New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge Pressed Penny Set

I remember watching a movie when I was a kid called Pete’s Dragon and one of the tense scenes towards the end took place at an old Lighthouse during a storm.  Among everything that happens in the movie from bandits to a magical dragon the one thing that stuck with me most was that lighthouse.  I think it was a few things, first the architecture of a lighthouse is always very unique and interesting, plus the more practical reason to serve as a navigational aid for boats and ship.  There is something fun and mysterious about them.

I lived in New Jersey for just over 20 years and had visited a few lighthouses as I visited different areas of the state.  Whenever possible, even though I’m afraid of heights, I would walk up those winding staircases to get the bird’s eye view from the top.  Regardless of my fear, it was always worth it to get those breathtaking landscape views which are sometimes hard to get in New Jersey.  But something I never knew existing was the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge.

A couple months ago a fellow pressed penny collector wrote a quick post on Facebook about this challenge due to a pressed penny available (more on this shortly).  Apparently in 2019 is the 20th anniversary of this challenge.  What exactly is this?  It takes place annually over a weekend in October, for 2019 the dates are October 19th-20th, and encourages participants to visit as many of lighthouse locations throughout New Jersey.  This not only allows you to experience the lighthouses but helps to raise funds for their preservation.  In total there are 15 locations to visit and are spread out mostly up the east coast but there are some on the west side of the state along the Delaware River.  The map above is something I put together just to help illustrate where all the locations are.  Some lighthouses have a small fee to visit but most just accept a donation.


As I mentioned above there were already some pressed pennies at a couple of the lighthouses available year-round.  However new for this year’s challenge was a special designed pressed penny at all of the 15 locations.

They also released a special booklet to store all the pennies you collect along the way.  Above is a close up of the challenge penny that is located on the front of the booklet.  Of course, now that I live in Florida, it just didn’t fit into my schedule to fly up and try to complete the challenge in person.  I was able to cheat a little bit and buy the full set and booklet from the online store.


Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City.  At 171 feet tall this is New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse and is also one of the oldest in the country.


Barnegat Lighthouse is located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island and has fantastic views of the Barnegat Bay and eastern coastline.

Museum at Barnegat is located nearby the Barneget Lighthouse and houses the original Lighthouse 1,025 prism lens, along with photographs and artifacts of the lighthouse and surrounding area history.


Cape May Lighthouse was built in 1859 and is located in the Cape May State Park.  You can climb the 199 steps to the top for some amazing ocean views.


Delaware Bay Lighthouse is a white conical metal tower topped by a black lantern at a height of 76 feet.  The structure rests on a black trumpet-shaped iron caisson built into the breakwater.


East Point Lighthouse was built in 1849 is located in Heislerville is situated at the mouth of the Maurice River and overlooks the Delaware Bay.


Finns Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1877.  The historic iron tower is in the Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is 115 feet tall.


Twin Lights of Navesink Lighthouse is located in Highlands New Jersey.  This unique lighthouse was constructed from local brownstone in 1862 and features two non-identical towers and dual lights.  One fixed and one flashing.


Sandy Hook Lighthouse is part of the Gateway National Recreation area.  The lighthouse overlooks the Sandy Hook Bay and is walking distance from nature trails and nearby historic sites.  There are 95 steps to the top and then a nine-rung ladder to the lens room at the top.


Sea Girt Lighthouse is in a red brick building that first started operating in 1896 and was the last live-in lighthouse built on the Atlantic coast.  This means the tower was integrated into the keeper’s living quarters.

Sqwuan Beach Life Saving Station #9 is located in Manasquan New Jersey.  It was constructed in 1903 and was in service until 1936.


Tatham Life Saving Station is located in Stone Harbor New Jersey.  The oldest existing building in Stone Harbor was built in 1895 and has a tower to observe the Atlantic Ocean, Hereford Inlet, and back bays.


Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse is located along the shores of the Delaware River in Paulsboro New Jersey.  This 1880s lighthouse features a steel skeletal structure that reaches 85 feet tall.  There are 112 steps to the top which houses the lantern room, watch room and keeper’s dwelling.


Tucker’s Island Lighthouse is located in Tuckerton New Jersey.  This is a reproduction of the original lighthouse which infamously fell into the ocean in 1927.


U.S. Life Saving Station 30 can be found in Ocean City New Jersey.  This 1880s structure features a gabled roof, lookout tower, boat bay, and a wrap-around porch.

Here is a look at the entire penny set in the booklet.  It’s nice that there are specific labels for each of the coins, and the plastic sleeves are oriented differently depending on if the penny has a vertical or horizontal design.

That really is a great set of pennies and the challenge seems like it would be a lot of driving and make for a long weekend.  But I will admit I wish I was able to participate this year.  You can visit the website for the challenge here, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the 2020 dates to see if maybe I can try and do this new year.  Hopefully, the pressed pennies are a big hit this year so they continue it in years to come.


Bass Pro Shop – Atlantic City, NJ

This was actually the second time I had attempted to collect these coins.  A few months back I heard about this new store opening in AC and when I tried to get there it was just not meant to be.  I didn’t have any cash on me and all the Casino parking lots would only take cash, I tried to park on the street but ran into traffic everywhere I went with no available parking spots.  The lot for the store was full and with my temper flaring at this point I just decided to head back home.  But this time around I had a pocket full of cash just in case.


Now I will say for a non hunter/fisherman I’m just in awe of this place.  This is my second store and they are very similar but still unique in their own way.


There are two floors of clothing, fishing gear, camping gear, boats, and on and on.  I was only planning on stopping in to use the penny machine but ended up wandering around for over an hour.


They even have a huge fish tank which my daughter Hanna loved, and as you can see from the picture above this is not your plain old ordinary tank.


Right next to the fish tank observation area is where I finally came across the penny machine.


The set of pennies had images of the Atlantic City Steel Pier, A bass, a large Buck, and a Marlin.  These may not actually be what the images are of but that’s my city boy guess.

Well it was quite an adventure to finally get a set of these coins but was definitely worth it.  These coins are customized for the city the store is located in and makes for a fun collection all its own.

Happy 4th of July 2016

Happy 4th of July!!

I always enjoy trying to find new coins that represent some of our holidays and this year I luckily found a wonderful brand new set.  Being a member of TEC allows me to also join the TEC Yahoo Group which is an easy way for members to communication with each other.  Sometimes tips are sent out, or missing coins get requested, and my favorite new unique pressed coins made available.  This year Tyler Tyson put together this fantastic set of 4 designs.  I opted to receive all 4 designs in a denominational set which just means you get them on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.  Considering the hard work Tyler put into these sets the fee was very reasonable and I appreciate everything he did make these available.


The designs include images of a Liberty Head Profile, Eagle Head, a Rocket, and Uncle Sam’s Top Hat.  I wanted to make sure you could see all the detail so here are some close-ups.  First is the set of Pennies.


Here are the images pressed on Nickels.


Rare to find pressed Dimes so I always get them when I can.


Last but certainly not least is the set of Quarters.


I hope everyone has a great 4th of July and more importantly a safe holiday.  Enjoy your time with family and friends with some great food and hopefully fireworks.  If anyone needs me I’ll be in the pool enjoying the sun and some BBQ.

Camden Children’s Garden – Camden, NJ

On a recent trip down to the waterfront in Camden, NJ I had taken my daughter Hanna to the aquarium which I had written about in a previous post.  After we finished exploring the aquarium we headed right next door to the Camden Children’s Garden.

Camden Childrens Garden 01

This is a cute little place that Hanna just absolutely loves.  As the name implies there are various garden areas that the kids can walk among and have many different activities throughout the park.  There is a large-scale train ride that takes you around a the park, or you can jump aboard the restored carousel which is a must each time we go.

Camden Childrens Garden 02

They also have a small but still very cool Butterfly house where you can walk among live butterflies that soar all around you.  In past trips the Butterfly house was home to a pressed penny machine but on this trip I noticed it was missing.  A little upset at the loss of another machine I put it out of my mind.  But then as we were leaving the garden’s we decided to check out the Ginkgo’s Gift Shop and Playroom.

Camden Childrens Garden 03

This is a tiny little shop but has quite a selection of souvenirs to take home.  In the back there is a wooden model train that Hanna was obsessed with (guess I know what to get her for Christmas this year).  As she entertained herself with the train I walked around and came across the missing penny machine.

Camden Childrens Garden Machine 01

It’s a one design electric machine.  When I went to use the machine it didn’t work at all, but the staff member that was in the store quickly ran over to assist me.  He tried resetting the machine, and did some magic in the back to get the penny to eventually roll.  I thanks him for his assistance which was nice to see instead of what usually happens in these situations when you are just told the machine is broken and there is nothing they can do.  He really took the time to help and make sure I was satisfied with the finished penny.

Camden Childrens Garden Penny

The design has two butterflies surrounding a football helmet.  The Four Seasons Butterfly House is partially funded by the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles football team which was all listed on the penny.  Wondering through the Garden’s and walking among the butterflies was a nice ending to our adventure down in Camden.  My pocket was full of some new pennies and Hanna was asleep in the car shortly after we left but had a huge smile on her face the entire ride home.  What could be better than that!

Adventure Aquarium NEW 2016 – Camden, NJ

My daughter must have some really vivid dreams at night.  She wakes up most mornings asking to do or visit some place or thing that is completely out of left field and apparently a result of her nighttime adventures (Narnia?).  In the past I’ve helped her out of bed with a rest for Elephants, or the M&M ride (cable cars at Six Flags).  But just the other day she woke up asking to go and pet some Sting Rays.  Well being the softy that I am and having a day off from work the only place nearby I knew that had this exact exhibit was the Adventure Aquarium down in Camden, NJ.

Adv Aquarium 2016 01

I had bought our tickets online to avoid the line but as you can see in the above picture this Wednesday morning there were very few people visiting which was great for us.  After heading inside we always head to the furthest location which just so happens to be the KidZone which is a favorite of Hanna’s.

Adv Aquarium 2016 02

If you look very closely in the above picture just inside to the right was the first new penny machine.  Thankfully I checked this out online before we left as these new machines now required a $1 bill for each design.

Adv Aquarium Machine 01

I still reference these as penny machines but no penny is needed just your dollar bills.  The machine automatically loads a blank and after the pressing creates a very nice shiny finished product.

Adv Aquarium 01 Pennies

The only issue I had was that some of the designs did roll a little short.  The first set of images included the Philly Skyline, the Touch Tank, an Alligator, and a Mermaid.  We spent quite a bit of time in the Kidzone and Hanna loved the touch tank with large starfish and a horseshoe crab she reluctantly touched and squealed the entire time.  The next big area we came to was the Diver Tank and we arrived just in time to see some divers feeding the creatures inside.

Adv Aquarium 2016 04

We sat and watched the action for a few minutes before we headed to the next area but at the top of the drive theater was the next penny machine.

Adv Aquarium Machine 02

This machine actually had quite a group around it when we first got to it.  The kids were just playing with the machine and not actually using it.  When we walked up they left us through and were fascinated with how it worked and I proudly showed off the coins when they dropped out into the dispenser.

Adv Aquarium 02 Pennies

The coins had images of an Octopus, Sting Ray, Sharks Teeth, and a Porcupine.  The kids  all immediately scattered towards their parents and I could hear the requests for dollar bills.  Hanna and I headed to the next exhibit before their parents could get their hands on us.

Due to the strange layout of this aquarium we had to back track a bit to get to the next area which included two large and strangely cute Hippos.  There is a viewing area at the top (above water level) of their tank, and a lower viewing area to see them underwater.  Right beside the lower viewing area was the third penny machine.


Adv Aquarium Machine 03

I couldn’t pull Hanna away from the Hippos so she kept an eye on them while I pressed the coins.

Adv Aquarium 03 Pennies

This next batch of coin designs included images of a Hammer-head Shark, a Giant Squid, two Penguins, and a Jelly Fish.  With coins we continued on our way to the Shark area.

Adv Aquarium 2016 03

If only all sharks were as cute as the one above.  I will say I’m completely in awe of sharks and love watching them from a distance, but in truth they scare the daylights out of me.  As with most aquariums now this one has a shark tunnel that lets you walk among the sharks only protected by a 4-inch piece of glass.

Adv Aquarium 2016 05

This does give a very interesting perspective of the sharks and it’s a little creepy when they swim right over top of you.

Adv Aquarium 2016 08

After the tunnel however we came across something I have not seen before and this is apparently brand new attraction.  It’s called the Shark Bridge.

Adv Aquarium 2016 06

There is a very narrow bridge that is suspended across the top of the shark tank.  Yes the exact tank we just walked through we will now be walking over top of.  As all sorts of reasons popped into my head as to why we shouldn’t do this, Hanna was running ahead excited to “walk on the sharks”.

Adv Aquarium 2016 07

As you can see above the bridge (small narrow beam) is really quite sturdy and you are surrounded by strong netting on all sides.  The downside to this is that the netting makes it a little hard to see the sharks swimming below you, but it’s still a really cool experience.  After we finished walking across the Shark Bridge we headed into the last part of the aquarium and according to Hanna the most important, the gift shop.

Adv Aquarium Machine 04

While Hanna searched through bins and shelves of stuffed toys and novelties I went over by the check out area to use the final penny machine.

Adv Aquarium 04 Pennies

This final set of coins included designs of some Penguins, a Great White Shark, a Hippopotamus, and a large Sea Turtle.  I packed all the coins away and walked over to where Hanna had picked out a multi colored rainbow Sting Ray plush toy.  We checked out and headed toward the exit for our ride home.

Now for those of you paying attention you be saying “What happened to Hanna’s morning request to pet some Sting Rays”.  We did head to that area, but when we were there they were closing it down temporarily to let the Rays have a break from the feeding and petting.  No big deal this just means we will have to come back soon for another try.

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.

Jenkinson’s Aquarium – Point Pleasant, NJ

One weekend back in February my daughter Hanna woke up a little earlier than usually, and when I went to get her she immediately asked to see some fish at the aquarium.  I was taken back a bit as this was the first she had asked for this and also it was very random to be asking for this at 6 o’clock in the morning.  But being the sucker I am for her I said we would go once everyone else was awake.  We decided against going to the large Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ we have gone to in the past.  It’s a little further away, and I found it was almost too big for Hanna to keep her interest.  Instead we took a shorter trip to Point Pleasant Beach.  Yes you read that right we headed to the beach in February, but just check out how beautiful the sandy/snowy beach looked.


The water even looked cold, and the wind coming off the Atlantic ocean made it feel even colder.  This was the emptiest I had ever seen a boardwalk in New Jersey and it was kind of eery.  From where we parked we only had a short walk over to the Jenkinson’s Aquarium.

Jekinsons Aquarium 01

We paid the small reasonable admission fee and headed inside.  Hanna was really excited to see all the sea creatures and of course the other kids that were visiting as well.

Jenkinsons Aquarium 02

The aquarium is not very big which is probably due to people wanting to get back on to the beach during the warmer season, but they still pack a lot of things inside.  The tanks contain all the usual creatures, and there is also a second floor with a touch tank.  Below is a picture of Hanna trying to get up the nerve to touch a small ray.

Jenkinsons Aquarium 03

We eventually walked back down to the main floor and near the penguin exhibit I saw two magical pieces of machinery.

Jenkinsons Aquarium 04

Years ago I had visited this aquarium and came across the 3 design electric penny machine, but it hadn’t been previously listed on the penny website.  I scrambled to get spare change at the time to press the designs, and once I was hope I took great pride in adding this new location to their website for other collectors.  Right before this trip I did check the website and it was listed that this original machine had been retired and replace with a new 4 design hand crank model.  Always being prepared I had brought enough change for the new machine and some extra just incase another machine was found.  Good thing I did.  As you can see in the above picture both machines were there.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Machine 01

The original machine was in working order but did have the same designs I had collected 6 years prior.  I figured since I was here I would press a new set.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Pennies 01

For the most part these pennies pressed pretty well, and only one rolled a little short.  The designs included a Seal, two Penguins, and a Sea Turtle.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Machine 02

The second and brand new machine had some very nice cabinet art work and was in perfect working order.  Hanna had a great time trying to help me press the pennies.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Pennies 02

Each of these designs said Jenkinson’s Aquarium and had images of a Clown Fish, Penguin, Seahorse and a Shark.  With the two sets of pennies in my pocket we finished our visit to the Aquarium which was just the right size for Hanna.  He had a great time and it seemed to keep her entertained right up until we had to leave.

It’s a Girl

I wanted to take a quick opportunity to announce that my wife gave birth to our second daughter today.

It's A Girl 02

Our special little girl’s name is Melody and she arrive at a little after 2pm this afternoon after about 16 hours of labor.


Both baby and mommy are doing great and hopefully we will be able to take her home soon to meet the rest of the family.  In preparation of her arrival I had gone through my penny collection and found these two coins.  I’m not sure exactly why I had them or how I acquired them but it must have been fate.

It's A Girl 01

Now I just need to sign her up for a Junior TEC News subscription.  It’s never too early to get her into the hobby.  Who needs to put spare money into a college account when there are pressed pennies to collect.

Thanks again for all the support and well wishes, they are all very much appreciated.

NJ Minor League Baseball Stadiums

For baseball fans this is a great time of year with the World Series in full gear (game 4 is later tonight).  After what always seems like a very long season it’s down to just two teams, the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals.

2015 MLB WS

For the Royals this year is a return to the World Series who unfortunately lost last year to the San Francisco Giants.  The only World Series Championship the Royals have, was in 1985 when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.

KC Royals 1985 Ring

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my parents are huge Mets fans and have been waiting for this moment for quite a while.  The last time they were in the World Series was in 2000 when they played a Subway Series again their cross town rivals the New York Yankees but the Yankees won the series.  Then in 2006 they were one win away from going back to the World Series but came up short.  Their last World Series win was back in 1986 when they beat the Boston Red Sox.  Needless to say my parents are anxiously awaiting to see if they can finally bring home the championship once again.

NY Mets 1986 Ring

With baseball on my mind I thought back to a couple of years ago when my family decided to check out a handful of local Minor League baseball teams.  This ended up being a great experience, we saw some excellent baseball, tickets are dirt cheap, and if memory serves me every stadium had a penny machine.  So I dug through my collection and decided to post about these stadiums and the coins that were and in some instances are still available.

Our first team to visit are the Camden Riversharks who play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.  They are not associates with any MLB team and would be considered a Single-A level team.  Their home is Campbell’s Field which is located along the Delaware river by the Camden waterfront.  Behind the outfield fence the stadium gives a beautiful view of the Ben Franklin Bridge and on nice days the Philadelphia Skyline.

Camden Riversharks Stadium

The last time I visited the stadium they had two penny machines available right on the main concourse.  Some of the stadiums keep their machines in the gift shops which can be very hectic during games.  But the benefit of having them in the gift shops is that they are usually available on days when games are not being played.

Camden Riversharks Machine 01

The first machine had three designs.  I always like these sets of coins as they are unique for each team and rarely do I see generic baseball designs at multiple machines.  The first set of designs were: the RiverSharks “C” logo, My Lucky Penny Camden NJ, and the RiverSharks Main Logo.

Camden Riversharks Pennies 02

A short walk along the concourse and I found the second machine which couldn’t have been more than 100 feet away from the first with an additional three designs.

Camden Riversharks Machine 02

The images available on these coins were: Campbell’s Field, I Love Baseball, and RiverSharks with the Ben Franklin Bridge in the background.

Camden Riversharks Pennies 01

This really was a nice stadium to visit and most times I schedule to see a game after spending the day at the nearby Adventure Aquarium or USS New Jersey Battleship which are located right nearby.  Unfortunately as I was researching this post I read that the RiverSharks would be relocating to New Britain, CT for the 2016 season.

Next we traveled over to see the Lakewood BlueClaws who play in the South Atlantic League and are associated with the Philadelphia Phillies.  They are also considered a Single-A level team and have had some famous MLB players come through their doors: Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, and Shane Victorino to name just a few.  Their home field is called FirstEnergy Park which was built in 2001.

Lakewood Blueclaws Stadium

This is another really nice stadium to take in a game.  I have seen quite a few games here as the stadium isn’t too far away from our home.  They have great in-between inning events to keep the crowd entertained.  One of our favorites is the Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese race that takes place at the end of the 4th inning each game.  For those of you that don’t know what Pork Roll is, well it’s a Jersey thing and is kind of like Canadian Bacon but not.  If you really want to know more you can click here to get some more information.  Anyways, the premise of the race is simple there are people dressed up in costumes that look like a Pork Roll slice, a fried Egg, and a wedge of Cheese.  They start their race just behind first base and have to run around the field with the winner crossing the finish line near home plate.

Pork Egg Cheese

As with all other Stadiums their gift shop is stocked full of souvenirs, jerseys, hats, t-shirts and anything you can image that would fit the team logo.  At this stadium their Pressed Penny machine is also located there.  This can cause some difficulty trying to use the machine as these gift shops tend to be very busy but the die-hard penny collector can always make do.

Lakewood Blueclaws Machine

This penny pincher machine has rolled the designs short in the past, but I was able to get a nice set the last time I was there.

Lakewood Blueclaws Pennies

Each design had some nice detail and were inspired by the team.  The designs included: A Blueclaw Crab holding a baseball bat, another BlueClaw Crab throwing a baseball, Buster the team mascot, and a special 10th Season design.  As you can see from the picture the teams 10th season actually took place in 2010 but they still had this design available until the machine was removed late in 2014.  I visited this park earlier this year (2015) and the machine had not been returned but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s just taking a little longer to create some new great designs.

 Located in Somerset which is near Bridgewater Township are the Somerset Patriots which is a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.  They are also a team not affiliated with a major league team and is a Single-A level team.  The team plays at the TD Bank ballpark which first opened 1999.  The Patriots are the winningest franchise in the Atlantic League with 6 championships (2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2015).

Somerset Patriots Stadium

I have gone to about 3 or 4 games and the Patriots really are a consistently great team. Each game I have gone to they dominated their opponents.  This is another really nice stadium with some great concessions and they also have made a pledge to offer health food to those looking for an alternative to the usually ballpark fare of hot dogs.  The Patriots Team store is located right near the main gate.  The penny machine located here has moved a few times.

Somerset Patriots Machine

Sometimes it’s inside the gift shop and other times it’s outside, so if you don’t immediately see it just keep looking.  The last time I made it to a game was in 2013 and it was located outside as pictures above.

Somerset Patriots Pennies

This penny pincher machine has always pressed nice full designs every time I had used it, but unfortunately the designs have not changed since my very first visit.  The four designs are: Somerset Patriots Logo, Slider one of their mascots, Sparkee their other mascot, and their stadium the TD Bank ballpark.  I sent an email to the stadium asking about this machine and was informed that it is still available but with their season over the machine won’t be available until next season.

Our last stop on this trip around New Jersey is right in my backyard.  Well not exactly but the Trenton Thunder are only about 10 minutes away so this is a team we go and see a few times a year.  The Thunder are a Double-A level team, are a member of the Atlantic League, and happen to be associated with the New York Yankees.  Their stadium used to be called Waterfront Park as it was located right along the Delaware river, but was renamed in 2012 as Arm & Hammer Park.

Trenton Thunder Stadium

The Trenton Thunder have had quite few Yankee alumni come through as they rehab from injuries and always attract a huge crowd when they come to town.  These alum include Roger Clemens, Robinson Cano, and Derek Jeter but there are many that have graced this field.

Jeter Trenton

Whenever you manage to pull yourself away from the action on the field as with the other stadiums you can visit the team gift shop.  The first few times I visited the field their penny machine was located here, but the last time I was able to find their machine it was located near the press box near seating section H.

As you can see from the above picture the machine was located at the top of the steps for some of the more popular seating sections located right behind home plate and was also beside some vendor tables.  This made the location a little busy and the ushers don’t let you go to your seat during play so if you try to use the machine during an inning the crowd around the machine can make accessing it almost impossible.

Trenton Thunder Pennies

As you can see from all the designs listed in this post they were for the most part unique for each team which makes them fun to collect.  These pennies for the Trenton team included their multiple mascots: Boomer, Strike, Trenton Thunder logo, and Chase & Derby their bat dogs.  Let me explain that one a little bit  Instead of having bat boys that run out to collect the home teams bats after each at bat, they have dogs that run out and get the bats instead.  It’s kind of cute and helps them bring awareness to adopting animals from local shelters.

Chase Thunder Bat Dog

Chase as seen above was the original bat dog and made his first appearance in the 2002 season.  One of his puppies Home Run Derby (Derby for short) was also trained and help with the duties during games.  Chase retired due to health reasons on July 5th, 2013 with a part and video tribute hosted by the Trenton Thunder team.  He died only a few days later on July 8th, 2013 from lymphoma that he had been diagnosed from earlier in the year, Chase was 13 years old.  The tradition has continued on as Chase’s granddog (Derby’s puppy) named Rookie made his first appearance in the Thunder’s 2015 season.  Below is a picture of Derby and his pup Rookie.

Rookie and Derby

Well that was a fun little way to end this post.  I always find it fun to just peruse my collection and see where I have been and what I have collected.  As our lives get busier and stress levels maxing out some days it’s nice to take some time and just partake in something you really enjoy and have a passion for.  This post did just that for me as I love my pressed pennies, and now it’s just about time to get ready for someone to be crowned World Series Champions.

Historic Smithville – Atlantic County, NJ

I know some people don’t want to hear it but the Holiday Season is quickly approaching.  Usually in December when there is just a little snow on the ground and a slight chill in the air we take a trip down to southern Jersey to a place called Historic Smithville.  This quaint little village is so beautiful with the snow cover the little store fronts and the holiday spirit just seems to radiate from this place.

Well this year we decided to visit a little earlier.  There was no holiday shopping going on, and thankfully no snow on the ground but this is still a really nice place to spend an afternoon.

Smithville 03

Smithville as a community has existing since American Revolutionary War and had remained largely untouched until the 1960’s.  It has since become a popular tourist attraction, and has over 80 unique little shops for you to go and explore.

Smithville 01

The shops are located along these nice little walkways that kind of take you back in time.  For the kids (or the young at heart) there is a carousel and a model train at the Smithville Railroad Co. offering rides for a small fee.

Smithville 02

After walking around and visiting all the shops if you get hungry there is a really nice place to sit and enjoy some food.

The Smithville Inn was originally built-in 1787 by James Baremore with just a single room but was located along a well-traveled stagecoach route.  It was eventually abandoned at the turn of the 1900’s, but in 1952 it was restored and opened as a restaurant.  We have eaten here a few times and never had a bad meal.  I’m a sucker for their Smithville Pot Pie, but they also have a fantastic Prime Rib.

Afterwards we headed back around the village to try to walk off our lunch and I took this opportunity to stop into a small little building.  This is where you can find the Antique Arcade.

Smithville 05

As the sign indicates inside this building you can find some antique arcade machines.  There is one that you turn a dial and can create a Sheriff’s badge with your name or any other message on it.  But what I was really here for is the penny machine.

Historic Smithville

This is a three design hand crank machine.  As I mentioned this building is kind of small so using the penny machine can be a little difficult if there are a lot of people inside.  Luckily for us the place was empty.

Historic Smithville Pennies

All three of the designs say “Historic Smithville”.  They did press a little short, but I pressed a couple sets and was able to adjust the design selection slightly to help get a better pressing.  The images on the pennies are: A Stagecoach, a Carousel Horse, and the Train Engine.

It was nice to be able to visit Historic Smithville without a huge Holiday crowd and made the experience much more relaxing.  However it just wasn’t the same without all the Holiday decorations and warm hot chocolate available in the stores.  Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the trip back once the Holiday’s are upon us.