The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair
Memorabilia: Elongated Cents


1904 W.F. Society

Elongated Cents
at the 1904 World's Fair and in 2004

Elongated Coins (ECs) are coins that have been rolled through a hand cranked machine consisting of steel rollers with reverse-engraved dies crafted by an artisan, similar to wringers on old fashioned washing machines. The rollers press the coin into the die under tremendous pressure (about 22 tons), and simultaneously stretches the coin into an "Elongated" shape.

ECs are produced (or "rolled") as souvenirs for many organizations, events, fairs, shows, amusement parks and other activities or tourist attractions, or even as promotional or personal cards. They are also called Stretched, Smashed, or Squished Coins (or smashed pennys, the most commonly produced denomination).

It is generally accepted that elongated coins in the United States were first produced at the Chicago World's Fair (the Columbian Exposition) in 1892-1893. This "souvenir" continued at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.


1904 World's Fair
Festival Hall EC

The Hendershott catalog of 1904 World's Fair memorabilia lists 30 different ECs that were produced at the 1904 Fair. Most depict the Fair's great Palaces, Festival Hall (pictured), or the Louisiana Purchase Monument, and are commonly valued at around $25. Variants on other coins besides pennies are valued at over $100.

More rare and valued 1904 World's Fair ECs depict advertising (Hall's), organizations (the Masons), the 1904 Presidential Candidates (Roosevelt and Parker), a Lucky Horseshoe, or even The Pike. A pike fish represents the Fair's entertainment district, and has been seen in two versions: with and without a person on the fish's back. The plain fish version ("The Pike Souvenir") has sold at auction for over $2000!

Prices of ECs vary widely, depending on the number produced, age, denomination, popularity of topic or event, even the condition of the coin. There are even four published books which catalog elongated coins.

The 1904 World's Fair Society has produced a special Elongated Cent for Society members to commemorate 2004, the Centennial of the Fair. It depicts the Ferris Wheel as the central image, and has the Fair Motto "Nothing Impossible".

This minting follows the independent 2004 production of another 1904 commemorative Elongated Cent, that 'updates' an EC from the 1904 Fair. The original 1904 "Lucky Horseshoe" EC also had the horseshoe and 4-leaf clover. But, the horseshoe opened at the bottom, so the 2004 designer made this version 'upright'!


2004 World's Fair Society EC - and 2004 Lucky Horseshoe EC

It is estimated that there are well over a thousand "serious" EC collectors, and thousands more who collect topical or specialty ECs. The Elongated Collectors (TEC) club publishes quarterly newsletters for EC collectors, keeps members informed of new ECs, and has even reprinted some out-of-print EC books. TEC is a great place to meet other EC collectors, find out about elongated coins, and buy, sell or make trades. Their website is http://www.tecnews.org/index.html. Other EC websites I found include a 'museum' and a manufacturer of EC machines.