Ben's First Pressed Penny and My Wife Trolling Me

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Revenant

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We went to the Houston Zoo as a family yesterday with my son, wife, and her parents. The zoo here is full of those old penny press machines. I'm sure most of us in the US will be familiar with them but I don't know if they're common outside the United States.

For those unfamiliar with the concept: You feed the machine $0.51 (2 quarters and 1 penny) and turn a press-wheel. The quarters go to pay the machine / the company that owns it. The penny... gets smashed. The machine presses / rolls the penny and reshapes it into a thin oval with a new pattern / design on it. I think the Houston zoo has 4-6 of these machines, each one having four different designs that you can press into the penny, so if you wanted to you could make quite a set of zoo / animal themed novelty pressed-pennies.

While we were in the reptile house my son saw one of the machines and got really excited about it. There have been a few times when he was younger where he wanted to play with the machine and just spazzed out about spinning the wheel round and round - not really understanding the purpose of the machine. This time we decided to let him press a penny. When the penny got to the point where it was going through the press it got too hard for him to do on his own and I provided a little extra torque.

I have joked with my wife about the possibility of coming to the zoo with a roll of uncirculated, shiny new pennies when he is closer to 5 and making a day of collecting a full set of the designs from all the machines. My wife countered with possibly starting a tradition of having him do one penny every time we come and building a set over time with each visit.

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In other news, my wife has been trolling my photographic efforts recently.

I had set up the camera and tripod and made a little area for trying to image some things. My wife decided that she wanted to get a picture of the cake she had just made (the very pink cake she had just made). She walks up, says, "well, since you've got this set up so nice already," drops her piece of cake right in the middle of my set-up and takes a picture of it with her phone. She is smirking the entire time.  I'm just looking at her like, "Are you for real right now?" And she just laughs. 

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I'll cap off a family-centric post with an update on the pregnancy:

As of yesterday, we're 27 weeks in with it expected that we'll have the baby by C-section at 34-35 weeks. The main thing at this point is that she must take things easy and watch for bleeding. If she bleeds or starts having early contractions it could force the doctors to take the baby out earlier - maybe immediately. I am told that these cases deliver prior to 34 weeks about 40% of the time.

28 weeks into the pregnancy is a major milestone. At that point, the start of the third trimester, the baby can be born with minimal, if any, long-term health problems. That's only 6 days away. 30 weeks and 32 weeks are also great milestones with survival virtually guaranteed at that point. At 34 weeks, the baby might only stay in the NICU for one week.

One week ago, on the 21st, we went out and took some maternity shots. I took the photos and retouched them myself and I've attached one of my favorites below. My camera skills were definitely part of the deal when she married me.

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I am glad to hear that things are going well.

I have never used one of those press machines, but I will be on the lookout for one. I have stumbled across a few of the elongated coins before. 

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Elongated cents are a cool way to introduce your son to numismatics! I like your wife's idea of getting your son a new cent if you go to the zoo on a regular or semi-regular basis. Like your son I think that the elongated cent with the Komodo dragon is really neat. I usually end up picking one of these cents up for free at coins shows. I really enjoy the family aspects of your posts and the wonderful pictures of your family. Every week of your wife's pregnancy is better than the last. With my son my wife had exactly what your wife had. As she moved into the third trimester on bed rest the bleeding stopped and my son was born at full term naturally. My son even at 30 years old still loves to hear the story of how his life was saved before he was born. Every Mothers Day we think of the sacrifice my wife made to be on bed rest so that he could be born healthy. I always say that this is the essence of motherhood, that the mother would willingly and gladly give all to ensure the welfare of her children.  

Edited by gherrmann44

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9 hours ago, gherrmann44 said:

Elongated cents are a cool way to introduce your son to numismatics! I like your wife's idea of getting your son a new cent if you go to the zoo on a regular or semi-regular basis. Like your son I think that the elongated cent with the Komodo dragon is really neat. I usually end up picking one of these cents up for free at coins shows. I really enjoy the family aspects of your posts and the wonderful pictures of your family. Every week of your wife's pregnancy is better than the last

 

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy them. There will be more to come. They give those away to you for free at coin shows? One of these days I'll get to hit up more shows.

9 hours ago, gherrmann44 said:

As she moved into the third trimester on bed rest the bleeding stopped and my son was born at full term naturally.

Even if things go as well as they possibly can, and even if you define "full-term" generously at 37 weeks, there is zero chance of a full term birth or a natural birth in our case.

Edited by Revenant

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Hey Revenant,

What a great post!  I'm a big animal person, and it's awesome that you are exposing Ben to animals at the zoo and instilling that love in him.  Those are some great photos you shared, and Ben looks like he's having a blast!  And, as I am a big reptile and fish person, kudos are in order for starting his elongated penny collection with the reptile house design!  Though I love almost all animals (I really only dislike rodents,dogs and opossums.  I love almost anything else, though), sometimes it seems like mammals get a disproportionate amount of admiration from humans.  Maybe it's because we're mammals......who knows?  But I'm more excited about a komodo dragon, american alligator, snapping turtle or golden eagle over a lion or wolf anyday!!  I also think your wife has a great plan with getting Ben a new design each time you guys go to the zoo......it's a great way to make an already fun time even better!  Icing on the cake, so to speak, pun definitely intended ;)

I'm glad to hear that things are going well with the pregnancy as well and I must commend you on your photographic abilities.  You definitely have talent, my friend!  I can photograph coins, but I pretty much suck at anything else.

Cheers!

~Tom

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We have the elongated penny machines here in the UK but they are very few and far between, they seem much more common in the US.

I wish you and your wife well and trust everything goes according to plan, best wishes.

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I started collecting the elongated pennies as a souvenir from each National Park we visit. My grandson (6) showed some interest so last fall I picked up 6 or 7 from our camping trip out west. What a great way to remember a visit. They make little notebooks to store the pennies and I have almost  filled my second book already :) What fun

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27 minutes ago, rons said:

What a great way to remember a visit. They make little notebooks to store the pennies and I have almost  filled my second book already :) What fun

I know! I've seen those too and I was telling my wife and mother-in-law about them and saying we should get Ben a book for his. I don't think I'd ever be able to find it if I tried but I remember getting one of these with the San Jacinto monument on it when I visited the site as a kid and another one with a space shuttle when I went to NASA once.

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I find the notebooks in the gift shops at most National Parks. Occasionally they are sold out but the is the most reliable source. Good Luck :)

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Just FYI, the website PennyCollector.com is dedicated to elongated cents.  It also has a location page that lists the location of elongated cent presses all over the world, including the machines at the Houston Zoo .  I haven't checked, but it looks like most, if not all, have photos of the elongated cents you can make there.

There is also an Elongated Cent Collectors club.  I'm pretty sure those are the folks that give away the free samples at the ANA shows that Gary mentioned above.

Edited by coin928

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3 hours ago, coin928 said:

Just FYI, the website PennyCollector.com is dedicated to elongated cents.  It also has a location page that lists the location of elongated cent presses all over the world, including the machines at the Houston Zoo .  I haven't checked, but it looks like most, if not all, have photos of the elongated cents you can make there.

There is also an Elongated Cent Collectors club.  I'm pretty sure those are the folks that give away the free samples at the ANA shows that Gary mentioned above.

Interesting! Good to know. I never realized it was such a big thing for some people.

Edited by Revenant

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As part of my all-things-Mississippi exonumia collection, I try to get elongated cents from every place that we go in the state that has a machine. I have also purchased a few Lloyd Wagaman creations. (He was an author, token collector, and issuer of limited edition elongateds). It is a very inexpensive way to add to the collection. I think it is great that your son is interested in them.

By the way, you have quite a handsome son, and a very lovely wife, and she sounds like she is a real catch. I hope the pregnancy continues to go well.

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6 hours ago, Just Bob said:

By the way, you have quite a handsome son, and a very lovely wife, and she sounds like she is a real catch. I hope the pregnancy continues to go well.

Thanks. I think they're both great too. :)

 

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My very first coin was in 1992. It was an elongated cent of the Nina one of Columbus ships. Bought it Coney Island. The other two were empty. It was an old fashioned one where you pull the handle.now there is a site for these. It list were every machine in our country. It's pennycollector.com. The mint should look at some.if the designs. Thanks for the memories. Mike

 

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