Cents of local pride: Pinched penny options to expand in Silver BayThey are called by many names – elongated coins, pressed pennies, flattened pennies, and pinched pennies. They made their first appearance at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and will appear in Silver Bay this summer.
They are called by many names – elongated coins, pressed pennies, flattened pennies, and pinched pennies. They made their first appearance at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and will appear in Silver Bay this summer.
A new “penny press” machine will be located in the lobby of the Silver Bay AmericInn Hotel beginning this Memorial Day weekend.
The made-in-Minnesota penny press machine features four images by artist Gary Baune, originally from Silver Bay. Two quarters are inserted along with a penny. A hand crank is then used to force the penny through high-pressure steel rollers that imprint a custom design onto the coin.
The result is an inexpensive, unique, local copper memento. Brand-new, bright, shiny, uncirculated pennies will be available onsite for the first Bay Area “penny pinchers.”
“My youngest son got interested in collecting penny souvenirs and it was hands-on fun,” said Baune, owner of BayWorks Studios in Fargo. “Over the years, the boy has acquired hundreds of coins in his collector books. Friends and relatives sent them to him from all over too.”
His son’s favorite design in the new Silver Bay penny set is the ATV. Baune says he’s partial to Rocky Taconite.
“Our family has visited lots of great places in this country and we always choose to return to the North Shore,” he said.
Baune partnered with former Silver Bay neighbor and classmate, Cheryl Blood Newman, to get the penny machine completed.
“We had fun reminiscing about growing up in Silver Bay and we wanted to make this machine something that both Silver Bay visitors and residents would enjoy,” Blood Newman said.
“I‘ve started to notice penny press machines wherever I travel,” she said. “I recently pinched pennies alongside Japanese and German tourists, on historic Route 66.”
The two grew up as neighbors and classmates in what was then the brand-new taconite mining town of Silver Bay. Friends from kindergarten through college, they call their joint adventure Pinch-n-Pennies.
Blood Newman is a training manager for a Twin Cities area airline. Baune is owner of Fargo-based BayWorks Studios, offering illustration, graphic design, videography, and photography services.
You find penny machines in lots of adventurous places: museums, aquariums, parks, zoos, stadiums, gift shops, amusement centers, and even the Minnesota State Fair. Serious collectors research and seek out machine destinations, then save their precious pennies in special collectors’ albums.
The Silver Bay penny machine launch is just the beginning. Their bigger goal is to explore ways to share information about their treasured hometown. Work is underway to develop an illustrated area map, a children’s book, local videos, a website, cross-promotions with local retailers, and ideas for a mobile app. They are also considering penny press machines in other locations.
Baune and Newman’s favorite high school chemistry teacher (and active local AmericInn partner), Gary Zinter, acted as a liaison to help secure a home for the penny machine in the family-friendly Silver Bay AmericInn.
“It’s a good fit with our guests,” Zinter said. “We hope folks will stop by to pinch a penny and view the historic community displays in our lobby. We’re getting ready to welcome travelers for the World’s Largest ATV Parade in June and want everyone to pinch a souvenir, maybe an ATV coin.”
Visit www.PennyCollector.com to find out more about this frugal and educational hobby. The website lists machine locations around the world and as close as Split Rock Lighthouse.