How has it started?


Elongated coins are coins rolled through hand cranked mill type machines consisting of reverse-engraved dies cut in steel rollers, similar in concept to wringers on old fashioned washing machines.

Regular coins are run between the rollers under tremendous pressure (about 22 tons), which presses the coin into the die, and due to the pressure, simultaneously stretches the coin into an “Elongated” shape.

Elongated coins come in all denominations including tokens and foreign coins, with the one cent piece being by far the most common in the USA.

In Hungary we use the 2,- HUF (Hungarian Forint) coin, which is very much similar in size, and also in value to the US 1,- cent coin.

With its start as a money making souvenir at world fairs and expositions, the elongated coin has evolved into mementos for most any event, activity, or topic. Many are used as promotional or personal cards. Prices of elongated coins vary depending on the number rolled, age, denomination, popularity of topic or event, even the condition of the coin. There are four published books which catalog elongated coins.

The latest and the most comprehensive was authored by Angelo A. Rosato, “ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE MODERN ELONGATEDS” 1990 (1700 pages- hard bound). Modern elongateds are rolled and sold at many events, fairs, shows, amusement parks and other activities or tourist attractions. The more common elongateds sell for between 50 cents and $1.00, when not used as free hand-outs or tokens. Older elongated coins can be found at coin shops and shows, flea markets, even at garage sales. Prices for older issues and even recent limited edition commemorative elongateds are generally higher. It is estimated that there are well over a thousand “serious” elongated coin collectors with large general collections and many thousands more who collect topical or specialty elongateds. And TEC is a great place to meet these people, find out about elongated coins, and buy, sell or make trades.”







Starting the EC business in Hungary

Here is a story about how I started the EC business in Hungary.

Seven years ago we went to the USA with my wife (girlfriend those days) We spent 5 days in New York, 5 in California and 5 in Florida. Our first meeting with an EC machine happened in S.F. at the Golden Gate bridge. The penny design was beautiful and very sophisticated, so we loved the small copper penny at first sight. Following that – in the Disney World of Florida – came the following elongates.

After coming home I wrote a letter to the Hungarian National Bank, asking for permission to place a penny press machine somewhere in Budapest.

The reply came within two weeks: ” alternating the Hungarian official currency means destroying it, it is against the law, and has a penalty of HUF (Hungarian Forint) 10.000,- (roughly USD 40,-). So, we became disappointed. Nevertheless, some time later, I had the opportunity to attend a conference, where the president of the Hungarian National Bank also gave a lecture. While listening to his lecture I thought to myself: “Hey, Tibor! This is the right man in front of you! Why don’t you approach him during the coffee brake and ask him how rigid this approach towards “destroying” the HUF is? So, having collected all my courage, I stepped to him – causing a big surprise among his body guards – and asked: “Mr. President, do you think the National Bank should punish those who want to make a souvenir coin out of a coin?? – He said he didn’t think so. “Than why is it illegal?” – Is it illegal? “Yes it is” – I’ll check! And off he went.

I have all forgotten about this brief conversation. Many-many months later, at the very beginning of year 2002, I went to a numismatic shop in downtown Budapest. I told about my thoughts to the man in the shop, and he said “I have a friend at the National Bank. He told he had heard something that things might have changed in the meantime” So: immediate letter to the National Bank… and the reply:

from march 2000 on it is no more illegal to alternate the Hungarian National currency.

Cool! The road was free!

The next step?

Choosing a manufacturer from the USA and choosing a good location in Budapest. The latter took about 4 months. Making the designs, the ordering procedure, the negotiations concerning payment etc. took another 2 months, but finally in September 2002 the first EC machine came to Hungary! (To stuck to the truth I have to confess that I’ve seen two “home-made” EC machines in Budapest (one at a movie theatre, one at a shopping mall), but they were soon removed after that. Why? Probably bad location, or lack of interest, probably the bad look of the machine, probably the fact that the “Out of order” sign had to be hang on the machine too often…) Our site for the automatic, 3 die automatic machine became the Tropicarium, which is a big Sea Aquarium, having all kind of reptiles and insects, too. It’s a great fun for both children and adults!
Having sent he success, in October 2004 I bought my second, hand crank 4 die machine for the Place called Palace of Wonders, which is a place where – mostly – school children can experience with the help of different devices all the wonders of the nature like the sound , the light, the electricity, the laser, the holography etc.

Now we have 12 penny machines, mostly in Budapest.

Operating penny press machines is my hobby, and I am starting to make a living on it, too. It is a triple happiness for me to: – have started something new, – to earn some money, – and to see the happy faces of the children while pressing!