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How Do Souvenir Coin Machines Work


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Meghan Huth

How Do Souvenir Coin Machines Work

How Do Souvenir Coin Machines Work


Souvenir coin machines, also known as pressed penny machines or elongated coin machines, have become a popular attraction in tourist destinations all over the world. These machines allow visitors to create unique and personalized keepsakes by transforming ordinary coins into beautifully embossed souvenirs.


In this article, we will take a closer look at how souvenir coin machines work and the fascinating process behind their operation. From the rich history of these machines to the intricate mechanisms involved, we will delve into the details that make these machines so captivating.


Whether you have seen these machines at theme parks, museums, or other tourist hotspots, understanding the inner workings will enhance your appreciation for this delightful way of commemorating your visit.


So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets behind souvenir coin machines!


History of Souvenir Coin Machines

The history of souvenir coin machines can be traced back to the late 19th century when the first pressed penny machines made their appearance. These early machines were often found in amusement parks, arcades, and other popular entertainment venues.


The concept of transforming ordinary coins into unique souvenirs quickly gained popularity, and souvenir coin machines began to spread across the globe. In the early days, these machines were manually operated, requiring the user to turn a crank to press the coin and imprint a design onto it.


As technology advanced, souvenir coin machines evolved to incorporate more automated mechanisms. Electric motors replaced manual cranks, making the process easier and more efficient. The designs engraved on the coins also became more intricate, featuring various themes ranging from popular characters to historical landmarks.


Today, souvenir coin machines have become a staple in tourist destinations, offering visitors an engaging and interactive way to commemorate their visit. From theme parks and museums to zoos and national parks, these machines can be found in a variety of locations, providing a unique and personalized memento for travelers to cherish.


The popularity of souvenir coin machines has also led to the emergence of collectible communities and online trading platforms. Coin enthusiasts and collectors seek out rare and limited-edition designs, adding to the allure and excitement of acquiring these one-of-a-kind souvenirs.


Overall, the history of souvenir coin machines showcases their transition from manual operation to automated processes, the expansion of their presence in tourist destinations, and their enduring appeal as a treasured keepsake for travelers.


Components of Souvenir Coin Machines

Souvenir coin machines are made up of various components that work together to transform ordinary coins into personalized souvenirs. Let’s take a closer look at the key components involved in the operation of these machines:

  1. Coin Slot: The coin slot is where users insert their desired denomination of coins into the machine.
  2. Crank Handle: The crank handle allows users to initiate the pressing process by turning it manually.
  3. Die Holder: The die holder holds the embossing dies, which are used to create the unique design on the coin.
  4. Die Pressure System: The die pressure system applies the necessary force to the dies during the pressing process to imprint the design onto the coin.
  5. Coin Collection Tray: The coin collection tray collects the pressed coins once they have gone through the embossing process.
  6. Coin Dispensing Mechanism: The coin dispensing mechanism releases the pressed coins to the user once the pressing process is complete.
  7. Control Panel: The control panel enables users to select the desired design and make payment, if required.
  8. Display Screen: The display screen shows users the available designs and provides instructions on how to use the machine.
  9. Coin Storage: Souvenir coin machines have internal coin storage compartments where the machine keeps a supply of coins for pressing.
  10. Power Source: Depending on the machine, the power source can be electricity, batteries, or a combination of both.

These components work together seamlessly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for users. From inserting the coin and selecting the desired design to cranking the handle and collecting the pressed coin, every step is carefully orchestrated to create a personalized souvenir.


Now that we understand the key components of souvenir coin machines, let’s explore the coin placement and payment process in the next section.


Coin Placement and Payment

When using a souvenir coin machine, the first step is to place the desired denomination of coin into the designated coin slot. The machine will typically have a coin slot that accepts a specific size and denomination of coins.


After inserting the coin, the user may need to make a payment, depending on the machine. Some machines have a fixed fee for pressing a coin, while others may charge different prices depending on the design or type of coin selected.


To make a payment, users can either use cash or electronic payment methods, such as credit cards or mobile payment apps, if the machine is equipped with the necessary technology. The payment process is usually straightforward, with clear instructions displayed on the control panel or screen.


Once the coin is placed and the payment is made, the user can proceed with selecting the desired design. Souvenir coin machines often offer a variety of designs to choose from, representing different themes or attractions related to the location or establishment where the machine is located.


After selecting the design, the user can begin the pressing process by manually turning the crank handle. This action activates the machine’s mechanism, applying the necessary force to emboss the chosen design onto the coin.


The pressing process usually takes a few seconds, and the user can observe the transformation as the design is imprinted on the coin’s surface. The pressured dies create a pattern of raised and indented areas, resulting in a unique and personalized keepsake.


Once the pressing process is complete, the machine will either dispense the pressed coin directly into a collection tray or store it inside for the user to collect later. Some machines even offer an option to choose a customized packaging or holder for the pressed coin, further enhancing its appeal as a souvenir.


Overall, the coin placement and payment process in souvenir coin machines is straightforward and user-friendly. It allows visitors to easily transform ordinary coins into custom-designed souvenirs, making their experience memorable and enjoyable.


Next, let’s explore the fascinating world of coin design and selection in souvenir coin machines.


Coin Design and Selection

One of the most exciting aspects of using a souvenir coin machine is the opportunity to choose from a wide range of designs to adorn the pressed coin. The selection of coin designs often reflects the theme or attraction associated with the location where the machine is situated.


Souvenir coin machines offer an array of options, including images of landmarks, logos, characters, or symbols that represent the place or event. For example, a machine located in a zoo might offer designs featuring various animals, while a machine in a historical museum might showcase designs related to significant historical figures or artifacts.


The designs on the coins are typically engraved into the machine’s embossing dies. These dies are carefully created to ensure precise detail and quality in the final result. The process of producing these dies involves skilled craftsmen or designers who craft the design into a smaller scale to fit the size of the coin.


When using a souvenir coin machine, users usually have the option to view the available designs on a display screen or through a selection panel. This allows them to make an informed choice and select the design that resonates with them the most.


In addition to the pre-set designs offered by the machine, some souvenir coin machines also provide the option for users to personalize their pressed coins. This can be done by adding initials, names, or short messages onto the design. Personalized coins serve as unique and meaningful souvenirs, making them even more special.


It’s worth noting that while souvenir coin machines often have a variety of designs to choose from, not all designs may be available at all times. Some machines may periodically change the available designs to introduce variety and novelty.


With the ability to select from a wide range of designs and the potential for personalization, souvenir coin machines offer a delightful and interactive way for visitors to create truly unique and personalized souvenirs that capture the essence of their experience.


Next, let’s explore the intriguing process of cranking and applying pressure to transform an ordinary coin into a pressed souvenir.


Cranking Process and Die Pressure

The cranking process and die pressure are crucial steps in the operation of souvenir coin machines. These components work together to transform an ordinary coin into a beautifully embossed souvenir.


Once the user has selected the desired design and placed the coin into the machine, the next step is to manually turn the crank handle. This action activates the machine’s mechanism and initiates the pressing process.


As the user cranks the handle, the machine translates the rotary motion into a linear motion, powering the embossing process. The crank handle is connected to a series of gears and levers that transfer the energy and force to the embossing dies.


The embossing dies are located in the die holder, which holds them securely in place. These dies are typically made of hardened steel and are intricately engraved with the selected design. They are responsible for creating the raised and indented patterns on the surface of the coin.


As the crank handle is turned, the machine applies pressure to the embossing dies. This pressure, generated by a system of springs or hydraulic mechanisms, allows the dies to make contact with the coin’s surface.


The force applied during the pressing process is carefully calibrated to ensure that the design is imprinted onto the coin without causing any damage. The pressure must be sufficient to leave a lasting impression on the coin while avoiding excessive force that could result in deformation or cracking.


The duration of the cranking process varies depending on the machine, but it generally takes a few seconds. As the dies exert pressure on the coin, the design is transferred onto its surface, leaving behind a unique and visually striking pattern.


Once the cranking process is complete, the user can release the crank handle and observe the transformed coin. The precisely applied die pressure has left a lasting imprint, turning the ordinary coin into a cherished souvenir.


Understanding the cranking process and die pressure in souvenir coin machines highlights the delicate balance between applying the right amount of force and maintaining the integrity of the coin. This meticulous process ensures that each pressed coin is a work of art and a tangible memento to be treasured.


Next, let’s explore the process of coin rolling and shaping that takes place after the pressing process.


Coin Rolling and Shaping

After the pressing process, the newly embossed souvenir coin goes through a coin rolling and shaping stage to give it its final form and make it suitable for display or storage.


Once the pressure from the embossing dies is released, the machine guides the coin through a rolling mechanism. This mechanism ensures that the embossed design is evenly distributed across the surface of the coin.


The rolling process involves passing the coin between two rollers that apply pressure and compress the metal. This action smooths out any imperfections, creating a consistent and uniform surface across the entirety of the coin.


In addition to the rolling process, souvenir coin machines often incorporate a shaping stage. This stage applies further pressure to shape the coin into a desirable form, typically a round, flat disc. This ensures that the pressed coin is of a standardized size and shape, making it easy to handle, display, and collect.


The coin rolling and shaping stages are crucial for improving the overall quality and appearance of the pressed coin. By smoothing out any irregularities and shaping it into a uniform disc, the machine ensures that each souvenir coin meets the desired aesthetic standards.


Once the coin has gone through the rolling and shaping process, it is ready for collection and display. Whether it’s being collected as a standalone keepsake or added to a coin album or display case, the transformed coin is now a cherished memento of the experience.


The coin rolling and shaping stage is the final step in the manufacturing process of souvenir coins. It adds the finishing touches, creating a beautifully crafted and well-defined piece of memorabilia that captures the essence of the chosen design.


Now that we’ve explored the coin rolling and shaping stage, let’s move on to the coin collection and dispensing process.


Coin Collection and Dispensing

After the pressing, rolling, and shaping stages, the newly transformed souvenir coin is ready for collection and dispensing. The coin collection and dispensing process typically varies based on the design of the souvenir coin machine.


Some machines have a simple coin collection tray where the pressed coins are directly deposited after the rolling and shaping stages. Users can easily retrieve their coins by reaching into the tray or using a small scoop provided near the machine.


Other machines have coin dispensing mechanisms that automatically release the pressed coins to the user once the pressing process is complete. These machines often have a hopper or storage compartment where the pressed coins are stored until they are ready to be dispensed.


When the user finishes cranking the handle and the pressed coin is rolled and shaped, it is either dropped directly into the collection tray or released from the storage compartment. The user can then collect the coin and examine the final result.


Some souvenir coin machines offer additional features such as customized packaging or holders for the pressed coins. Users may have the option to choose a special coin card, plastic case, or cardboard sleeve that protects and enhances the presentation of the souvenir coin.


The coin collection and dispensing process is designed to be user-friendly and efficient, allowing users to easily retrieve their freshly pressed souvenir coins. It adds a sense of excitement and satisfaction as users witness the transformation of their coin into a personalized memento.


With the freshly minted souvenir coin in hand, users can now appreciate the unique design and craftsmanship that went into creating their one-of-a-kind keepsake.


Now that we’ve explored the coin collection and dispensing process, let’s move on to maintenance and troubleshooting strategies for souvenir coin machines.


Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Like any mechanical device, souvenir coin machines require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Here are some essential maintenance tasks to keep these machines in good working condition:

  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the coin slot, coin collection tray, and other accessible parts of the machine to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may accumulate over time. Be sure to use cleaning products and methods recommended by the machine’s manufacturer.
  • Inspection: Conduct regular inspections to check for any loose or damaged parts. Replace or repair any components that show signs of wear or malfunction to prevent further damage to the machine.
  • Lubrication: Apply lubrication to moving parts and mechanisms to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Consult the machine’s manual or manufacturer guidelines for appropriate lubricants and application methods.
  • Coin Replenishment: Regularly replenish the machine’s coin supply to ensure that it can continue to operate without interruption. Keep an inventory of coins of the correct size and denomination to meet the demand of users.

In addition to regular maintenance, it is important to be familiar with troubleshooting strategies to address any issues that may arise. Here are some common troubleshooting steps for souvenir coin machines:

  • Check Power Supply: Ensure that the machine is properly connected to a power source and that the power supply is functioning correctly. Replace batteries or check electrical connections if necessary.
  • Verify Coin Compatibility: Confirm that the coin being used is the correct size and denomination for the machine. Some machines may not operate properly or may reject coins that do not meet the specified requirements.
  • Inspect Jammed Coins: If a coin gets stuck or jammed in the machine, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the obstruction. Avoid using excessive force, as it may cause damage to the machine or the coin.
  • Reset or Restart: If the machine becomes unresponsive or stops functioning properly, try resetting or restarting it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may resolve minor issues or software glitches.

It is always advisable to consult the machine’s manual or contact the manufacturer for specific maintenance instructions and troubleshooting guidance.


By diligently maintaining the machine and promptly addressing any issues that arise, operators can ensure a seamless experience for users and prolong the lifespan of their souvenir coin machine.


Now that we’ve discussed maintenance and troubleshooting, let’s conclude our exploration of souvenir coin machines.



Souvenir coin machines offer a fun and interactive way for visitors to create personalized keepsakes while exploring tourist destinations. From the early manual-operated machines of the past to the modern automated versions, the evolution of these machines has brought about a rich history and captivating experience.


We have explored the various components involved in the operation of souvenir coin machines, including the coin placement and payment process, the selection of unique designs, and the manual cranking and die pressure that transforms ordinary coins into cherished souvenirs. We have also learned about the coin rolling and shaping stage that ensures the coins are uniformly shaped and visually appealing.


The coin collection and dispensing process allows users to easily retrieve their pressed coins, either from a collection tray or through automated dispensing mechanisms. We also discussed the importance of regular maintenance and troubleshooting strategies in order to maintain the machines’ optimal functioning and resolve any issues promptly.


Whether it’s a zoo, a museum, or any other tourist attraction, souvenir coin machines offer visitors a tangible and lasting representation of their experience. These unique souvenirs become cherished mementos that capture the memories and essence of the places they have visited.


So, the next time you encounter a souvenir coin machine, take a moment to appreciate the intricate mechanics behind it and consider creating your own personalized keepsake. It’s an opportunity to commemorate your visit and bring home a unique and meaningful souvenir that will always remind you of your adventures.


Remember, souvenir coin machines are not just about the process of pressing coins, but also about the memories and experiences associated with them. They serve as a tangible connection to the places we have visited, transporting us back to those moments whenever we hold these cherished souvenirs in our hands.


So, go ahead, find a souvenir coin machine, choose a design that speaks to you, and create a lasting memory of your journey.