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.)
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 long time 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
The Disneyland Pressed Coin &
Coin Die Numbering Systems How to Identify Individual Pressed Coin Dies &
The Elongated Coins Made by Each Coin Die
The ParkPennies coin and die numbering systems identify elongated coins and elongated coin dies by number based on age, design, and linage. Because of this numbering system, you can collect one "Gate", "Park", themed set, or entire resort independently by specific park / gate guide. You'll know the guide numbers used to identify the coins you already have. Also you'll know which coins you need to complete a set, what they look like, when they were onstage and their guide numbers for easy identification when searching for them. From here down are details only advanced collectors will care about. But, this is ParkPennies and this is what we do. :-)
ParkPennies Pressed Coin Numbering reveals the age of the die and coin, the earliest coin ever pressed on the die and the order of all the elongated coins that followed. The ParkPennies Coin Die Numbering system links all coins made from the same obverse die (have the exact same image). What's the oldest pressed coin? Just search / sort to find the lowest pressed coin number. What other coins have been pressed by this same die? Just search / sort by the coin die number to find other coins that share the same coin die image. Collecting all the coins issued at one park or a themed set, the ParkPennies pressed coin numbers are all you need. Enjoy.
Off-Denomination / Non-Native Coins / Tokens / Planchets: A suffix may also be added if there is a change from the original or "native" coin. That is, a DL0001 native penny die that pressed nickel variation would be a DL0001N, an exceptionally scarce and valuable Disney pressed coin. Coin type suffixes include "P" = Penny generic, "SP" Steel Penny, "N"= Nickel generic, "SN" = Silver Nickel, "D"= Dime generic, "SD" Silver Dime, "Q"= Quarter generic, "SQ" Silver Quarter, "CQ" Clad Quarter, "DC"= Dollar Coin generic, "T"= Token... and are used only when the coin type is not the original, "native" coin. "Non-native" or "off-denomination" elongated coins, often have "blank backs" as they may have been pressed before or after they were (if ever) paired with a backstamp (reverse coin die). However, they are otherwise identical. Based on our findings over the years, we believe there are examples of "non-native" or "off-denomination" pressed coins for the majority (if not all) Disneyland Resort, Anaheim coin dies. Some examples from other Disney Resorts around the world are also known. The most common (and for some collectors the most desirable) "non-native" or "off-denomination" Disney elongated coin is a nickel variation of a native cent. The next most common we have seen is a dime variation of a cent, then quarter. Known examples of other "non-native" variations include foreign coins and "slugs" / planchets made of silver, brass, or copper in penny, nickel, dime, quarter sizes. The search for "off-denomination" Disney elongated coins can be frustrating; they can be very hard to find. Although a few onstage pressed coins were first introduced as pressed cents and later offered as pressed nickels, they are the exception. Back-stories we've heard about how / why "off-denomination" some coins have been made include: 1. Test coins pressed by the engraver to progressively inspect the quality of the die engraving as it takes shape. 2. During the time coin press machines were initially set up and the (shimmed) dies were being seated. 3. As test rolls / experiments to save an off-size die by fitting a smaller or larger coin to a die that was made too small or large for the intended coin. (Penny-size nickels) 4. For special projects such as framed anniversary sets or retiring Cast Members gifts. 5. Also we have heard few unconfirmed stories that have been shared with ParkPennies for decades suggesting that Cast Members, while repairing a machine onstage, offered to press a dime or nickel in a penny or quarter machine. (Some folks have all the luck! :-)
NOTE: Multiple Location Pressed Coins: On occasion, an elongated coin die may press its first coin in say, Disneyland Park. To identify the coin it would be given an appropriate "DL" guide number prefix. Possibly that same die, might be moved to say Disney California Adventure at later time. If so, a coin pressed on that same die at that new location, would be given an appropriate "CA" guide number. A later backstamp change would again result in a new coin and coin guide number. So, coins pressed on that single die could in theory have a few different guide numbers. However, the basic pressed coin die number would remain the same and will make it clear when / if one coin die is represented by more than one pressed coin because the all the coins pressed by that die will share the same pressed coin die number.
Side note: Would a coin pressed by the original "DL" machine located at the new "CA" location be identical to a coin from the original location? Maybe. However, additional die ware or die sinking could be evident in the later pressing. Also, if the obverse die is paired with a reverse or backstamp die, it is likely the backstamps would be different.
The Disneyland Pressed Coin Die
What is a PRESSED COIN DIE? Pressed coin dies or "plates" as Disney sometimes calls them are the heart of a pressed coin machine. At Disneyland, coin press dies are usually segmented, replaceable pieces of metal that are bolted to or sometimes part of the steel rollers between which your coin is squeezed. These tiny pieces of Disney themed art usually feature an image engraved in reverse. When your coin is pressed between the two dies / rollers, a raised, fantastic, image is formed as your coin is pressed into a made before your eyes priceless, collectable keepsake. :-) Next time you are at a DLR penny press, do look inside the window, you may be able to see your coin and these dies and rollers as your coin is being pressed between them.
How are PRESSED COIN DIE numbers assigned? The ParkPennies' machine coin die numbering system provides the advanced collector with an additional way to research / attribute a coin's provenance with just a Google site search of the coin die number. A collector can find the die's age, the first coin guide number pressed by the die, as well as the family or lineage of coins that have shared the same pressed coin die image over its often many years of service. Of course, some machine dies are replaced early if they become out of date, fail in operation, or the machine is updated with more current coin designs others may be onstage for decades. What becomes of obsolete / retired dies?
How to DECODE Pressed coin die guide numbers: Like the pressed coin guide numbers of the elongated coins they make, coin dies are assigned unique numbers that are chronologically based on the coin die's original coin type / gate / park / location. Example: "DLP0002.0.1" "DLP"=Disneyland Park, "0002"=The root number that identifies this coin die as the second onstage elongated coin die at The Disneyland Park, ".0"= The coin die engraved image has not been modified since it pressed its first coin, .1 The coin made with this die was matched with the die's first reverse or backstamp die (no backstamp=.0). The current prefixes are: "DLP"= Disneyland Park, "DCA"= Disney California Adventure, "DRP"= Disneyland Resort Property, "CMP"= Cast Member and Special Event, "DSP"= Disneyland Shop, "DNP"= Disney Neverland Prototypes, "DOP"= Disneyland Off Property, and "DWP"= Disney WannaBe Tributes.
What is Special About Disneyland Pressed Coin Machines? A special plus with most Disneyland Resort coin smashing machines is they make a "double" pressed coin. (Sometimes called "mules" by advanced numismatists or as the unfortunate name of "die marriages" by the US Mint.) Since 2004, most all new coin designs feature both an obverse (front) and reverse (back) coin die image. Because of the two pressed coin dies, DLR elongated coins often feature a "picture" on the front and an inscription on the back of your special memento. Very cool! It also means that a single obverse (front) coin die can produce several different pressed coins each with a unique guide number when paired with different backstamps, modified, or moved to a new park, etc. (Per the pressed coin guide numbering system.)
How can you tell how many different coins / guide numbered coins were made using a particular obverse die? The ParkPennies Pressed Coin Die Numbering System! :-) Happy collecting, Boomer.
PS I'm sorry. This section is way too big a mess. (Not that I have to mention that to you. :-) I do hope to re-write it soon. I fear I will probably only be making it a bigger mess :-). But, for now, I hope this information, the kind of details ParkPennies is all about, will be of help in building your collection. As always, we welcome your additions, suggestions, concerns, comments, cash shipments... :-) Just contact us.
Happy collecting, Boomer.
This Canceled Elongated Coin and Die Guide currently covers only a small number of elongated coins / dies. However, chances are that it will grow. 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, backstamps that read "retired" were added to memorialize "proof" canceled coins as per the example to the left of this digressive prose.:-) After cancellation, the long time 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. 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.
Canceled Mulan Penny Press Machine Dies Images courtesy of the Lou S. Collection
Top view of the canceled penny press die shows
and Tinker Bell images
Bottom view of the canceled penny press die shows
cut almost through the die
End view of the canceled penny press die shows
curvature of the die
and the machined groove
CDL Canceled Disneyland ® Elongated Coins (Scarce)
Canceled die coin numbers are prefixed by a "C" e.g. CDL0121 for easy identification.
REVERSE (Horizontal image) RETIRED. This stamp featured on the DL0121, DL0122 and DL0123 Mulan set pressed penny set. This Mulan set is the first set of canceled dies or canceled coins offered by Disney. 188 sets were pressed for sale by Disney Auctionears. About six sets were known sold via these auctions as of mid 2005 at the time the three canceled dies were also auctioned. (See also CDL0121-123 type 2 coins.) Image courtesy of the Lou Smith Collection.
This is a representative image of this style reverse or backstamp. However, each coin type in this set may have a slightly different reverse image as each coin type has a separate and slightly unique backstamp engraving. 123
This is a close up of the Tinker Bell stamp used to cancel the DL0121, DL0122 and DL0123 Mulan pressed penny set. For clarification we have added an outline of a similar Tinker Bell image to the left of the canceling mark.
(The name "Tinkerbell" is not used by Disney.)
This is a representative image of the Tinker Bell canceling mark used on this set of coins. However, each coin type in this set may have a slightly different canceling mark as each coin type has a separate and slightly unique engraving or etching. (See also CDL0121-123 type 2 coins.)
This is a close up of the small bit of "RETIRED" as seen on a "standard" roll coin. It was added to the DL0121, DL0122 and DL0123 Mulan pressed penny set after the first coins were pressed. This mark and a blank back are the defining differences between the first and second Mulan canceled coin types. Click on the image to see a large close up of this coin showing both the "RETIRED" and Tinker Bell etchings used to cancel this die set.
Here is a close up of the "RETIRED" on specially rolled planchets to show the full etching. It was added to the DL0121, DL0122 and DL0123 Mulan pressed penny set after the first coins were pressed. This mark and a blank back are the defining differences between the first and second Mulan canceled coin types. Click on the image to see a large close up of this coin showing both the "RETIRED" and Tinker Bell etchings used to cancel this die set.
Images courtesy of the C. Neal Collection.
This page has been updated with edits, adds, grammatical corrections, and new grammatical errors were added :-) in 8-2017, 3-2018, 1-2019...