Definitions

elongated

Elongated coin

Elongated coins are coins that have been flattened, stretched and imprinted with a new design with the purpose of creating a commemorative or souvenir token. The collecting of elongated coins is a branch of numismatics. Elongated coins can also be categorized as exonumia.

The first elongated coins in the United States were created at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois held in 1893. Several designs were issued to commemorate the fair, and such coins can still be found in circulation in the elongated coin collecting community today.

The earliest elongated coin designer on record is Charles Damm, who created the design for the elongated coins available at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

The most well-known and prolific engraver is Frank Brazzel. Brazzel died in the early 1990s, but many of his designs are still being rolled today. He helped establish many rollers (those who roll elongated coins) in their businesses. Another of the most famous engravers is Jim Dundon of Florida. His designs, and those of his son, James, can be found across the country.

The hobby of collecting elongated coins (token coins) has expanded throughout the United States and the world. Most modern coin elongating machines can be found in museum or landmark gift shops, souvenir stores, zoos, amusement parks and other locations of this kind. Private engravers make special-issue elongated coins to commemorate historical events, personal landmarks (such as marriage or birth of a child), or other events warranting celebration. They also design elongated coins for private clubs and organizations.

Process

An early and common method of coin elongation was smashing pennies by leaving them on a railroad track. When a train rolls over a penny, the force is sufficient to cause plastic deformation that flattens and stretches it into an oval, showing only the faintest trace of the original design.

Modern elongated coins are created by inserting a standard, small denomination coin into a small rolling mill consisting of two steel rollers pressed against each other with sufficient force to deform the coin. One of the rollers (called the "die") is engraved with a design that imprints a new image into the metal as the coin passes through it. The resulting coin is oval-shaped and shows a design corresponding to the design on the die in the mill.

Generally, in America, pennies are used in these machines, as they are thin, easy to mutilate, and are the smallest denomnation of American money (you only lose one cent worth of coinage to make the coin, though many machines charge 50 cents in addition to the penny).

Legality

The process of creating elongated coins is legal in the United States, Japan, South Africa and parts of Europe. In the United States, U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 17, Section 331 prohibits "the mutilation, diminution and falsification of United States coinage." The foregoing statute, however, does not prohibit the mutilation of coins if the mutilated coins are not used fraudulently, i.e., with the intention of creating counterfeit coinage. Because elongated coins are made mainly as souvenirs, mutilation for this purpose is legal. While it is no longer illegal in the United Kingdom to mutilate the image of the Queen, it is still illegal in Canada. There, blank planchets, slugs or U.S. pennies are occasionally used, though this law is often ignored both by the users of the machine and law enforcement. This method is also often used in countries, such as Australia, who either do not or no longer have a penny(Or equivalent) coin.

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