Pirates Of The Caribbean
Piece of Eight Pirate Key Chain!
Available only at the Pieces of Eight Shop during the first years
stamper coin machine was onstage.
(We have confirmed onstage dates as early as 1972 so far.) Chain beads feature flat sides.
Because Disneyland Piece of Eight coins
were "silver" the chain was chromed to give the look of "silver". (magnetic)
Card copyright reads "© 1968 Walt Disney Productions"
Although Disney Medal Typer souvenirs are not elongated coins, they are sort of related and lots of us "pressed penny collectors" have asked about them. Matter of fact, many people searching Google for information about Disneyland medal stamper machines found ParkPennies.com, poor souls. So, here are the bits of history we have been able to gather and... we are looking for more so please don't be shy about sharing your knowledge.
The Pirates of the Caribbean piece of eight stamper souvenir coin medallions, often called medal stamper machine coins, "doubloons", "Cobs", or Medal Typer tokens, have been favorites of many Disney guests over the years. Not every Disneyland or WDW guest knew of the machines, but, those that did press these coins, often did so over many years. Matter of fact, stamping a personal message on metal disk or a 1692 replica piece of eight coin has been a long time tradition for many Disneyland Guests.
Some lucky Disneyland visitors have made a ritual of visiting the Pieces of Eight Shop in New Orleans Square to press a "Pirate Coin" or visiting the Corner Cafe (Coke Corner) on Main Street to type out the date of their visit, a birthday greeting, their wedding anniversary year, or some mushy-kissy-lovey note on a Disneyland Medal Typer disk.
The ParkPennies.com history of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean medal stamper coins is not complete yet and undoubtedly in need of corrections. However, based on reports by a trusted ParkPennies operative or two, close to the start of the Disneyland POC project circa mid to late 1960's... We believe that the Pirate coin stamper machine concept was originally designed by the famous Sam McKim. According to the recollection of one nervously sweating ParkPennies source, blinded by strong overhead lights at the time, Mr. McKim envisioned Piece of Eight Arcades placed at the exit to the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions in both Disneyland and WDW. At each location, he planned to place a Piece of Eight stamper as one of the themed arcade attractions. The Disneyland arcade vision became reality as "The Pieces of Eight Arcade" later became "The Pieces of Eight Gift Shop" and the Walt Disney World arcade vision became reality as the Caribbean Arcade. Each featured a Pirate Medal Stamper machine and although the machines were very similar, at Mr. Mc Kim's instruction, the Disneyland machine was to offer silver-colored piece of eight coins and Florida's Walt Disney World piece of eight coins were to be gold-colored. Each stamper offered carded key chains via an adjacent key chain "post card vending machine". Silver key chains for Disneyland and brass key chains for WDW. (Key chains from both parks are pictured on this page.)
WDW Pirates Of The Caribbean
Piece of Eight Pirate Key Chain!
Available only at Walt Disney World.
This example, courtesy of the C. Neal Collection,
was originally sold by WDW circa 1973-5. (Near the opening date of the attraction at WDW.)
Chain beads feature flat sides.
Because early WDW Piece of Eight coins
were "gold", solid brass was used
to give a "gold" look. (non-magnetic)
Card copyright reads "© Walt Disney Productions"
The plan was followed, mostly. At first WDW offered brass cob style medallions. But later switched to the silver-colored cob coins. Disneyland was from the start assigned silver-colored blanks. However, about two dozen brass medallion blanks inscribed "Disneyland" [much like the brass WDW medallions] were initially found inside the Disneyland stamper machine when it was delivered, according to our now nervously fidgeting Cast Member source. These Disneyland brass / gold-colored cob coins were reportedly caught by Mr. McKim at Disneyland before the stamper machine was placed onstage or made available to the general public. However, some examples of the brass pieces of eight doubloons (as pictured above) were kept as souvenirs by Cast Members close to the project at both Disneyland and Walt Disney Imagineering, WDI, possibly also given to friends, family, etc. Additionally, we have received correspondence from one avid collector that recalled his Disneyland brass doubloon was given to him as a gift by a Cast Member that assisted in the renovation of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. According to this report, the brass Disneyland medallion was found loose and displaced within one of the POC vignettes. (Examples of all "Silver" and "Gold" Disneyland and WDW Pieces of Eight are pictured at the top of this page for comparison.)
The arcades changed over the years. In 1980, the Caribbean Arcade was closed at WDW and the Disneyland Pieces of Eight Arcade has become the Disneyland Pieces of Eight Gift Shop. Most of the arcade games, e.g. custom themed pin ball machines and some other furnishings at the parks were sold or gifted to notable Cast Members. Other games were moved to new locations. Just a few of the Disneyland themed games stayed in the new gift shop.
The Disneyland Pirate Coin Stamper has been on and off stage, moved from one location to another in the New Orleans Square area as repairs, refurbishments, or relocation was required. At times, ParkPennies.com visitors have asked us what became of the stamper machine. We told them "We look forward to happily posting the news on www.ParkPennies.com as soon as the Piece of Eight machine returns". Over the years from the late 1990's to the early 2000's, we were happy to report it was back... several times, although only briefly each time. By 2006, the machine found its way to a shop not far from the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, which at the time, was called "Le Bat En Rouge Shop" (previously called the "One of a Kind Shop") only to disappear again soon after.
As I update this story in 2014, the Pirate medal stamper machine has been off stage since 2006. But we have not given up hope. On several occasions, I have spoken with Disney Cast Members about the "Pirate Coin Stamper". I have been assured that the highly modified Standard Harvard Medal Typer machine is appreciated by Cast Members but is temperamental. Although it was modified to press these heavy custom medallions by Disney many years ago,
over the years, the extreme wear and tear, which is normal for Disneyland, had taken its toll. However, two Cast Members, one retired, told Robert Hoff (Boomer) of ParkPennies that it was their kraft's hope and a goal to restore the machine and return it to "stage".
I too hope this machine returns home soon. As recently as 2010 and 2013, I have heard that Disneyland Cast Members, close to this machine, still hold hope that extensive repairs can be completed and the stamper returned to stage one day. So, do check for the machine now and then and let us know if you spot the Pirates Piece of Eight coin stamper in New Orleans Square or the Medal Typer machine at the Coke Corner Cafe on Main Street USA; we'll do the same.
Odd notes added now and then: In around 2001, I visited a metal reclamation center in Canyon Country, California, just before they relocated. They had contracted to clear water features of "coins" for a few Southern California theme parks over the previous years. I hoped to find some "pressed pennies" from the late 1980's. To that end, a co-conspirator and I sorted through hundreds of pounds of elongated, foreign and US coinage as well as many pirate medallions over a day's time. Most of the stamper pirate medallions had inscriptions, memorials, funny quips. They all seemed to have made memories, or granted wishes. None were brass.
In 2010 we had almost given up hope that we would ever obtain a scan of the brass Disneyland Doubloon, much less the actual coin to prove its existence... Until, on 6/2010 - A Disneyland brass Cob or Piece of Eight stamper coin was offered for auction on eBay! The auction description read: " You are bidding on a "SUPER RARE, BRASS" PIRATES of the CARIBBEAN ATTRACTION SOUVENIR COIN from DISNEYLAND. Replica "Cob" PIECE OF EIGHT Sold only to guests at theme park attraction gift shops. No longer in production or sold to public! RARE PIRATES COLLECTIBLE ! Detailed SOLID BRASS coin Measures 1 3/8 Dia .x 3/32 thick with DISNEYLAND attraction stamp on the back side of coin. Photo is of the coin for this auction! Stainless steel coin is not for sale in this auction, shown only as a comparison to the original pirates attraction coin. Bid now on this RARE TREASURE! Winning bidder pays for shipping. I will accept PayPal payments. Payment must arrive within 7 days of auction close. Thank you for your bid! " An image of that coin, now a treasured part of the ParkPennies collection, is above. If you have any types of variations of "Pirate Stamper Coins" that are not shown, please contact us.
Boomer and the folks at ParkPennies.com