"USS Pampanito - SS 383 - San Francisco" What is it? A WWII-era submarine. Where is it? Pier 45 behind Fisherman's Wharf (out the back door of the Musee Mechanique) What is the picture on this penny? Who knows? I think it's a fish carrying a torpedo.
"USS Pampanito - SS 383 - San Francisco" I've pretty much blown all my knowledge about the Pampanito in the last entry. So if you want to know more about this penny go look at the Maritime Museum's web site.
"We Can Do It!" Yes it's that famous (no doubt public domain) image of Rosie the Riveter. This coin comes from near the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, though I was there in early December 2005 and all three of the Pampanito machine were out of order.
"Musee Mecanique - San Francisco" For years this mechanical museum was in the basement of the Cliff House, now it's temporarily housed at Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf.
"The Earthquake and Fire - San Francisco" At Pier 45, in addition to the Musee Mechanique, is the Museum of the City of San Francisco. They've got a lot of historical displays along with quite a bit of goofy stuff that really doesn't belong anywhere else. (How's that for vague? Go see it for yourself, you'll like it.)
"Playland San Francisco" Playland was an amusement park along Ocean Beach, just north of Golden Gate Park. It was torn down in 1972 and my only real memory of it was one night that my father drove one of my brothers, my sister and me up there and I had to stay in the car because I already had pajamas on.
"San Francisco Seal Rock" This is a funny coin, full of contradictions. First of all, the rocks off the Cliff House are collectively called "Seal RockS". Secondly, the seals are really sea lions mostly. Thirdly, the sea lions don't lounge at Seal Rocks any more. Fourthly, This coin comes from a machine at Pier 45, near Fisherman's wharf, which coincidentally is near where the sea lions now lounge at Pier 39. Whew, make sense of that if you can.
"San Francisco" Another Cable Car. Don't get me wrong, they're great, they're emblematic of the City, they're a marvel of engineering, and they're fun to ride, but how many smashed pennies with a picture of a cable car can there be? Here's a challenge: tell me how many cable car pennies I have on my site, and I'll send you at least some of them.
"Balclutha" When I was a kid she was docked at pier 41 right in the middle of Fisherman's Wharf. I remember going on school field trips to learn about the ship's history. Now's she's down the road a bit at the Hyde Street Pier with a whole bunch of historic ships from around the Bay. Here's some more info on the Balclutha.
"San Francisco Fishermans Wharf" - This penny shows the big sign that sits at Jefferson and Taylor Streets, pretty much dead center of San Francisco's biggest tourist zone and the place that many people claim is where the resurgence of the elongated coin began back in the early 1970s.
"Lombard Street - SF" I'm sure you know that this block of Lombard street (walking distance from Fisherman's Wharf) is not the curviest street in San Francisco, this one is.
The "International Spy Shop" has all kinds of funky listening devices and hidden gizmos and stuff that James Bond would be using he had to keep his budget under a hundred bucks. Unfortunately for me, my budget was 2 bucks, so all I got were these 4 smashed pennies.
You can't really see the "International Spy Shop" from the Golden Gate Bridge and they don't have a big advertising banner on the bridge either. At the ISS (that's what us international spies call it), they try to maintain a somewhat lower profile.
"International Spy Shop - Alcatraz - The Rock - San Francisco" When I was there (at the Spy Shop, not the Rock!) and using the penny smasher, "Q" (I mean the sales clerk) came out from behind the counter to show me how to work the thing. That's Service!
Oh! There's another cable car, a noted mode of transportation for international spies, even though it's kind of loud, conspicuous, and only goes 9 miles and hour. (at least it does take you kind of near the "International Spy Shop".
Along Jefferson Street at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, there have to be the most penny smashers in any couple blocks in the country. And they're all out there on the sidewalk, no hunting through stores to find them. All except this one from the Wax Museum, it's just inside behind the big central pillar in the lobby, you can't see it unless you walk inside. So, next, take some time and go into the lobby of the Wax Museum. One other thing, my old friend Bill did the voice over that plays there.
"Pier 39 - San Francisco - Harrassment of sea lions is a violation of the mammal protection act. no docking" I'm not sure this is what the actual sign out there says, since I don't think there is a "mammal protection act". I pretty sure this is supposed to say "marine mammal proctection act", I know you can't read it, you'll just have to take my word for it.
I don't know why this motif, the cable car and lamp post, is repeated so many times on pennies, but it is. This latest one is from a pretty new machine somewhere on Fishermans Wharf.
"Fishermans Wharf of San Francisco" This is a great big sign at the corner of Taylor and Jefferson, start at this sign and walk any direction to find a t-shirt shop. Here's a picture of some people in front of it (note the bags of t-shirts they're holding).
"The Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco" Up on the Marin headlands at the north end of the bridge, there's a place they call Hawk Hill. It's where all the birds circle and circle while they're getting up their nerve to fly acoss the Golden Gate (the channel, not the bridge, although the bridge has its own perils).
"San Francisco - Rainforest Cafe" So, first we get a coin with the Fishermans Wharf sign, never seen one before, and now here's another. It probably helps that they were both from pennymen machines.
"Rainforest Cafe - San Francisco" You can definitely get right under the bridge like this. On the SF side head towards Fort Point, the civil war era fort and where Hitchcock shot a scene from Vertigo. On the Marin side, go towards East Fort Baker, home of the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Don't just hang around Fishermans wharf all day, yuck.
"Rainforest Cafe" Do they allow alligators on the cable car, you ask? I've never seen one. Then again, I've never seen one that has no wheels like this one, either.
"Rainforset Cafe of Fishermans Wharf" There didn't used to be sea lions at Fishermans Wharf (or at pier 39). When I was a kid we used to go see them out at Seal Rocks out near the Cliff House.
So, lately, Summer 2003, there have been a bunch of new machines at Fishermans' Wharf in San Francisco. A lot are the same kind, the 4-die handcranked variety, but there was one new machine on Jeffereson Street that was different. I'm not sure who made it, but it looks like the one at the Budweiser Brewery in Vacaville. Anyway, the engravings on the coins are terrible! All mushy and worn looking, which is strange because the machine is new. I don't get it.
This is one of the mushy worn out looking coins from the new machine at Fishermans' Wharf. It's a dog behind bars on Alcatraz, "A typical Alcatraz inmate". The one good thing about the place I got this was that they had a change machine. It's the only one I've seen down there.
"Golden Gate Bridge", or so it says. The image is so mushy and unclear, it's really hard to tell what bridge it is. This one came from that same Fishermans' Wharf machine.
"S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien - San Francisco" I think this may be the hardest penny to find in all of San Francisco. To find it you have to find the last remaining Liberty Ship and then go down into the hold and wander around inside all by yourself. Or you could ask the guy at the ticket boot where it is and he'll show you on the map. If you're really want more info, you could look at the website.
This is from the Endangered Species store in San Francisco. It shows a happy frolicking dolphin. Maybe he doesn't know he's endangered, or maybe he's just making the best of it. What they say about dolphins must be right, they are smart.
This one, from the Endangered Species store in San Francisco, depicts a White Tiger. At least that's what it says on it. Good thing it says that because I couldn't tell.
I went to the Endangered Species store in San Francisco because I heard they had a penny machine. The idea of an Endangered Species store seems like a good and noble idea, but when I got down to Fisherman's Wharf and saw it, it just looked like every other giant glitzy souvenir store. I mean, I don't know what I expected, but this place just seemed to be cashing in on something.
"Endangered Species Store - San Francisco" So, what's the deal with the Endangered Species store? Are they just another junk shop riding on the backs these poor animals? Are they just another exploitation, making plushy elephant foot footstools without killing any elephants? What do you think? Update! - Natalie gave me an answer about this this penny!
Alright, so I just finished complaining about the Endangered Species store and now I have to write 4 more descriptions about pennies from the Rainforest Cafe. Sheesh! This one has some kind of parrot or conure or macaw or something. Is that enough for you?
An endangered butterfly from the Rainforest Cafe machine in San Francisco. I wonder if they serve South American beef in the Rainforest Cafe.
I think this little frog is the mascot of the Rainforest Cafe. If you're looking for the one in San Francisco, it's at Fisherman's Wharf in the Wax Museum building, but unless you're trying to get smashed pennies, I wouldn't go to Fisherman's Wharf at all, or only spend and hour or so there, don't plan to be there all day.
"Rainforest Cafe - San Francisco" another recycled design by the Pennymen/Fantasy Entertainment.
The "Golden Gate Bridge" is probably the most common motif for a smashed penny in San Francisco. I just happened upon this one in a t-shirt shop in Ghirardelli Square.
"Alcatraz - San Francisco" The woman at the electronic store on Jefferson street told me this machine had only been there a couple of months when I got this penny in July 2001.
"San Francisco - The Golden Gate Bridge" This one came from the same new machine on Fisherman's Wharf. I think it's kind of a nice view.
"Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco" Where are the other Fisherman's Wharves anyway? And for that matter, I don't think they have lobster at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf... at least not local lobster... but really, what do I know?
"San Francisco" This penny is my newest favorite. I got it at Fisherman's Wharf out of a San Francisco Penny Company machine on Jefferson street in July 2001. It's just a great design, nice and simple. If you know who did this design, let me know!
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" This one shows two teeny tiny cable cars floating over a teeny tiny San Francisco skyline. This machine on Taylor Street at Fisherman's wharf was brand new in Jan 2001.
"San Francisco - Coit Tower" Coit Tower is on top of Telegraph Hill and overlooks North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf. If you go there, walk back down the road and go down the Filbert Steps on the east side of Telegraph Hill, it's a real treat.
This one shows two cable cars passing each other. It's hard to tell which one is going which way, since they both seem to have headlights. Maybe they're Calif. St cars... Oh man who cares? It's a nice penny anyway.
This is a nicely detailed picture of the underside of the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The cantilevered (is it really canitlevered?) section was built to accomodate Fort Point which has guarded the Golden Gate since the Civil War, though has never fired a shot in anger.
This is a very odd landscape view.It's kind of looking west from Treasure Island, the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America are recognizable, but there's Ferry Building. And there's that annoying palm tree... whoo boy.
"I left my heart in San Francisco" Boy, what a crummy scan. Here's a word of advice: Clean your pennies before you smash them. I use a little lemon juice and salt solution, actually any weak acid will do. It's a great party trick, put the pennies in a cup with the lemon juice, then sprinkle on the salt, then watch the pennies miraculously brighten!
"San Francisco" showing the definitive SF landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. Simple, to the point, no fooling around. That's it, everything you need to know.
"San Francisco, CA" I don't know about this one. I guess there were pirates of a sort in SF at one time, you know, shanghai'ing sailors and such, but this looks kinda like the "yo ho ho an' a bottle of rum" kind to me.
"Alcatraz" with bars and bricks. The former island penitentiary is now a natinal historic park and really worth the trip, though you don't have to go out there to get the penny.
"San Francisco" Did you know that the San Francisco Cable Cars (please don't call them trolleys) are the only moving National Historic Landmarks? Well, they are.
"I Touched a Seastar at UnderWater World San Francisco" UnderWater world is an overpriced commercial aquarium at the tourist destination/mall Pier 39. If you want to see fish, go to the Steinhart Aquarium in Golden Gate Park. (but if you want smashed pennies, go to Pier 39)
This one reads "I left my heart in San Francisco" and shows the GG Bridge and a little cable car, presumably climbing halfway to the stars. Contray to popular belief, the much peppier "San Francisco" (Open your Golden Gate...) is the official song of the City.
"UnderWater World Pier 39 San Francisco" it shows a couple of stylized sharks swimming around.
"Pier 39 - San Francisco" A few years ago the local sea lions (they're not seals) abandoned their ancestral home of seal rocks near the cliff house for the tourist mecca/mall, Pier 39. They're there 24 hours a day barking, basking, and begging for handouts. I do like this penny though.
"Alcatraz - San Francisco" This is a pretty accurate view of the former island prison. I think the machine is a little worn out, because the image is kinda hard to see even if you're looking at the penny, but heck, you can see the actual island from where the machine is located.
Another Alcatraz... I'm not terribly impressed with this design, hands through the prison bars holding a sign reading "Alcatraz San Francisco." This one comes from a machine at Pier 41, where you catch the ferry to... Alcatraz.
I like this one, it's kind of a cartoony scene showing some well known SF landmarks: The Golden Gate Bridge, a cable car, and the Transamerica Pyramid. I got this one on Jefferson Street near Fisherman's Wharf.
So, I was looking through the website today, and I noticed that I didn't have any pennies from Pier 39 up here. I found this really confusing because I knew I had a bunch from that tourist favorite of the San Francisco waterfront. So, here they are.
I'm a dope, I mean, it took more than a year between the time I scanned this bunch and the time I noticed that they weren't up on the site...sheesh... it turns out this one is also available at the powell street cable car turnaround, in addition to Pier 39
These next two are from the NFL shop at Pier 39, I put the 49er one first, because the 49ers are just plain better than the Raiders.
They both come from the same machine and the the machine supplies the pennies. It's the only machine like this in the City and the only one like it I've ever seen anywhere.
This is the last of those pesky Pier 39 pennies (actually there's another one but it's the same as the one with all the landmarks) This one shows a view of the City from Treasure Island.
This one I got at the gift shop at the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. It commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the bridge. Which, I'm sure you know, was in 1987.
Coit Tower was a gift of Lily Hitchcock Coit and is a memorial to San Francisco's Firefighters. Some people say it looks like a firehose nozzle. It also has cool WPA murals inside.
Another Golden Gate Bridge 50th Anniversary. This one says "1937-1987". Just in case you didn't know.
I think I got this one at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, a noted tourist hot spot. It's noteworthy, because rather than a penny, it's a quarter!
This one is also from Fisherman's wharf and depicts a fishing boat tied at the wharf. I left it in the bottom of a bowl of fruit we keep on the kitchen counter, that's how it got so discolored...oh well.