Are Elongated Pennies Legal?

I’m serious that those pennies you crush up or press at theme parks and tourist attraction locations with the location’s emblem are called elongated coins.

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.

I’ve always wondered if it was some trickery or if it was really legal to destroy U.S. issued currency for something silly like these elongated pennies.

But while I was at Snoqualmie Falls, I noticed this sign on the Penny Presser:

penny pressers legality


Yes, it is legal to elongate coins under 331, title 18 of the United States Code. It is illegal only if someone fraudulently mutilates the coin, so elongating coins in this manner is legal.

I’m not exactly sure how fraudulently is defined, but does that mean when I defaced all those pennies back in Jr High by rubbing it against the asphalt, that it’s technically legal since I wasn’t defrauding anyone? Ooooh! Shiny! I hope I didn’t just self incriminate myself.

While I was at the Space Needle, I noticed they also have Quarter Pressers. However, they cost 50 cents more. $0.51 = 1 elongated penny. $1.25 = 1 elongated quarter. What a rip off. However, my sister collects them as souvenirs, so oh well.

I guess pennies do have a use after all! And Congress was thinking of scrapping away the penny. Think of all the penny elongators that will have to be scrapped! ;p

Now, if I light my cigarette with a $100 bill, I wonder if that’s still legal:
lighting cigatter with dollar bill

5 thoughts on “Are Elongated Pennies Legal?

  1. Pennies, like all money in America, is expected to eventually be lost or destroyed. Different coinage and bills have certain “lifetimes of use” in which they statistically disappear from circulation. This is a very important statistic which helps the Department of Treasury decide how many new units to put into production. In other words, not only is it illegal, it is expected that money will be damaged, tarnished, or destroyed.

    Anyways, the real fun thing is to put a penny on a train track and then retrieve it after it has been run over. That’s what we used to do in Boy Scouts, at least.

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