Bitcoin BTC with Real US coins on coin wrappers

Why Do People Buy Physical Bitcoin Tokens?

Cryptocurrency Tokens

Most people know that Bitcoin is not an ACTUAL coin, but get confused when they see products like these online:

Normally, I do not post about cryptocurrency as it has little relation to the hobby of coin collecting, but I saw this item trending in “Hobby Coin Collecting Products” on Amazon and I wanted to address any confusion.

You cannot buy a physical Bitcoin, because there is no such thing. You can have codes, known as key, that give you access to Bitcoin. These keys can be printed on physical items, but the Bitcoin itself is not the item.

The tokens above are simply tokens. They are meant to signify the idea of Bitcoin, but you cannot store or own Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency with the tokens above.

So why do people buy physical cryptocurrency tokens?

I think the main reason people buy these tokens are as gifts for others interested in cryptocurrency. Buying cryptocurrency is complicated for beginners and this is a much easier gift idea for a BTC fanatic.

Since Bitcoin has no physical form, this is an easier way to show off an interest in cryptocurrency. These can be put in display cases for a good desk decoration.

Although the tokens above cannot store any cryptocurrency, you can purchase tokens that do store cryptocurrency.

Cold Storage Wallet

Cold storage wallets are as close as you can get to having a physical cryptocurrency coin.

Cold storage wallets are not connected to the internet. It is simply a public and private key printed on a physical item so that you have access to your keys anytime.

A cold storage wallet does actually store Bitcoin. However, it is important to note that it does not come with Cryptocurrency on the token. You will have to buy your own Bitcoin on a platform like Coinbase and transfer it over. This transfer will cost a fee.

People buy cold storage wallet tokens to prevent their cryptocurrency from being susceptible to online cyber attacks. Theoretically your coins are safer in a cold wallet because it can’t be hacked.

One thing to consider, is that in the manufacturing process someone at one point likely had access to your private key. This means that the company or a malicious employee could potentially have access to all cryptocurrency stored on the wallet.

And the weirdest crypto token selling I have ever seen…

Crypto Candles

These candles come with a Bitcoin token and $5 or more of Bitcoin.

Without a doubt one of the strangest candles I have ever seen for sale, but definitely a fun quirky idea. I have seen a similar design for rings where you melt the candle and have a potential of getting valuable jewelry.

These are pretty pricey, considering you are likely to only get 1 candle + 5$ in BTC + a BTC token, but the potential of winning more makes it fun. This is definitely a fun gift idea for a crypto-enthusiast just for the novelty of it.

Share any thoughts or comments below! I am by no means an expert on cryptocurrency, but I can try to answer any questions.

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Decision Coin YES/NO Medallion Challenge Coin

Decision Making Token Review: Let A Coin Decide Your Fate

While browsing the internet recently, I found a really useful kind of exonumia (tokens): the decision coin! These tokens are meant to be flipped and will land on a side to help you make a decision.

Usually, the coin gives a “yes” or “no” side, but some of the decision coins get more creative. Here is a comparison of 6 different decision challenge coins.

The Classic Yes/No

This one has a very classic and simple design. The makers did a good job on the weight and diameter.

At 39mm in diameter, it is about the size of a silver dollar, but weighs .634 ounces. This means it will have a good weight for holding, but still be easy to flip.

I like this decision coin’s construction a lot, even though the design is a bit boring.

The Gothic Design

I love the design on this coin, especially the “yes” side. It’s a very gothic look with nice detail in the design.

This challenge coin comes in two colors: silver or bronze. The silver looks better, but weighs 1.37 ounces. A 1.37 ounce coin would be difficult for me to flip smoothly on my thumb. (It is not real silver, just silver colored.)

The bronze is a better weight at .81 ounces, but some customers have complained that the bronze is darker in person.

The Pirate Token

I’m not a fan of this coin’s design. The “YES” and “NO” font looks a bit tacky to me. Plus, there is no coherent theme. This coin is a strange mix of gothic and pirate and I’m not a fan of it.

Other than the design, this coin is by the same maker that did the two previous coins, so I have no qualms with the quality of it.

Go To Bed Coin

This design is so cute! I like the risk the designer took in making a coin for a very specific occasion.

The sheep on the back of the coin are adorable (although the feet freak me out). There are a lot of small details that really bring this coin together and make it a great gift for the bookworm in your life.

In the product description it says, “Coins are struck in the USA using antique machinery and traditional coining techniques.” So they get points for that! A lot of thought went into these coins.

At 35mm and 12 grams, I’d say it is a good weight and size for flipping in your hand. My one issue with this coin is that copper has a very distinct smell that can transfer to your hand.

If you are more of a binger than a bookworm, then this is the decision coin for you:

The Crude Coin

This coin is better for decisions with your drinking buddies than making decisions at work.

I like the design, it was really creative to have the palm in different directions for each side. The “ZFG” diamond logo also has a “H” for heads and a “T” for tails engraved in it which is a nice touch.

This is another coin of 39mm diameter and .81 ounces. This is a good coin for flipping.

The Simple Charm

This little charm is very cute. This would be a good decision coin for young kids, especially since it is about 25.4mm in diameter (the size of a quarter) it would be easy for a child to flip.

Practically, I’m suspicious of this coin being evenly weighted since it is handcrafted pewter. If you want a coin that you are sure is giving 50/50 odds of yes or no, then I would avoid this coin.

Anything else to add? Share a comment and vote in our poll below!

I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

Several Elongated Smashed Pennies

All About Elongated Pennies – History, Myths, Pictures

Elongated pennies also known as: smashed pennies, crushed pennies, pressed pennies. Elongated pennies are pieces of exonumia meant to be used as souvenirs to commemorate people, places, or events.

The first elongated penny was introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Below is a photo of one of the first elongated pennies from the Chicago World’s Fair.

1893 First Smashed Elongated Penny Chicago Worlds Fair
1893 First Smashed Elongated Penny Chicago World’s Fair

Are Elongated Pennies Illegal?

NO! This myth has been around for decades and it is not true. Elongated pennies are not illegal to make or to own.

Although making elongated pennies is technically mutilation, as defined by the US Code Title 18, mutilation of US coinage is not illegal unless the intent is to use the mutilated coin for counterfeiting or for use of the base metal.

I once heard a woman claim that smashed penny machines do not actually use the penny you put in to make the souvenir, she claimed the machine instead used blanks of copper. This is also not true and easily disproved.

This is a 2019D Penny that was elongated.

If you put a penny into an elongated penny machine, you will notice the resulting elongated coin has the same color, and sometimes you can even make out the same date and mintmark, like in the coin above!

Where can you find elongated penny machines?

Elongated Penny machines are easy to find in most tourist-y areas (and some non-tourist areas!). Museums, gift shops, arcades, adventure parks, and wildlife areas are all common places to find pressed penny machines.

A good resource is which has a list of pressed penny machines submitted by users. Oftentimes, it also lists the designs available as well. Unfortunately, some of the data may be out of date.

Disneyland is a great place to start a pressed penny collection. According to, Disneyland Resort has over 155 pressed penny designs spread throughout the park!

You can even buy an elongated penny book specifically for Disney smashed pennies! This is a great cheap souvenir for kids, and it is a fun adventure to find them all.

Although tourist attractions are more likely to have pressed penny machines, you can find these machines in many different locations, some you wouldn’t expect.

During a cross country road-trip, I found a pressed penny machine in a gas station in Valentine, Nebraska. Valentine is a city with a population of less than 3,000!

Valentine Nebraska Elongated Penny
Elongated Penny From Valentine Nebraska

What are they worth?

I have not been able to find a direct answer on whether or not banks will accept elongated pennies as mutilated currency. It seems as if it is up to the discretion of the bank, although it seems very unlikely the bank will accept them.

If you have several elongated pennies, you could probably get more money selling them online instead of trying to return them to a bank. Although not worth a fortune, a bulk lot of elongated pennies will usually sell for about 50 cents to 1 dollar per smashed penny.

How to store elongated pennies

The best way to store elongated pennies for easy travel on trips is an elongated coin album. These can be purchased online or at most gift shops.

I currently have the “United States Penny Collector” elongated penny album, and it has worked great. Plus it comes with an elongated penny!

My one complaint with this book is that it is too small! It has room for 44 pennies, which is a decent size for a beginner or for someone collecting on one trip, but if you plan to collect for a few years, then I would recommend a bigger album.

This is the elongated penny album I plan to upgrade to for my next trip. It holds 146 elongated coins, has a pocket to keep quarters and pennies in, and a journal section to keep track of your finds! (Plus, it comes in different colors!)

If you prefer not to store them in an album, or would like to create your own album, you can also buy cardboard penny flips. This is another great storage method, but not very convenient for traveling as you will also need a stapler.

I store my pennies mostly so I don’t lose track of them. I do not expect these pennies to appreciate much in value, so I am not worried about their condition.

Tips for using a pressed penny machine

It is possible to use a pressed penny machine wrong and come out with a less than desirable coin. First, I would recommend using a penny dated before 1982. These pennies are 95% and reduce your chances of getting zinc streaks.

Below is an image of an elongated penny with zinc streaks:

Sea Otter Elongated Penny with Zinc Streaks
A Sea Otter Elongated Penny From Santa Cruz, California with Zinc Streaks.

Here is an elongated penny done on a pre-1982 copper penny:

CA Republic Elongated Penny Copper
A Copper Elongated Penny

The most important tip to ensure a quality elongated penny is to center the arrows together on the machine. This ensures that your design is centered correctly on the penny while it is being rolled and pressed. Here is a drawing depicting what this means.

How To Align Elongated Penny Machine
Center the two arrows to get the design you want.

This would result in the user getting design 1. To get design 2, the user would rotate the lever or crank so that the gear with the designs rotates 90 degrees.

If you don’t properly align the arrows, you will get an elongated penny that looks like this:

Poorly Aligned Elongated Penny Las Vegas
Poorly Aligned Elongated Penny

Can you buy an elongated penny machine?

Yes! Although they are very expensive, it could prove to be a good source of passive income for your business.

The Penny Press Machine Co. sells elongated penny machines starting at $4,950. At 50 cents profit per use, you would need customers to buy 9,900 pressed pennies to break even. That is about 27 customers a day for a year.

More important however, is that it gets customers into the store. Plus, you could put a design onto the machine with your logo and start creating brand awareness.

What was your favorite elongated penny design you’ve found. Post a comment below and vote in our poll!

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn ad revenue on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

Carwash and Game Tokens

What Makes Token Collecting Fun For Coin Collectors

Numismatics and Exonumia go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Numismatics is the study of currency, coins or bills that are accepted as legal tender. Exonumia is the study of numismatic items that are not accepted as legal tender. Tokens, medals, and scrips (a substitute for legal tender) are all exonumia.

The term exonumia was coined by Russel Rulau in July 1960. Exonumia comes from the greek “exo” meaning “out of” and “nummus” meaning “coin”. So, exonumia means “out of coin”.

There are 3 categories of tokens/medals:

  1. Ones that have trade-able value, or can be exchanged
  2. Commemorative tokens or medals
  3. Personal Items

Type 1 is the most common, or at least most commonly collected. A game token from Chuck E. Cheese would be Type 1, because the coin can be used to play a game. A bus token is also Type 1 because it can be used to purchase a bus ride.

Type 2 could be made by the US Mint or a private entity. Tokens of the Type 2 variety usually commemorate historical events or figures. Remember these have no inherent monetary value, meaning the value is not backed by a government.

Type 3 is more difficult to define. This is kind of a catch-all category for items that are neither coins nor Type 1 or 2 tokens. Prayer coins and AA chips fit well into this category.

Why collect tokens if they have no monetary value?

For one, tokens are much cheaper to purchase than legal coinage. There are bulk token lots on eBay where tokens are sold by the pound. For most people, there is no value in these items so they are simply thrown away or forgotten in a drawer.

Tokens and medals have some amazing artwork and history attached to them. The artwork and lack of inherent value make tokens great items to display!

Well many coin collectors hide their coins from potential thieves or children looking for quarters to buy ice cream, tokens are great for display because they can easily be repurchased.

Great For Traveling!

When I’m on trips, I like to look for novelty items that will bring me long-term enjoyment at a reasonable price. I could buy some cheap knick-knacks, but they often get tossed on a shelf and rarely admired after coming back.

Below are two tokens I got for about $10 each. The left token is from the Grand Canyon National park, and the right is from Death Valley National Park.

Buying tokens is great, because they fit in seamlessly with my coin collection. Plus, they take up very little space in a suitcase!

I have a few tokens I’ve bought on trips that represent fun memories, but my favorite tokens to collect on trips are smashed/elongated pennies!

At 51 cents a piece, elongated pennies are the cheapest item at a gift store. Plus, you get to pick your own design and make them yourself.

Here is my pressed penny collection. I got many of these on a cross-country road-trip. My souvenirs ended up being the cheapest expense of the whole trip!

Elongated Smashed Pressed Penny Booklet
My Pressed Penny Booklet

Here’s a link below to the smashed penny booklet I use. The albums can also be purchased at some gift shops. (Make sure to get one though! I have lost dozens of pressed pennies over the years by sticking them in my pocket!)

If you want to learn more about elongated pennies, check out this article: “All About Elongated Pennies – History, Myths, Pictures“!

Examples of Exonumia include:

  • Challenge Coins
  • Pressed Pennies
  • Medals (Government and Private)
  • Political Tokens
  • Car Wash Tokens
  • Batting Cage Tokens
  • HoboCoins
  • Play Money
  • Bus/Train Tokens
  • Trade Coins
  • Prison Tokens
  • Prayer Coins
  • AA Chips
  • And hundreds more!

Below is a gallery of some of my tokens I have collected over the years.

Share your thoughts in the comments and poll below!

I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

Why Are Coin Prices So High on Etsy?

If you have ever searched a coin online, one of the first Google suggestions was likely a link to an Etsy Store for someone selling the coin for thousands of dollars.

You may have been excited and confused to see the price. Could this coin really be worth thousands? More, than likely, it’s not.

Etsy is an online shop where users can sell items they have made or sell used items. There is a great market for antique items on Etsy, but coins are generally way overpriced.

Here is a screenshot of a Google Search for a 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar:

Why are Etsy coins so expensive?!?!

The coin listed is not worth $49,999.98. Even for someone who overpays for this coin, $10 would be a ridiculous price. Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are still widely available in good condition. I could go to my local bank and get 10 of these right now.

A 1979 SBA Dollar I got in change from a vending machine.

There are two prevailing theories for why these listings exists.

Theory 1: The sellers hope buyers don’t know any better.

Many coins are bought for ridiculous prices because buyers don’t know how to price coins correctly.

The idea that someone would spend almost 50 thousand dollars on a coin without doing any research is crazy. But, I suppose these Etsy sellers only need one gullible buyer to make an immense profit. Selling $1 for $50,000? Ka-Ching!

Just because a coin is old, or not often seen in circulation, does not give it inherent value. Always research the price of a coin before you buy.

Theory 2: Money laundering.

I am but a humble coin collector, not very up-to-date on organized crime, but I have heard the idea floating around that these sellers are part of drug money laundering schemes.

The way this would work is sellers list coins for high prices, pay someone to buy the coin, and then the money is returned. The money is now “clean” because it has been used for a valid transaction. (If you want to know more about money laundering watch Ozark on Netflix.)

Buy Gold and Silver

In some ways this makes a lot of sense, coin collecting is more art than science. Art has always been used for money laundering. Any item that has a highly speculative value can be used for these kinds of schemes.

I’m not sure if this theory holds up, however. Someone looking to launder money could do much smaller, less obvious values. Do people laundering money really worry about Etsy fees cutting into their profits?

Cheaper places to buy coins than on Etsy:

Honestly, there are very, very few places more expensive than Etsy. Even Amazon often has cheaper coins! Browse through Amazon’s collection here: Amazon Collectible Coins

I would recommend buying from a trusted coin dealer on eBay or even a gold/silver distributor like SD Bullion or Money Metals Exchange. By shopping at either of these sites by clicking a link from American Coin Stash, you also support this site! American Coin Stash is an affiliate advertiser of SD Bullion and Money Metals Exchange because I trust both of these companies.

Buy Gold and Silver

If you are looking for very specific coins, not in a lot and have a good eye for spotting genuine coins, eBay is a great resource! Just remember to know what you are looking for, it is easy to get addicted to eBay bidding. Plus, eBay is more likely to have fake products or mislabeled items. Sometimes the sellers don’t even know they may be mis-advertising a coin!

Add a comment below on which theory you think is more accurate, or share your own!

Collection of Assorted US Cents Colorful Background

What is Coin Roll Hunting?

Coin Roll Hunting for Beginners

I had not been a coin collector long before I heard of coin roll hunting, and it sounded so exciting! I imagined trekking out into a forest in search of old forgotten coins.

Coin roll hunting is not that exciting, but it is a great activity!

Coin roll hunting, abbreviated CRH, is when you get wrapped rolls of coins from the bank and open them in search of certain coins. Some people coin roll hunt to fill Whitman albums while others look for valuable and rare coins.

How to get started

First, you will want to head to the bank and ask for a few rolls of coins. I would recommend starting out with pennies as there are many varieties and a greater chance of finding something old.

Pennies come from the bank in rolls of 50 cents. 10 rolls is a good starting number, so you will ask the banker for 5 dollars in pennies. Bring something to carry them like a plastic bag or a small box! And ask the banker for some coin roll wrappers so that you can re-roll your coins after.

Set yourself up at a desk or table. You will want to have with you: a trash can, a box for discarded pennies, a magnifying glass, a bright light, and a box for pennies you want to keep.

To open the rolls will depend on the type of coin roll wrapper the banker gave you. If the tops are crimped, with a thinner paper, then those are bank wrapped rolls. You can open bank wrapped rolls by tearing them in the middle. The paper is not reusable.

If you can take the coins out simply by unfolding the top of the paper, then those are hand wrapped rolls. Hand wrapped rolls are great because you can reuse the paper. (Plus, coin wrapped rolls are more likely to be part of someones old collection.)

Make sure to look at each coin carefully. When you start coin roll hunting, you will know very little about what makes a coin valuable, but your knowledge will grow. The goal of your first round of coin roll hunting is to get comfortable with what each coin looks like so you can spot anomalies.

Set aside any coins that are old or look different so that you can research them later.

What to look for when coin roll hunting?

This will not be a comprehensive list, as there are so many different varieties or coins and errors. But in general,

Pennies minted before 1982 are all made of copper. Some collectors keep pre-1982 pennies for their copper value. If you decide to do this, make sure you have a lot of space available.

A Circulated Wheat Back Penny

Look for Wheat back pennies. These pennies were minted from 1909 to 1956. The obverse (fancy word for the front of the coin) is the same Abraham Lincoln image used today. The reverse has the words “ONE CENT” surrounded by two leaves of wheat.

As of 2020, I usually find about 1 wheat back penny for every 300 pennies.

Indian Head Pennies are more rare, but can sometimes be found. Indian Head Pennies have an image of Lady Liberty in a Native American headdress on the front, and “ONE CENT” surrounded by either a laurel or oak wreath depending on the year.

Nickels are my second favorite coin to coin roll hunt for. Since only two years of nickels have been made of silver in the last century, very few people look through nickels.

Hunt for wartime nickels. These were minted from 1942-1943. Since nickel was in high demand for artillery in World War II, the US Mint used silver instead of nickel. With a composition of about 35% silver, silver Wartime nickels are worth more than 5 cents.

Buffalo nickels were produced from 1913-1938. There are no silver in these nickels, but are regarded for their design. The buffalo nickel is one of the most iconic designs in US history. Due to poor design on the date, however, some dates are difficult to find in good condition. Look for buffalo nickels with clear dates.

Dimes are very quick to search through, but very hard to find anything rare in.

Any dime minted before 1965 is made of 90% silver. So, any dime 1964 and older is worth more than 10 cents. Unfortuntely, many of these have already been taken out of circulation. You will likely have to go through thousands of dimes before finding a silver one.

A Small Collection of Silver Dimes

From 1916 to 1945, the US Mint printed Mercury dimes. These are gorgeous silver dimes depicting lady liberty in a phrygian cap. These are worth their value in silver, and probably slightly more since they are highly regarded by coin collectors.

Quarters are great for kids, as there are so many varieties in the State and National Parks designs. You can spend hours trying to fill a coin folder. Quarters are a great way to get children interested in coins.

A 1964 Silver Quarter.

Searching through quarters for silver is a very difficult endeavor. As with dimes, any quarter before 1965 is 90% silver. Because they are worth much more in silver, most older quarters have already been taken out of circulation.

In all coins:

Check for the ‘S’ mint mark. The ‘S’ mint mark means a coin was minted in San Fransisco. This mint produced very few coins for circulation, so the ‘S’ mint mark adds to the rarity of the coin.

Proofs! Proof coins are a special strike of coin meant to be sold in proof sets. Although originally sold in hard, plastic containers, many were broken out of these containers and can be found in circulation. It can be hard to differentiate a proof coin from an uncirculated coin. Check for the ‘S’ mint mark, as all proofs are minted in San Fransisco.

Remember all proofs are minted in San Fransisco, but not every coin minted in San Fransisco is a proof.

What to do with coins you don’t want?

You will probably end your search with many more coins you want to get rid of than to keep. Coin roll hunting is a numbers game, you find more valuable coins by searching through as many as you can.

Getting rid of coins is the biggest hassle of coin roll hunting. There are two ways most coin roll hunters get rid of their coins.

Most common, is to re-roll all the coins and bring them back to the bank. This is easy for smaller amounts, but is tedious in large quantities. Plus, not all bank tellers appreciate having to give out coins that are being brought back the next day.

Another option is to take all the coins to a coin counting machine. The most common coin counting machine is a CoinStar. CoinStars are super easy to use, but if you want the money back in cash, you have to pay an 11% fee. You can get the money put on a gift-card in most locations. Check if your local CoinStar offers Amazon gift cards, as they are the most versatile.

If you are super lucky your bank will have it’s own coin counting machine. This is much better than a CoinStar because they are usually free to use. In fact, if a local bank has a coin counting machine it may be worth opening an account with them just to use the machine.

Are you a Coin Roll Hunter? Share your best finds in the comments below!

If you are looking for help getting started, check out: