Welcome to another Tip Tuesday! Yeah, I know it's Wednesday - ever had one of those days where you were behind from the first moment? Sigh.
Anyway, to business. In the last Tip Tuesday post, I told you about pressed pennies all across Walt Disney World and where you could find a list. I had a question for you -- would any old penny work? The answer is both yes and no. Sure you could use a shiny new 2008 penny and it would look good, but the best pennies are those made before 1982. Why? Well according to PennyCollector.com, pennies dated 1982 and newer create silver streaks when they are pressed. This is because newer pennies are mostly made of zinc with only a copper coating. Older pennies (pre 1982) are made mostly of copper with a little bit of zinc. Also newer pennies apparently don't polish as well.
I tried this myself and they're right.
OK, so there's a catch. A lot of times old pennies LOOK like old pennies - they're tarnished and dirty. What's the best way to clean them and get them into shiny shape before they're pressed?
The folks at PennyCollector have listed several cleaning methods. Personally, I use the vinegar/salt and baking soda method. It's a bit messy -- alright, it's very messy and the vinegar stinks, but those pennies come out really shiny!!
As for finding old pennies - isn't that what piggy banks are all about? We all have jars of coins around the house - start going through them and look for those pre-1982 coins. You'll be surprised how many you'll find. If you're going to get into collecting pressed pennies, it's a good idea to check your pennies you get as change a few times a week as you're emptying your pockets. I keep my "pressable" pennies in a baggie in a drawer - that way I know they're not for regular use. It saves time later on.
One other tip I found from the folks at PennyCollector.com, if you want to use a special year (i.e. birth year) and have that year remain on the pressed penny, place the "heads" side of the penny away from the quarters when you put them in the slots.
Have fun with your collection and check back for next week's Tip Tuesday!
Good luck and happy pressing!