop before taking a break was a little more of a hike.  Only a few blocks but I ended up spending much more time inside than I had anticipated.

Antique Center 02

The Antique Center of Gettysburg was an amazing trip back in time.  But first a little business, as soon as I walked inside the penny machine was located to the left.

PA - Antique Center Machine 01

The machine only had one design available, but as you can see in the picture above they also had 2×2 elongated cardboard coin holders.  I thought this was actually pretty clever by the store especially since I had yet to see a pressed penny booklet anywhere.

Antique Center of Gettysburg

The penny had an image of the National Tower Gettysburg with a cannon and the United States and Confederate Flags.  With the penny safely stored away I was initially going to head back outside, but the draw of the antique items in this store drew me further inside.  I was just mesmerized by the things they had in there that were all from the Battlefield.  From musket balls and other civil war weaponry, to union army metal plates and canteens.  I probably could have stayed in there for an hour at least, but kept my visit to about 20 minutes and I had only scratched the surface of what they had available for purchase.

Eventually I did head back outside and started to visit the last half of my stops before I needed to head home.

1893 Columbian Exposition Elongated Seated Dime

Among elongated coin collectors there are always discussions about when the first pressed coin was made.  The common answer that most accept is that during the 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition that was held in Chicago, Illinois there were a few different designs available to press during the event.

My collection primarily consists of designs I pressed myself during vacations or day trips with my family and aren’t much older than the early to mid-90s.  However as a collector I always have my eyes open should any of these early coin designs become available.  Unfortunately finding these can be a little difficult and when you do come across them especially online it can be hard to ensure they are authentic and not a reproduction.  But just recently I was able to acquire one through a very trusted and source.  The version I received is the Columbian Exposition 1893 design and was pressed on a 1891 seated dime.

Columbian Ex 1893 Front

Above is an image of the front design for the coin, and below is a shot of the back where you can see the year of the coin 1891.

Columbian Ex 1893 Back

I was able to get my hands on this coin and a few others from a very well-known gentleman in the elongated collectors community.  Mr. Ray Dillard has been a past President of the TEC club, an active enthusiast and an amazing ambassador of the hobby.  His elongated coin collection is really one of a kind.  I was able to meet Mr. Dillard during the ANA Convention that was held in Philadelphia a few years ago.  He was more than happy to take some time and talk with me about various elongated coin related topics and I really appreciated the time he spent with me that day.

Recently Mr. Dillard has offered a list of elongated coins for sale.  There are some really great coins on this list and you know they are coming from a very credible source.  Here is a link to the list (ray-dillard-pricelist5315).  If you see any you are interested in Mr. Dillard’s contact information is included on the first page.  But be quick as many of these items may not be available for very long.

A special thank you again to Mr. Dillard for everything you do for our hobby, it is all very much appreciated.