* Mystic Penny ! *

Hi everyone.

I am understanding that Cecil is REALLY busy sometimes answering all the Email so I thought I’d ask one of you.

Many years ago, I was out with my Dad shopping and on the way out I found this really weird penny. It was a regular penny with a metal ring around it the same diameter as the penny itself and engraved advertising on the ring itself. The penny wouldn’t pop out, it was glued inside.

Where did this come from and are there any more out there ?

Thanks !!


Although its probably not what you’re describing I am reminded of what some sailors did on long trips, tapping a spoon over and over on the side of a half dollar until the edge was flattened out a bit more, making that part wider as if a metal band had been put around it.

What you found was probably an attempt to find a new and novel way to advertise (it doesn’t actually destroy the currency, so I guess its legal). I don’t know how successful something like that would be, though, as most people already find pennies barely worth keeping. Maybe they were hoping people would keep them because something like that is out of the ordinary.

Hi Clayton:

  • I certainly thought it was out of the ordinary … :slight_smile:
    Does anyone have any ideas where I can see this coin, if even as a JPEG so I can fix the puzzle in my brain about it ? I’m VERY certain it exists, but without proof, my brain tends to dismiss things.

Thanks !!


Never overlook the power of eBay! Here are a couple of leads, try searching eBay and Google for “advertising penny” (not necessarily in quotes).



I’ve got one of those at home. It was given to me by my grandfather, who didn’t tell me where he’d gotten it (and now he’s no longer with us, so I will never have to chance to ask him). It’s a 1909 Lincoln penny embedded in a thick metal ring, probably made out of aluminum. The whole thing together is about the size of a half-dollar. Although the lettering on the ring is very worn, it appears to be an advertising slogan and address for a department store in Pittsburgh.

Back in the days when I used to collect coins, I found out that this kind of advertising was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It stemmed from an earlier practice. During the Civil War, small change was in short supply, which was a real problem for local merchants, who needed to keep small coinage in circulation to keep their businesses running smoothly. Many localities began circulating “Civil War tokens,” which were little tokens designed to look like pennies but carried no official mark of value. Some had patriotic slogans, others had advertising on them, but all were used as replacement pennies.

After the end of the Civil War, the government was again able to issue coinage in sufficient quantity, and the “Civil War tokens” ceased to be used as currency. Many merchants, however, recognized their value in a pre-TV, pre-radio world as a cheap method of advertising. So some businesses started stamping their store card on a ring of metal, then jammed a real penny inside. (It’s unlikely it was glued in…you probably would have been able to get the penny out if you’d hit it hard enough with a hammer.) Voila–a cute “business card” that patrons could carry around with them.

(note: I took the information about “Civil War tokens” from Coins: Questions and Answers by Clifford Mishler.)

Hi SnowCarpet:

  • Well, I tried both of these links and they both came up with a blank page ??


Hi Duke:

  • Do you have the coin where you can scan and send a picture of it ?
    I would like to include that in my “memories” jpeg-folder. :slight_smile:


Seriously, after I posted that and went home from work I looked around for the penny. Then I realized that it’s actually with my other coins, in a box of stuff I put in a safe at my parents’ house in Pennsylvania. Don’t know why I bothered, it can’t be worth any more than sentimental value.

But if I remember next time, yeah, I’ll scan it.

Hi Duke:

  • Well, when you, please send a pics of it. You can write me at my Email.
    If I don’t hear from you in a year, I might remind you. :slight_smile:

Thanks !


My Congressman still sends 'em out in his “vote for me” mail. Aluminum ring stamped with his campaign slogan around a penny. If anybody wants one (and I can find one around the house), drop me an email.