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Silly question

My wife wants me to ask you good folks a question.

She has a type tray in which she keeps small trinkets from our travels.

One of her favorite small things is the machines that take $0.50 and a penny and then squish the penny and adds a design. Its a little, inexpensive memento that she can easily display in the type tray and is easy to carry.

A friend just recently returned from 2 weeks hiking in Scotland and said she saw these machines occasionally but never used it. My wife wants to know what coins they usually take so we can always have some handy for our trip in June.

I would guess they would use the UK equivalent and use 1p and 20p coins.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, they do exist, but they are not very common. I do remember seeing them in a few places, in the UK and other countries, but I cannot recall where.
I don't think they are very fussy what coins you put in, as the machine is squishing them. You have to put in an extra real coin as well to pay, they want to make a profit.
I think a Scotsman would object to destroying a 20p coin, 1p or 2p only :-)

For a small mementoes and reminders, how about keeping transport tickets. Train ticket, London tube, Paris métro ticket etc.

Posted by
1068 posts

I LOVE THOSE TOO! So this question intrigued me so much I googled to find out what those machines/coins are called - and found this!

http://www.pennycollector.com/Locations.aspx?area=92

The coins are called "elongated coins," and the link above is to a site that lists locations in the UK. It's actually been updated as recently as this month, so it's fresh. Looks like a penny is fairly standard, but some machines take other coins.

Happy hunting for the machines - and have a great time!

Posted by
47 posts

Chris F,
In the US, the penny is destroyed and becomes the souvenir. The $0.50 is the fee.

Posted by
21849 posts

I see them in some of the tourist areas. It is very clear on the front of the machine the coins to be inserted. If you have a hand full of coins I am sure you will have the correct coins.

Posted by
1953 posts

I keep these squished pennies in the pockets of various jackets, though not usually the jackets I have on when I do the squishing. I'm especially fond of the ones with female saints.
The machines usually have more than one design to choose from, and I find that if you turn the crank so that you're not quite right-on-the-money you can generate interesting double exposures, too.

Posted by
518 posts

Yeah, these things are very popular in the States. You're likely to find them at tourist attractions (i.e., here in the west coast, Santa Monica pier in LA, Fisherman's Wharf in SF, Old Town Sacramento). I agree with keeping transit tickets as a good souvenir. I've saved many of mine, from all over the world, along with hotel business cards, menus, and other such things. They're basically free souvenirs, and unlike some more expensive things like locally made handcrafts etc., these items aren't likely to be available for purchase anywhere online.

Posted by
3936 posts

When we were in the south of France, there were machines that gave our a fake euro bill with a picture of the attraction you were visiting...we got one in Arles and one in Nimes and one somewhere else. Not as small as the squished pennies tho...

Posted by
11292 posts

I saw several of these machines on my recent trip to the UK, but unfortunately, I don't remember what coins they took. I do think it cost more than 20p, though - maybe as much as £1?

However, you will quickly accumulate a large variety of coins, whether you want to or not, so don't worry. These machines are often near gift shops, so you can always get change there.

I do remember one of these machines in the Dublin airport, which would have been a problem if I wanted to use it. Since I was going from the US to the UK and back, and merely connecting in Dublin but not stopping in Ireland, I had USD coins and GBP coins, but not EUR coins! One way I could have gotten them was to buy something from the snack stand with cash; the vendors will take foreign notes, but give you change in EUR coins.

Posted by
2353 posts

I have collected those for years...I remember I was so excited to find one on the Tower Bridge! The Penny Collector site is a great resource

Posted by
16883 posts

From the list linked above, I can confirm seeing them at Portsmouth Naval Museum and Bletchley Park last month.

Posted by
11292 posts

The Penny Collector website above is fascinating. Looking at the sights I visited, I see there were MANY machines I would have encountered.

Posted by
697 posts

We have a couple of these from our trips to London, Paris & Italy. Tell your wife its a fun question not silly.