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Disney Elongated Coins, Pressed Pennies
Quality Changes 1987-2008

2008 ©

Many of you have asked "What the heck happened?"
Elongated Coin Designs and Quality
sad pressed penny smiley
( Boomer's thoughts and opinions inspired by visitor comments.)

Our article about the evolution of Disney elongated coins highlights evidence that Disney cares about the quality of their elongated coins. However, advanced elongated coin collectors, casual penny pressers, and even an "industry related" person or two have asked us to provide a quality comparison of more recent Disneyland elongated coins. Examples of souvenir quality changes at about the same time can also be seen by comparing the nicely engraved Hong Kong Disneyland Magical Coin Souvenirs issued in 2006 with the line drawings of the Hong Kong Disneyland Magical Coins issued in 2007. (Based on close inspection of Tokyo Disneyland Resort souvenir medals, it appears to us, that souvenir quality dropped, but, for only a short time and then was restored. In our opinion, the earlier dies may have been engraved by a different hand than the current dies. View the excellent quality of recently engraved Tokyo Disneyland souvenirs.)

Based on what we've heard, it seems some collectors and park guests are in disbelief how such a thing could happen at the place known the world around for both quality and art. We hope this reader inspired article will bring Disneyland's attention to what appears to be a trend to lower quality engravings and images on their elongated coin souvenirs.

UPDATE: 2008 has brought New Penny Press Management and a 2008 Seasonal Nickel set featuring very nice artwork and engraving. These coins were a hit with both guests and collectors. It is still early, but, we have hope that future coins will be as nice.

Here is our take on the subject.

Maybe of interest... "Elongated Coin History" with related Disneyland Pressed Coin History links.

Elongated Coin Comparison of the DL0251 and DL0415

Hand Engraving by Jimmy Vargas vs. Not Hand Engraved by Jimmy Vargas.

Disneyland Elongated Coin
Engraving Quality Changes

Pictures are worth a thousand words. (Especially given the way I ramble on!) As you can see above, I've selected a Main Street DL0251 nickel labeled "Early" which was placed on-stage in July of 2004 and its replacement, the DL0415 nickel labeled "Recent" which was placed on stage in September of 2007. If not for a change in engraving quality, I would have expected the two coins to be nearly indistinguishable. After all, both coins are elongated nickels, the same size, and appear to be based on the same artwork. Yet, as you can see, they are not alike. Some visitors have bluntly described the most recent coin as a "flat, stick drawing" especially when compared to the professionally engraved earlier example. The coins evidence a recent change that has left at least some park guests wondering "What the heck happened?".

For readers that would like to examine extreme close-ups of these coins, here is a link to a LARGE image of the earlier DL0251 Disneyland elongated nickel, and here is a link to a LARGE image of the more recent DL0415 Disneyland elongated nickel.

Elongated coin engraving comparison, lettering
"Droopy or Bouncing" text from the new DL0427 Sleeping Beauty
elongated Quarter. (Or Princess Aurora / Briar Rose if you prefer.)

Fine Detail Changes

Another example of what we see as a loss of quality is evident in the new Princess elongated quarter die. The original set featured high quality engraving, lettering, and dot borders. Although the replacement set, to it's credit, did keep a comparable quality of image or device engraving, the new coins lack the dot borders and general detail quality of the coins they replaced. For instance, to the right is an example of what seems to be "bouncing" or "drooping" text on the border-less* DL0427 Sleeping Beauty replacement quarter.

* Elongated coin borders may have been deleted to accommodate a denominational coin change, a transition to planchets, or simplified machine adjustment. Planchets, as used at other Disney parks, are insulated from future changes in US coinage and support easily increased profits. Only time will tell as we have no word from The Mouse.

Generic Goofy pressed coin

"Generic" Art

The unique, special, high quality art "Disneyland" pressed pennies have confirmed Walt's beginnings and mission for many years. However, just after the Magical Milestones pressed penny set was introduced in 2005, (Disneyland Park Pressed Penny Collection Guide numbers DL0347+) reports to ParkPennies lamented that many of the newer coins started to omit specific park, land, or attraction affiliation banners. Also missing were the unique themes, dot borders and fine details that used to be common.

Earlier Disney pressed coins often commemorated the land or attraction where they were pressed if not a special, dated park event. However, recently, common "Disneyland Resort" banners are often found as a standard on coins in Disneyland Park, California Adventure and even Downtown Disney. Matter of fact, many recent Disneyland Resort elongated coins even share the same generic art or derivatives used at other Disney Resorts. (Please reference the similar pressed penny pictures at the left and right, from different parks.)

If you are a visitor that has told us you sometimes press coins as souvenirs or mementos of a visit and later, while looking at the coin, can't remember where it's from, we hear you!

Generic Goofy Magical Coin
This generic coin could have been from DCA, Downtown Disney or Frontierland. It's from AdventureLand. This generic coin could have been from DCA, Downtown Disney or Frontierland. It's from Hong Kong.

When folks talked about Disney elongated coins in the past, they most always complemented both the design and execution of the design in the finished product. After all, Disney has for two decades now, kept a keen eye on providing a superior pressed coin souvenir, advancing the quality of the souvenir when possible, as mentioned in our New and Vintage Comparison of Disney Elongated Coins article.

However, lately we hear park guests and readers have mentioned their disappointment in some Disneyland "pressed pennies". You may have written us asking why a replacement die is "not done half as well as the one it replaced" or "why new coins are all alike". We have also personally heard park guests ask each other why a machine has three generic pictures of the same character and not one of the attraction they just enjoyed. We have of course, thought the same thing ourselves. Sadly, it seems, at least in the eyes of many consumers, some recent issues have parted from the path of the previously ever-improving Disneyland elongated coins.

We hope that quality and design weaknesses will improve with future elongated coin offerings. I think most park guests and Cast Members want to see "Disney Quality" engravings and artwork return to the Original Disneyland, home of the first Disney elongated coins. After all, the coins at Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland are so nice and seem to get better every year! High quality engravings with park, event, and attraction specific dated issues are common. Why not at Disneyland USA!?

Update: The quality of Hong Kong Disneyland coins has changed as well. Comparison of most 2006 Hong Kong Magical Coins vs. 2007 Hong Kong Magical Coins provides many examples similar to the DL0251 / DL0415 above. However, Tokyo Disneyland coins still seem to have maintained good quality engraving.

Happy collecting,
Boomer's Evil Twin.

You may comment Anony-Mousely if you wish. We welcome differing points of view.

Elongated coin link image Disneyland Park Elongated Coins
Elongated coin link image Tokyo Disneyland Elongated Souvenir Medals
Elongated coin link image Hong Kong Disneyland Elongated Souvenir Magical Coins
Elongated coin link image Disneyland Paris Elongated Coins
Elongated coin link image Disneyland Elongated Coin Collections

From the Disneyland Park DL Collection Guide
Click here to see any of these tiny Disneyland Pressed Pennies / Elongated Coins up close in Window #1.
Disney Elongated Coin Guide No. DL0251
Zoom or Compare in window # 1   2   3

(Elongated Disney coin image) DISNEYLAND ® , Nifty Nineties Mickey Mouse and Minnie, full length, standing behind logo, MAIN STREET U.S.A., © DISNEY. Image is cent-size. Smaller original gripper. This coin is a part of the "Lands Set".
(Horizontal pressed penny or elongated Disney coin image) [Reverse] DISNEYLAND ® PARK.
This obverse die, with DISNEYLAND ® RESORT stampback, please refer to the DL0380R vs. DL0408R comparison.

First on-stage 7/30/04 in the Penny Arcade, Main Street, This coin is was the first elongated Disney coin to feature a reverse. Replaced Lady and the Tramp DL0127.
 Disneyland Smashed Pennies / Elongated Coins up close in Window #1.
Elongated Penny Guide No. DL0415
Zoom or Compare in window # 1   2   3

(Elongated coin image) DISNEYLAND ® , Nifty Nineties Mickey and Minnie Mouse, full length, standing behind logo, MAIN STREET U.S.A., © DISNEY. Image is cent-size. This coin is a part of the "Lands Set". This coin has "line art" rather than three dimensional engraving as seen on the DL251, DL0380 and DL0408.

First on-stage at The Main Street Penny Arcade on 9/6/07. Replaced the DL0408. This coin is from a three play machine, using just one die at the time of this coin's introduction.
Disneyland pressed penny picture. Click to Zoom.
Elongated Penny Guide No.DL0160
Zoom or Compare in window # 1   2   3

(Elongated coin image) SLEEPING BEAUTY, Princess Aurora / Briar Rose standing, full length, full face, DISNEYLAND ® , © DISNEY. Dot border. "e" for Eurolink Design Corporation replaces the dot nearest the center of the gripper slot.

Same notes as for DL0158, button "C".
Disneyland smashed penny picture. Click to Zoom.
Smashed Penny Guide No.DL0427
Zoom or Compare in window # 1   2   3

(Elongated coin image) SLEEPING BEAUTY, Princess Aurora / Briar Rose standing, full length, © DISNEY. No border.
This coin is similar to the DL0160 which features a dot border.

Same notes as for DL0425. Replaces DL0160. Button "C".
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