What Happens to Retired Disneyland Pressed Coin Machines?
Based on our "Indiana Jones" or is it a "Disneyana Jones" adventure :-) starting around 1990 or so... We've found that Disneyland coin press machines, signs / marquees, elongated coin dies and related Disneyland pressed coin items have met with a wide variety of fates. The number of pressed coin dies, machines, and marquees disposed of in one particular way or another is hard to determine. However, we can estimate the total number of marquees painted or printed in the days of non-video machine cabinets and the number of dies engraved based on related ParkPennies guides, documentation, news. We can also weigh recollections of past Cast Members, findings of fellow collectors, observations, and our decades long searches in some of the most extraordinary places including but not limited to Southern California Disneyana Shows, garage sales, online auctions, etc. So, even if no official records of the ultimate disposition of these Disney arcade related treasures exist or ever existed, we have grounds to share some wildly incoherent (non-actionable) opinions with you here. :-)
Most retired Disneyland elongated coin dies (also known as pressed coin “Plates”) were likely canceled or destroyed on-site by Disney. We have welcomed both anony-mouse visitor reports and direct reports by trusted sources to ParkPennies.com / ParkPennies Staff stating that many dies, once taken offstage to be retired, were appropriately canceled by Disney in a manner like the Jack Steiner die via the word "Retired" or Mulan dies via a small Tinker Bell image acid etched within the field of the die's original design area. We applaud Disneyland Management for their choice to cancel so many coin dies. Coin dies that have been canceled / destroyed can never again be used to press additional, "original coins". So, park guests who have spent just a few minutes to press a single 50 cent treasure or spent decades and thousands of dollars to build a prized world-class collection can be confident that the Disneyland Resort pressed coins in their collections made by coin dies now canceled, will remain collectable park memories of the past, treasured bits of history and never will be re-issued. (An unnamed well-meaning amusement park in Fl°o°rida, that is conspicuously absent from our guides, thought it a good idea to resurrect their original four play penny press machine after it had been retired for a decade or more. We heard from upset collectors who had gone to great trouble and / or expense to obtain examples of early coins from this original machine before it was placed back onstage. I hope the folks in Florida also heard from them and will opt to provide the high level of guest experience and support that Disneyland Resort guests currently enjoy. Sorry, I digress. :-) Anyhow... If these reports made primarily over the years from 2004 to 2011 are correct, a majority of all retired Disneyland penny press dies ever onstage have been canceled or destroyed. That said, as of 2017, only a small number of these canceled die proofs, that is coins rolled from canceled dies, are known to have been released to the public e.g. Mulan. Once canceled, some coin dies and / or canceled coins are known to have been given to Cast Members, others were said to have been archived and / or eventually destroyed. ParkPennies would very much like to eventually add “canceled” notes in our guide listings for all pressed coins / coin dies that have been canceled or destroyed. (This is in part the reason for the addition of coin die numbers to our guides and at long last, shared a list of coin dies we believe have been canceled on this page.)
Some Disneyland penny press machines, pressed coins, marquees and coin dies were auctioned or otherwise sold by Disney, past Cast Members or their estates. Although many machines, cabinets, marquees, mechanisms and coin dies have been "recycled" that is, rebuilt, reused, remodeled, refurbished, updated… for reuse over and over. Advanced collectors are well aware that Disney and the estates of some longtime Cast Members have auctioned, gifted or sold some neat arcade coin press related collectibles from time to time. Disney offerings seem to be full spectrum in both value range and uniqueness. Estate sale offerings, albeit in small numbers, have often included desirable personal keepsakes which were preserved by Cast Members from their early years at Disneyland when coin press history was just beginning.
Being at the right place at the right time has been the key to acquiring these treasures. Event souvenirs like the two Villains dies originally sold at the Disneyland Villains Event in 2001 for $300.00 each to a pair of a very lucky collectors to an enthusiastic crowd of event attendees. In 2002, collectors had another chance to own the Divas framed coin die plate when it sold privately for $750.00. In 2015, the Villains framed coin die plate was auctioned on eBay and later sold privately for about twice as much. (Boomer of ParkPennies reported that as of 2015, a single collector is now custodian of the two framed Villains Event dies.) The canceled Mulan dies were offered in 2005 by the Disneyland Resort via Disney Auctionears (a Disney eBay site of the day) and brought winning bids of $300.00, $300.00, and $295.00 each, including some extras at the time. Additionally, ParkPennies "Boomer" reported purchasing a Disneyland Hotel token die for $62.99 including $6.99 S/H eBay Item#222144079838 and later a Scrooge McDuck Disney token die for $76.99 including $9.99 S/H eBay Item# 222170519684 both on eBay in 2016 from seller osbornecoinageco, The Osborne Coinage Company. Coin press machine marquees like the Villains machine marquee or the carousel pressed quarter machine marquee have also been sold over the years via Disney Auctionears etc. Other marquees have been reportedly offered at Disneyana shows by or on behalf of Cast Member estates.
Recollections of Disneyland's liquidation of arcade artifacts are common place at meetings of the Antique Coin Machine Collectors Association, ACMCA1. Trusted sources there shared that in the last century, early to mid-1990s, the old Disneyland warehouse north of Ball Road in Anaheim may have auctioned / sold off pallets of used arcade equipment to clear storage space. We have heard repeated recollections by people close to Disney arcade liquidations over the years who stated that pallets (sometimes "blind") sometimes including old penny press machines and / or related parts (dies, cases, marquees) were sold / auctioned from the then recently acquired Disney Global Van Lines building on the south side of Ball Road. (This location later became the site of Team Disney, Anaheim.) One representative discussion attended by unquestionably knowledgeable people described the sale / purchase of a particularly large group of ~100 Disneyland arcade machines of various types. Two people familiar with the sales said Disney's motivation was to liquidate older, less profitable or obsolete machines and most importantly to clear valuable storage space. Accordingly, this particular group of various types of retired coin operated arcade machines and games was offered at a very low price per machine. However, the buyer was required to purchase and remove all machines in the group. The principal buyer found a partner and split this particular purchase ~20/80. The principal partner kept only the smaller fraction of the machines, but, the best of the lot. The other partner kept the larger balance of the lot. Sadly, many of the machines in the larger lot were ultimately exposed to weather, abandoned, and / or discarded. The loss of these machines was seen by some as unfortunate at the time. However, given today's value and rarity of these irreplaceable often historic Disneyland arcade machines, it now seems more than tragic to this collector. Fortunately, the better machines of this group were saved. On occasion they have been reported to ParkPennies.com as they were traded or sold from one custodian to another over the years. Other machines
found permanent homes with private collectors across the country, to be seen only by close friends.
Occasionally, welcome reports of Disneyland penny press machine finds have been shared with ParkPennies. Most notable verified reports were in around 2002, when the DL0001 and DL0002 Centek penny press machines, less their marquees and possibly some other parts, were reported to have been auctioned some time earlier at the Disney Ball Road warehouse. In 2007, a complete Florida machine with dies was reported as found by a collector. The machine appeared to be the WDW pressed penny machine that had been located at the Florida Visitors Center and had possibly suffered hurricane damage. And again in 2014, a complete 1990s Disneyland Resort three-play penny press machine with dies was reported purchased from a thrift shop in Idaho, years before, by a very happy family of avid Disneyland enthusiasts. (Who have so far declined to sell the machine, repeatedly.:-) Others have reported that in late 2011, Disneyland Property Control / Cast Connections (The small area that was then behind the gates inside The Company D Cast Member Store on Cerritos in Anaheim, which is accessible by Cast Member's only, not their anxious guests.) offered several penny press machine cases, some including buttons and / or marquees for sale by bid. In 2017, the early version of the Buzz Lightyear penny press machine (Large buttons), less most mechanical parts, was offered for sale via FaceBook Disney Fan page. (The case may have been from the earlier Company D sales?) The legendary "Wishing Well" coins were also auctioned or offered for sale / auction / bid by the bag to those interested at the DLR. Other items may still await rediscovery. If you have purchased elongated coin related items via these outlets or others, we would appreciate the addition of your recollections / pictures etc. to this archive. If you are searching for one of these pieces of Disneyland history, do enjoy both the adventure and the rewards. 1ACMCA Member's collections include slot machines, trade simulators, arcade games, vending, entertainment, and novelty machines that are often very rare and sometimes valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Collaborative comments made by multiple trusted ACMCA meeting attendees including long-time Disneyland Cast Members described past sales of arcade machines by Disneyland which have been documented here by ParkPennies' Robert Hoff an ACMCA member.
Several penny press machine pressed coin dies and marquees were given as awards or gifts to Disneyland Cast Members. Special event penny press machine dies and or marquees were awarded to Cast Members. Of note, the Pirates of the Caribbean Rehab Team, Ron Dominguez, Bill Hogarth, and Jack Steiner elongated coin dies were respectively awarded. (As examples please see our Jack Steiner retirement gifts page.) Many other more common dies and marquees, once obsolete, were reportedly given away as gifts, paper weights or souvenirs to interested Cast Members in lieu of discarding the very cool mementos. A report made late in 2014 stated that "a few used penny press dies" were offered for sale at a Garden Grove Disneyana Show in the summer of 2014, possibly from the estate of a Disneyland Cast Member. A rumor, with evidence, surfaced in early 2018 that several pressed coin dies, some canceled, and "a group of earlier marquees" were part of an estate that was liquidated in 2017 outside of California. Needless to say, dies and penny press machine marquee signs given as gifts, awards, or salvaged over past decades are often difficult to track down or confirm. Little is known of the what, when, where, or who of these distributions. If you have one of these pieces of history or know of one not mentioned here, please send a picture to share the history with fellow collectors.
A few Disneyland penny press dies failed in service. Park visitors have reported to us that in their presence occasionally dies have failed from cracks or other use-related damage. One Splash Mountain die reportedly broke into several pieces. Some of the broken die pieces followed the path intended for the pressed coin into the hands of a lucky park guest(!) Because coin dies are often onstage for years and even then are usually replaced in full sets, logically, we believe the number of dies lost to mechanical failure is a small percentage. However some older dies, that have "sunk" or been repeatedly damaged by foreign coins, may have reached the end of their useful lives when they are eventually replaced.
Lastly, some Disneyland penny press dies and marquees may have been just plain old lost! This is something I understand more and more as I get older. :-) As time passes, we hope retiring Cast Members as well as advanced collectors and other people in the industry will continue to share their knowledge with fellow collectors via this forum. As coin dies and marquees are discovered / reported we are slowly divining the fate of "lost" items. Eventually, confirmed dispositions of Disney penny press machine dies will be added to the ParkPennies.com coin guides as an enhancement to the existing "Current" and "Retired" notations. New guide notations will eventually include "Canceled" for coin dies that have proven to be no longer capable of pressing an original or unaltered coin again, "Assigned" for sold, auctioned, gifted or awarded coin dies that can still press original coins, and "Lost" for dies that are still unaccounted for and have an uncertain status. Last but not least: in time, we hope to add proof of dies that have been canceled by adding images of coins that were pressed by the dies after cancellation to the Disneyland pressed penny dies and canceled coins guide. and via notes to the Disneyland Pressed Coin Guides.
Happy Collecting, Boomer and the folks at ParkPennies
CDL Die and Canceled Coin Guide
This Canceled Elongated Coin and Die Guide currently covers only a small number of elongated coins / dies. However, chances are that it will grow. Some advanced collectors will tell us that elongated coins are collected based on the die that pressed them, so canceled coins and dies are the focus here. These are not just retired or taken off-stage coin dies. These "pressed penny" dies have not only been taken off-stage, they have been modified, engraved or even mutilated in such a way as to prevent the possibility of pressing of any additional "original" coins. Some coin dies have had etched devices added to the original engravings to forever change the appearance of coins pressed by the dies. In some cases, stampbacks that read "retired" were added to memorialize "proof" canceled coins as per the example to the left of this digressive prose.:-) After cancellation, the longtime custom of "Rollers" or elongated coin makers, has been to press some coins on the canceled die to "prove" its cancellation, then sometimes modify the die in such a way that it can no longer roll any coins. We currently believe that to be the practice at Disneyland given the milling of the Mulan coin dies and the welding / plating of the Jack Steiner die.
Avid collectors know that thousands of elongated coin dies have been made for / by the various Disney Resorts and then taken offstage over the past twenty-plus years. A good number of Disneyana collectors have also had an interest in what happened to these dies. And we all know Disneyland elongated coin collectors who have hoped "retired" Disney dies would be canceled for years. Then around 2005, we started seeing evidence that the dies were really being "permanently retired" via cancellation. (Example: Canceled 50th pressed coins -obverse and -reverse.) This is great news for collectors who have made an extra effort to press elongated coins at the park and collectors that have acquired "retired" coins from other collectors at a premium price. Of course, canceled dies / coins rolled by canceled dies are the best evidence that the dies can no longer press original coins or return to the Disneyland stage, that is the coin die is closed. See also:The Mulan canceled dies
Boomer's List of Canceled Disneyland Pressed Coin Dies
Acknowledged As Having Been Canceled / Closed
& Incapable of Producing Additional "Original Coins"
*Canceled / Closed Coin Die: A die that has fulfilled its purpose and has been permanently engraved with a mark visible on future pressed coins to call attention to its expiration. Such cancellation may be in the form of defacement of the design, such as several crisscrossed lines, the addition of a cancellation mark etc. Retired coin dies are not necessarily canceled. However, canceled coins are "retired". **Broken: Coin die was reported and acknowledged as broken / cracked and unable to produce additional original coins.
Boomer's Coin Die List History, Details and Disclaimers
History: This Disneyland Resort canceled coin die list began around the turn of the century. Over the years, as clear and convincing evidence of coins or dies with cancellation marks was uncovered, additions were made to the list bit by bit. Eventually, I hope to link images of related canceled dies or coins to the die numbers listed above. Stay tuned. :-)
Details: When referencing this list, please remember that several additional coin dies have been broken, cracked etc. over the years. Although broken dies have not been added to this list yet, they too could be considered "canceled". (Often damaged coin die notes can be found in the coin's guide listing.) Also, dies absent from this list may or may not have been canceled and some dies were apparently canceled in groups, such as the 50th Anniversary pressed coin dies obverse and -reverse.
Disclaimers: Although I have relied upon and have confidence in these data, no assurances of accuracy or completeness can be given. After all, I can make errors and the status of many coin dies is still unknown. However, this list, with your help, will improve and become more and more complete over time. Please contact us with any of your most welcome additions, corrections or suggestions. Happy collecting, Boomer
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to know if a coin die has been canceled? It provides piece of mind. Collectors need not worry that additional original coins could be reissued after a coin die has been canceled. (Unsolicited rant follows :-) To the shock of many collectors, in the early 2000s, Walt Disney World placed their long retired very early coin press machine back onstage pressing "original coins" after decades of "retirement". It crashed the value of those very early coins and the confidence of some WDW pressed coin collectors. An event that we believe may have prompted Disneyland Resort's most welcome collector-focused coin press policies around that same time which included stampbacks, die cancellation, etc. Note: Although many Disneyland Resort pre-2000 coin dies have been canceled, we believe they weren't canceled until sometime after ~2003.)
Why use coin die numbers instead of the ParkPennies listed pressed coin numbers? Coin dies are primary and define related coin groups. As we have seen, a single coin die can produce a group of unique coins when matched with various reverses / stampbacks. As an example, the coin guides tell us that the Disneyland Resort DR0076 and the Disneyland Park DL0253 Snow White pressed coins were both made by die #DRP0043. We see that canceled coin die listed above. Because we know of this interrelationship and that if a coin die or any one of the coins produced by the coin die is known to have a cancellation mark, we also know _none_ of the related coins in that group can be reissued. Win! :-)
Additional thoughts: A letter we can now post (links added): "IN MY OPINION, based on what I've heard or hallucinated over the past 30 years: Disney coin dies in general were not "preserved". They were treated as ephemera. I haven't heard of nor do I believe that there has been a defined process for the disposal or preservation of coin dies over the years. Early dies I understand were tossed in the trash, lost, used as paper weights, doorstops... Some were given to Cast Members as prizes or in lieu of being discarded. Some were later offered on tables at "Disneyana" shows... Many if not most of these early dies have scattered all over the continental United States, especially now that their original owners have passed away. Around the turn of the century, "concerned pressed coin advocates" suggested that it would be proper to cancel any "retired" dies still held by the park and that they could then optionally be sold without fear of re-rolling. (As you know, some were sold by Disney on their Disneyears Auctions and others were offered for sale / auction at Disney events. ParkPennies.com has some articles about them.)
-I skipped a lot here-
An effort was made to cancel the dies that hadn't been distributed or disposed of and sell them e. g. the Mulan set. Later, the process moved to placing "cancel marks" on the dies still held at the park so that whatever happened to them, they would not be re-rolled. (In some cases dies were canceled after sample off-denomination coins had been rolled.) After cancellation, a small number of coins were rolled on each die as "proof" of cancellation. (Some of these canceled coins were offered on Disneyears, others have been reported by Cast Members and or collectors as having been seen / imaged.) It is my understanding that a mass of dies e.g. 50th dies and more were etched with little Mickey heads, Tinker Bells, bold "RETIRED", etc. Others were cracked and welded to steel plates, pending possible future projects or disposal and some were placed in miniature penny presses, much like the Jack Steiner retirement piece. I've skirted the subject in the article: https://www.parkpennies.com/pressed-pennies-disneyland/retired-coin-press-machines-dies-marquees-canceled-coins.htm I was privileged to make some great friends with retired Cast Members some that were 20 - 30 years at the park. One CM that was in the midst of the coin press development from before 1987 to ~2000 as well as people in "the industry" that were very kind to share their recollections. Cast Members were courteous while still employed, but not too informative. Sadly their ranks have thinned from deaths and poor health. Managers that oversaw the operations often were promoted or rotated out taking with them the knowledge they had gained during their tenure. I can say that I never met or talked to a person associated with the hobby that didn't seem to be truly enthusiastic about being part of it. "
Our apologies for a website that is often patched together and poorly organized as is this page. As you may have noticed, :-) with no knowledge of websites, I began making my first website mistakes in the 1990s. That same 1990s database, pages, images... have carried over for the most part year after year with newer additions patched onto it. So, decades of mistakes! :-) I hope there will be a more modern re-write of the website in the future. But, until then, we will try to do what we do best and focus on information over form. If you have a question or can't find something on this website, contact us. We will try to help or will at least share your pain. :-) Happy collecting, Boomer.
This page has been updated with edits, adds, grammatical corrections, and new grammatical errors were added :-) in 8-2017, 3-2018, 1-2019, 6-2022...