Here are the latest additions to my ever growing collection. These were added to the site on December 2, 2006.
In 2006, the Exploratorium, the hands-on science museum here in San Francisco, got two new 4-die penny smashers. One of the machines highlights their Sports Science exhibit which includes Skateboarding.
We used to be members of the Exploratorium. We signed up at a level that got us yearly parties in the Tactile Dome, which, I think, is a totally dark room where you crawl around and feel stuff with your hands and feet and stuff. Why don't I know for sure? We never used our coupons for the parties. Maybe they're still good, it's only been 10 years or so.
The Science of Sports is an exhibit at the Exploratorium in San FRancisco. If you want to know how a curveball works, go here.
I know my eyesight is going (my doctor says I should get bifocals) but I don't think anybody could read the fine print on this coin from the Exploratorium.
This is the classic perception test: do you see two faces in profile or a vase?
Another optical illusion from the Exploratorium. When you see this at the museum, the circle makes it look like the arrows are bending around it. I'm not sure it translates in the tiny version on the coin, and certainly not in the even tinier scan of the coin you see here.
This one is similar to the face or vase perception test. At the Exploratorium, it's about 8 feet tall.
Traits of Life Exploratorium - San Francisco - When they got the two new machines in Spring 2006, I went there and saw them still in their crates. Obviously I went back later, maybe persistence is one of the traits of life
Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago I think this place is left over from the Columbian Exhibition of 1893. Cori, Callie, and Cody, our friends from the Giants game went there on their vacation in 2005. OK, they went all over the midwest on their vaction and brought back a ton of coins. Thanks you guys.
I should do some research, but what good would it do? The Navy Pier in Chicago is a place that's been reclaimed from destruction and turned into some kind of tourist destination. Cori, Callie, and Cody were destined to stop there in 2005.
Cori, Callie, and Cody had a great time in Chicago, they visited all the best places including Charlie Trotter's restaurant. I guess Charlie didn't have a penny smasher, so they got me this one from the Navy Pier.
Mall of America is in Bloomington Minnesota. I guess there's not a lot else in Bloomington, because people always go to the Mall of America. I guess it's huge, you tell me.
Camp Snoopy - Mall of America Cori, Callie, and Codi went on a trip around the midwest in 2005 while the Giants were out of town. They went to a lot of places, including the Mall of America where they got this coin. Did I mention that in second grade my mother made me a Snoopy halloween costume? We had this old leather aviator helmet with goggles that I wore, a full body dog suit and an attachable snout. I won first prize at the El Camino Theater costume contest. It was a transistor radio.
Is it me, or do you find it ironic that this Mall of America coin has a picture of a German car on it? Cori, Cody, and Callie liked it enough to get it for me when they were there on their midwest ballpark tour in 2005.
When Cori, Callie, and Codi went to the Metrodome in 2005 to see the Twins play, Justin Morneau was injured so Callie played DH for the Twins and hit two doubles off the baggie.
Did you know that one of the Minnesota Twins is a bear? I wonder what the other one is... Thanks to Cori, Callie, and Codi for this coin.
I guess 2005 was the last year of the old Busch Stadium. Now they have new Busch Stadium, and waht do you know, they won the World Series in 2006.
Cardinals 2005 - Do I hate the Cardinals? No I don't, but their fans I've met are dumb. One time a very officious Cardinal fan sat in front of me at the Giants game and talked about the 309 foot right field corner at the China Basin ballpark, she said that that was why Bonds had broken McGwire's record. She obviously, for a lot fo reasons, didn't know what she was talking about.
Cleveland Indians - Oh yeah the Giants beat the Indians in the (1954) World Series... uh huh.. We're the best.
Jacobs Field is where the Indians play. It was one of the first of the new style downtown ballparks and totally revitalized baseball in Cleveland, or so I'm told.
Cedar Point - America's Roller Coast This amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio (we were there in 1993, Sandusky, not Cedar POint) apparently they have the most roller coasters of any amusement park in the country. So, you better get over there.
Pirates - Brady and I were in Pittsburgh back in 1993, that was before they tore down Three Rivers Stadium and built the new ballpark there. It takes a pretty long home to hit the ball into the river, but it can be done, I saw it on TV.
PNC Park - This is the new home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cori, Callie and Codi went there in 2005 on their long roadtrip through the mdiwest. Is Pittsburgh in the midwest? Who knows, anyway, I don't think this penny really captures the place, not that I've been there, but I don't think it's so monolithic.
Explain to me how Cori, Callie, anc Codi could go from South Dakota, to Milwaukee to Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and all points thereabouts in two weeks. Don't both, I'll look at a map. Did I mention that my head is the second from the left?
Cori, Callie, and Codie, our friends from the Giants game, visited the Porn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. I was really sort of surprised because they really don't sem like the kind of people who'd be interested in porn. Plus, why go all the way to South Dakota for it? After all they have free wi-fi at the Giants game, belive me, I've looked at a few pictures of Mrs. Tomko there. This penny is really hard to read. UPDATE: Some concerned person wrote to me to say that this is supposed to say "CORN" Palace, not "Porn" Palace, like I said, this penny is hard to read.
Wall Drug since 1831 - This is where I make something up. This is the biggest drugstore in the world, the place where aspirin was invented.
Milwaukee Brewers, even after so many years, I can't get over the idea that the Brewers are in the National League.
Miller Park - This is the new ballpark of the Milwaukee Brewers. Unlike other new ballparks that have been built in recent years, it's in Milwaukee.
I think Jimmy and Jessica got us this coin from the Tillamook Cheese fatory in Oregon (it's in tillamook, duh). When we were there I was absolutely mesmerized by the conveyor belts filled with 10 pound blocks of cheese rolling around. So much so, that I forgot to get this penny for myself. Thanks guys!
My old co-worker, Stephen Moore, sent me this one from a trip he took to Arizona to visit his brother. Stephen's great, he always sends me a detailed letter about what's going on with him along with a coin he's picked up. Do I ever reply? No. I'm a big jerk.
Pixar - I guess this is Nemo, from Finding Nemo. I got this coin from my good friends Eric, Darlene, and Anika. For my birthday in 2006, they pulled some strings with a friend who works at Pixar and got this coin from the Pixar lunchroom in Emeryville.
Pixar - These are characters from Monsters, Inc. another Pixar movie I didn't see. Eric, Darlene, and Anika snuck into the Pixar lunchroom at the headquarters in Emeryville (it isn't easy to do, becasue they have big fences and stuff. maybe the were disguised as lunchroom workers.) and got this coin for me. Thanks for putting yourselves on the line for me guys!
Pixar - Finally, a movie I've seen! These are Woody and Buzz from the Toy Story series. Since Disney bought Pixar, and Disney has tons of penny smashers, they decided to put a penny smasher inside the corporate headquarters of Pixar in Emeryville. Eric and Darlene have a friend who works there, and so for my birthday they asked the friend to get these coins for me, thanks Pixar friend!
This one says "200th Anniversary of the Pueblo of Los Angeles" I got it on Ebay and it really has the look of the kind of private issue coins that came out in the 1970's when elongated coin collecting got popular with a small community of people who were already collecting other kinds of coins and tokens. According to the Encyclopedia of the Modern Elongated this one was commissioned by Cecil E. Walls. Hey a little bit of research shows that the Pueblo was founded in 1781.
Dire Wolf - George C Page Museum - La Brea Tar Pits No wonder the dire wolf went extinct, it was pretty darned skinny.
George C Page Museum - La Brea Tar Pits - I've written about the tar pits before, but it still captivates me not only for the smelly bubbling goo that percolates out of the ground all over the place, but for the transformation from roadside attraction to research and education center in the middle of some of the most expensive real estate in the US.
Out in front of the La Brea Tar Pit, on Wilshire Boulevard is the main lagoon. It's full of water, but the banks are sticky with tar. I think as a nod to the old roadside attraction nature of the tar pits, there's a family of fake mammoths stuck in the lagoon. They're an eye catcher alright.
The sabretooth cat is emblematic of the George C Page museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. The last time we went there we met Abby, John, Eamon and Stella there. We had to stay inside because it was pouring rain. YES, in Los Angeles it was pouring rain.
When I was a kid, a couple of times I went with my stepbrothers to southern California to visit their grandmother for a week or so. On those trips we would always take a day trip to Disneyland and one time went to Universal Studios. What I remember about it was the backlot tour where I saw the McHale's Navy boat, I Dream of Jeannie's house and the bottom of the Towering Inferno. Let me say that I found nothing this time that resembled anything I remembered from back then.
Universal Studios Hollywood - I don't know if they even make movies here anymore. The whole place is marketed as an amusement park and there's a giant mall, Citywalk, that leads up to the "studio" entrance.
Shrek - This one came from a store in the Universal Studios mall, Citywalk. I'm not sure why went there, but when Jimmy and I were driving around looking for something to do, we decided to go there. We ended up drinking beer in the brewpub and not spending the big bucks to go into the park.
Spongebob - I got this coin in the Summer of 2006 at Universal Studios' Citywalk mall. I didn't know Spongebob was a Universal property. When I worked at Nickelodeon, Spongebob was everywhere. You couldn't escape him.
Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride - just in case you didn't know this was a ride this coin tells you. I'm sure you've already forgotten that Revenge of the Mummy was also a movie. At least I think it was...
Universal Citywalk - It's a huge mall leading up to the admission gates of Universal Studios, I have no idea why I was there. Jimmy took me there. Why was I in Los Angeles? Jimmy promised me that there was going to be a poker game on Saturday night. Was there a poker game? No. All Jimmy's friends, except for me, flaked out on the game. C'mon, and I came from San Francisco.
Universal Citywalk - We wandered around, found the three penny machines there. (apparently there are many more inside the admission part of Universal Studios, but, man, it costs 60 bucks or something to get in, so you know how that goes.) Then we had lunch and a beer at some coroporate-style brewpub, no idea what the name was.
Spiderman - I found the first Spiderman movie really disturbing. It was tough watching New York City destroyed on film seemingly right after we saw part of it destroyed in real life. Not to mention that there were some idiotic things in this movie. I'll never forget the kid being jealous that Spiderman saved his girlfriend but care not one bit that he just saw board of directors of his father's company vaporized in front of him. Oh well, you can get this coin at Universal Studios Citywalk mall somewhere.
The Hulk - I'll spare you the movie review of this one. I didn't see it, despite it being shot in San Francisco, my hometown. I guess I should go rent it. This coin comes from Universal Studios Citywalk somewhere... ok it's in the souvenir shop at the very end of the road, or was in Summer 2006.
Sparky's - Hollywood - Over the years people have brought me back the other two coins from the 3-coin machine at this store in Universal Studios mall, Citywalk. Apparently, Sparky is a character created by Charles Shultz of Peanuts fame. Indeed, Sparky was Shultz' own nickname. So I guess this was his store. He must've loved refrigerator magnets. Ohyeah, I got this one myself when I went there with Jimmy, now we can close the book on Sparky's.
I think Art and Carol gave me this one. They're always looking out for my interests. Thanks guys. (If you actually gave this to me and not Art and Carol, write me a message.)
Allyson and Ed wrote to me about renting my penny smasher. (yes, I have one of my own.) It was a long strange trip getting a die made for it (Pete and Christine of the Smashed Penny Museum and Jim Kilcoyne finally got the die done for them) and it included an afternoon at a very strange machinist on a hillside in San Francisco, but they got it done in time for their wedding and now they're happily married, I think.
San Francisco - City by the Bay - This is an early version of a coin that has many variations. Like so many others in my collection, I have no idea where ti came from. One of these days I'm going to start keeping better records. Anothe rone of these days, I'm going to get all the coins that look like this and put them together in one place.
This one is very interesting to me because it looks an awful lot like a coin that came out during the Golden Gate International Exhibition of 1939-40 (they called it the Worlds Fair around here). It could have come from a die that was repurposed or maybe someone just copied the old design. The other thing about this one is that it's on a dime.
San Francisco California - If San Francisco is the birthplace of the modern vending machine elongated coin, then Fisherman's Wharf is the primoridial ooze at its center. Back in the 70's, there was a guy running a penny machine here, now there are are about 60 coins available in this 5 blockarea at any given time. This one is easy to find, right on Jefferson Street in heart of it all.
This is good looking very detailed picture of a cable car. Please don't call it a trolley. Trolleys are electric, this thing is totally mechanical, though I don't think it's worth the 5 bucks they charge.
Surrender the Booty - San Francisco, California - This one comes from the Pirates Plunder (or some similar name, I don't know what it is) souvenir store on Jefferson Street at Fishermans Wharf. Better get there quick if you you want this coin, who knows how long this junk shop will stay afloat. Then again, if does go under it'll just get replaced by an equally San Francisco operation.
Time Flies When You're Having Rum - San Francisco - At least this one's got a sense of humor. Though I don't think pirates drinking rum have a lot to do with San Francisco. Sir Francis Drake, now there was a pirate. p.s. San Francisco was named for St. Francis of Assisi, not Sir Francis Drake.
In 2006, they got a new 4-die machine at the Golden Gate Bridge gift shop. The coins aren't bad, but this one seems to show the south tower just kind of floating in space, now that would be an engineering marvel!
This one from the Golden Gate Bridge gift shop, near the toll plaza if you're interested, highlights the roadbed of the bridge. Let me tell you, it's kind of scary since there's no divider between the north and southbound lanes. In fact they change the direction of the lanes depending on traffic conditions and post signs at either end telling how many lanes you have to use in your direction.
This shot of the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty accurate. I'd say it's looking northwesterly from about Crissy Field. The Marin headlands can be seen just like on this coin.
Golden Gate Bridge I've run out of things to say about this. I got it at the GGB gift shop near the toll plaza. On a sunny day, it's worth taking a walk out on the bridge, but always bring a jacket with you. How's that for some practical advice?
Another take on a classic San Francisco smashed penny theme. Yup the Golden Gate Bridge, a Cable Car, and Fishermans Wharf all make an appearance on this one that I always call SF Landmarks, plus it's on a dime.
In 2005, the ANA (Amaerican Numismatic Association) was supposed to have their annual convention in San Jose. I figured I'd go because TEC always has a booth and the annual TEC board and membership meetings are held during the convention. Then something happened and the convention got moved up to San Francisco, so then I had to go.
Ray Dillard, longtime boardmember of TEC, always makes two special coins commemorating the ANA convention each year and then he rolls them at the convention. I got this one from him there. After the TEC membership meeting a bunch of collectors went out to smash coins around the City, since it's my hometown, I lead them on the route. It was a lot of fun!
Another semi-oldie with a cablecar. I really have to look over my collection to see if I already have this one. Either way, I really like this one. ps. The cable car line really does run right from the Transamerica Pyramid and goes straight to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Madonna Inn is another place that people always stop. I've never been there, but anybody who stops there always gets a penny smashed and brings it back to me. As far as I know, it's a strange roadside attraction/motel with themed rooms. Heck, look it up on the internet if you're interested.
Eric has some in-laws in Florida or maybe in outerspace. Either way, he got this coin for me, either on his space shuttle trip or on a trip to visit the space shuttle, one or the other.
I got this ugly Miami Vice coin at the Alemany Flea market for a quarter. Once in a while I find a good one there, this day I found this ugly corroded zinc penny. Oh well, it only cost a quarter.
When we were driving to Boston from northern Maine in 2005, I made Brady drive out to Marblehead to see the paper house. It was a long side trip, but it was totally worth it. Then I made her drive around Salem, Mass looking for penny smashers. That wasn't worth it, but I did get this coin.
Heck if I know exactly where in Salem I got this coin, maybe there's a store called the The Witch Village. I don't remember. What I do remember is that Brady was pissed that we were walking around looking for penny smashers... that is, until I bought her a Lobster Roll.
Maine Discovery Museum Bangor Maine est 2001 - Brady and I got this one in July 2006 on our drive back to Portland from Grand Lake Stream. I can say that it was sweltering, that much I remember.
Too Much Fun - Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor Maine - I'm embarrassed to say that while we had fun hunting down the Discovery Museum (it's right in downtown Bangor, not hard to find) we didn't really have time to overdose on the fun they had avaialble there.
Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor Maine - Too Much Fun - This coin shows a tiny version of the kinds of fun you can have at the museum: there's a frog and a violin and a clock and a star. Now if that's not fun, I don't know fun.
My fiend and neighbor, Art, who's generally very helpful and has many opinions about things got this coin at the airport in Detroit and brought it back for me. He was there in June of 2005. As I told him, it would take a year for me to get this coin on the site. He had a lot of suggestions about how to get it up here faster, but it still took a year.
This one comes from Camp Snoopy. I think it's somewhere in Minnesota. I have no idea who gave it to me (though I know it was around September of 2005) or why it has a T-rex on it.
Ripley's Believe it or Not - You don't need to come all the way to San Francisco for some good old fashioned curiosities. Newport Oregon has all the same things as Fishermans Wharf, including a bunchof penny smashers. Stephen Moore sent me this one. Thanks Stephen, I'll write soon, I promise.
Stephen Moore, who I used to work with and whose shoulder I once disloacted while horsing around, sent me this coin from the Salem Riverfront Carousel. He sent me a nice letter that I never answered. Maybe now I will.
Woody, Nancy, and Miranda to a car tour of the northeast in June 2006. They took the train from San Francisco to Chicago, then drove around through many states from Maine to West Virginia and wherever there was in between. Of course, they had to stop in Hershey, PA to get me this penny. Did I mention that getting me smashed pennies was their prime motivation for the trip? I didn't have to.
Duquesne Incline - Brady and I visited Pittsburgh in Fall 1993, but we didn't get a smashed penny, so Woody, Nancy, and Miranda went back and got me one in 2006. What's the Duquesne Incline you ask? Here's your answer.
I don't know why I got the TEC Merit Award in 2003, but heck, if somebody wants to award me, I'll take it. I'm sure I did something outstanding for the benenfit of the hobby and The ELongated Collectors club.
Apparently, I did something good for The Elongated Collectors in 2005. What it was I don't know. I can tell you this though, it was better than what I did for them in 2004, since apparently I didn't receive a merit award that year.
Yes, I'm a member of The Elongated Collectors (TEC). To make it easy on myself when I was secretary, I just paid up for 5 years or something. I figured I'd save myself, the organization, and future secretaries a little bit of work. Maybe that's why I got the TEC Merit Award back in 2003. Anyway, Join TEC and you'll get a nifty coin similar to this one. (Tell them David Gallagher sent you and maybe I'll get another Merit Award.)