Elongated coins are coins that have been pressed, mashed, flattened or 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. (Source: The Encyclopedia of the Elongated Coin by Angelo Rosato)
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.
How are Elongated Coins Made? Most people are familiar with the idea of smashing pennies by leaving them on a railroad track. When a train rolls over a coin, it exerts intense pressure, creating heat and softening the coin so that it flattens and stretches into an oval, showing only the faintest trace of the original design.
Modern elongated coins are created by inserting a standard coin, usually a cent, into a commercial rolling mill consisting of two steel rollers pressed against each other that exert up to 22 tons of pressure. One of the rollers (called the "die") is engraved with a special 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.
The Elongated Collectors (TEC) web site.
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