- The official website for elongated pennies, penny books and penny machines

Use Pre-1982 Pennies
Submitted by

Serious collectors will use pennies minted prior to 1982 because after 1982 the mint began to use a percentage of 99.2% zinc with a 0.8% copper - coating. In pre-1982 pennies that percentage was 95% copper, 5% zinc.

Although it is difficult to tell the difference between the two, it becomes more obvious once the penny is elongated. The elongation process will reveal the zinc below the copper and many collectors find the appearance of zinc in the design detracting from the design of the die itself.

Zinc doesn't polish very well either and tarnishes to a dark gray.

1909 - 1942, 1944-1962
95% copper, 5% tin & zinc
1943 - 1943
Steel coated with zinc
1962 to 1982
95% copper, 5% zinc
1982 to date
99.2% zinc, 0.8% copper - coated with a pure copper.

Roll'em New!
Submitted by Boomer at

Some coin shops offer uncirculated common date pre 1982 cents for sale tubes of 50 and bags of 5,000.

Pros: They are ready to roll!

Cons: Pennies may cost a few cents each. Probably no coin image will show on the back of the rolled ec from these supper clean coins. Also, this is just plain lazy! (Is that a “con”?)

Short Rolls
Submitted by Brad and Kay

Many may not realize that although they like their ec's rolled on copper rather then zinc cents, that the zinc being softer will roll a little longer than the copper. Some machines are adjuted to roll zincs and the coppers roll short, a possible help on the rollers part would be to spray their copper cents with teflon or silicon spray, then wipe them off, do NOT leave them wet, enough of the coating will remain to make the coin roll a little longer. If you leave them wet it will likely cause problems and even if your coin goes thru machine it will be no better than one you put thru wiped off, the teflon stays on even when wiped off.

Special Year
Submitted by Thomas L.

When making an elongated penny, I always use a specific mint date, for excample, my birth year; or a year that has some numerical significance.

For instance, when at the Battleship New Jersey, I would use a 1962 penny, because that ship's Hull Number is BB-62. Also, I always insert the penny so that the "heads" side ends up on the blank side of the squashed penny. That way, the mint date can still be readable on the finished product.

As for precleaning the pennys, I like to leave a little tarnish around the mint date, and other features so they show up better afterwards!

Canadian Pennies
Submitted by George R.

I have used canadian pennies and the result has been great. the imprint comes out and the elongation does not happen. the final product is a nicer compact result than the U.S. pennies.

[See our FAQ page for more on Canadian Pennies]

Don't Use Rubber Bands
Submitted by Earl Settle Tec# 2958 PC0233

If you are out smashing without your PennyCollector book with you, never use a rubber band to keep pennies together as it can leave ugly marks on the coins over time.

Instead, write the location details on a peice of paper and wrap the pennies up, then rubber band over the paper to keep them together.

Long Tail
Submitted by Rachael H.

I am a new collector and when I got a penny with a long tail I got scared that I did somthing wrong!

Don't worry!

It's just the machine.Also when you've been waiting for a while for your penny to come out REMEMBER that you did NOT do anything wrong and that it just takes a while.

[For more about Long Tails, see our FAQ page]

Call Ahead
Submitted by Marie

I wasn't exactly thrilled with the thought of traveling with 20 rolls of quarters and lots of rolls of BU coppers. So I thought to call ahead to the cashier at the hotel where I am staying. They will have extra rolls of quarters on hand for me when I arrive. This saves my back the weight, and the suspicion that I have a very
heavy weapon loaded in my carry on!

See the Date
Submitted by Schaffs

I have a tip that I think would interest newbies and veterans alike. When I get a penny from a machine, I personally like to use 1980 (the year I was born). Anyways, I like to be able to see the year of/on the penny after it has been elongated. I have found that when you place the penny in the slot, if you place the "head side" facing AWAY from the quarters, the back of the EC (or flat side) will usually show the year.


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