Auntie Tip: Pressed Pennies, the 51 Cent Souvenir

For last week’s auntie tip, I talked about how I use my camera to save time and money in the gift shops in Walt Disney World. Today, I’ve got another tip that involves saving on souvenirs. For only 51 cents, you can get a souvenir customized with your favorite character, attraction, or park. I’m talking, of course, about pressed pennies.

I first got into pressed pennies after hearing Chuck Lionberger of DisneyDaddy talk about them on Lou Mongello’s podcast, WDW Radio. Now I like to get a couple coins to commemorate each trip. They make great collector’s items, especially if Disney pins and Vinylmation aren’t your thing. And if you’re super crafty, like Jen Yates of EPBOT, you could even make jewelry out of them!

But what I enjoy most of all is getting the pennies with my nieces and nephews. On my last trip with my brother’s family, I let each of the boys pick one pressed penny a day. Three boys times seven days times 51 cents each equals $10.71 total for souvenirs. Not bad, eh? I do have to admit I also bought them a little book to keep their pennies in, and that was another $8 or so. Still, less than $20 for souvenirs for three kids isn’t bad.

So, it’s inexpensive, plus it’s fun. The kids loved picking out their pennies, and some machines even let them press the penny themselves by turning a crank, making it more of an experience than merely a purchase. The older boys also liked to look at their pennies as they rode along in their stroller.

Kids looking at their pressed penny collection

To press a penny, you’ll need your own penny and two quarters. I stockpile coins before my trips and then carry them in an old M&M’s MINIS container. I keep the pressed pennies in a change purse. For the best quality press, you should use pre-1982 pennies. Newer pennies are more zinc than copper so you get silvery streaks when they’re pressed. That does mean you may need to clean the pennies, before or after you press them. PennyCollector.com has a long list of cleaning methods; I’ve done the vinegar and salt method and it worked reasonably well.

I should mention that in addition to penny presses, there are also nickel and quarter presses in just about every park. If there’s a certain character you’re looking for, you can ask for a map of the presses at Guest Services, but I think the hunt is part of the fun.

Here are a few coins from my collection. Are there any other pressed penny enthusiasts out there?

Epcot Figment Pressed PennyDisneyland Dopey Pressed PennyDisneyland WALL-E Pressed Nickel