Coins Of The Realm
Non-Coin Coin Collection
OK these aren't coins per se, they're pogs. There's a regular cardboard pog, featuring the evil stepmother from Snow White (mistakenly labeled "Walt Disney"), and a heavier plastic slammer that portends to tell you whoop where it is. Then there's a satellite pog, and a pog with a swamp hand opening a basement door. Are these coins? They sort of indicate value, or they did, in some gameplay situations (if you were playing for keepsies). I wasn't into pogs but someone gave me their collection a while back because they knew I liked colorful bits of paper. I gave most of them to Dan Cashman, but I kept these because I was like "well, I'm gonna need a few pogs anyway".
Bent dime. I got this at CF's yard sale, it was on the table but it was a gimme. The flyer for the yard sale said "LOTS OF JUMS" so when I showed up I just said "take me to your jums". People were hanging out flipping burgers or something and I went right to the goods. Can't remember what other jums I got. I couldn't get a good scan of this one because it's bent like a Dali watch.
Houdini memorial coin, maybe this is from a Houdini museum? I guess you just... get this if you like Houdini? I like Houdini and I got this as a gift from Muffy. Thanks Muffy!
Plastic nickel? I mean "wooden nickel", sure, everyone knows not to take those. But a plastic nickel??? Hmmm.... Well anyway I took it. No regrets.
This is the coin you get in Alcoholics Anonymous to signify that you've been sober for 24 hours. This has value but it's not a value of exchange-- there are other coins that indicate other durations but you can't trade them for anything and they don't give you another coin every 24 hours, just the first 24. Giving someone a coin as a marker of accomplishment is a cool move-- you can't wear it or wield it, you can only treasure it. I found this in the street after the snow melted a few years ago-- is it bad luck for me to have this?
Farmer's market coin. I forget exactly how this works but I think this is a workaround so you can get food at the farmer's market using food stamps. So you buy $20 worth of tokens at the kiosk with your food stamp card, then you can sprinkle the tokens around to different stands, and at the end of the day, the farmers trade them back to the kiosk for cash??? Pretty elegant. I think I got this at a zine fair, someone said "can I give you this" for a zine and I said sure.
Token for the Dream Machine, the arcade in the Greendale Mall. Stun Runner was my game. I probably pocketed this token during Brett Robbins' birthday party in the 5th grade. Great logo, great font. Good times, great oldies.
I love these coin crusher souvenirs-- you put in 2 quarters and a penny and spin this huge wheel and a mechanical motion crushes the penny and imprints a design on it. It's genius, you don't even have to plug it in! Probably an early version was electrical and you just pushed a button, then someone said "it's more fun if I'm the one that crushes the coin".
T Rex, sick.
Fake coin made as part of a bellydancer costume, looks to be based on a liberty head quarter.
Fake coin also made for a Halloween costume but this has Egyptian stuff on it, which is appropriate for bellydancing I guess, though most likely the wearer was doing the "Walk Like An Egyptian". Hearing that song as a kid was the first time I saw punks in a positive light, not just as villains in a cartoon. I guess the person that wrote it was a Devo acolyte from Akron?? "All the old paintings in the tomb / they do the slam dance, don't you know?". This one's on my playlist for both "Dance Craze" AND "Syllabus-Free Ecstatic Dance", as well as "Songs Featuring Alligators And Crocodiles".
Bingo counter. This is definitely not a coin but it still represents the possibility of money. If you can put 5 of these disks in a row on your bingo card, that's as good as money.
Chuck E Cheese token. Not sure when I got this but I remember the last time I went to Chuck E Cheese-- I was helping Allegra move and we went to the liquor store dumpster to get boxes, but we looked in the Chuck E Cheese dumpster first and there were tons of ski ball tickets in there! So we just folded them up and brought them in and cashed out! I forget what we got, probably a combination of superballs for my collection and candy to eat immediately. Chuck E Cheese's full name is Charles Entertainment Cheese, that's canon.
Another crusher. Did I really get this in Washington DC??? I wish they did a better design-- I'd love to get one for go go music, or the Smithsonian, or Minor Threat or something.
Toll tokens for the highway in New Hampshire. I forget when they stopped using the coins but the Man On The Mountain featured in both versions of this token crumbled to the ground in 2003. RIP!
Another New Hampshire coin design, here's two tokens (same design but the back of one and the front of another) from Funland arcade. I don't know why I have these because I've never been, even though it's pretty close. I think I got them in a coat that I got out of a free box??? I'm guessing that the slogan is based on the song "The Games People Play" by Joe South? It's not a very uplifting concept-- the "games" of song are like, anger, jealousy, etc.. But why else would you say that?
A huge googly eye that sorted itself into the pile.
Big Y Supermarket token. There were 3 colors and they'd give you one at random when you shopped there, and they were worth different amounts. It was like a coupon. But the values weren't printed on the coin, and I think they shifted over time? Like the silver used to be worth $3 and then one day it was worth $1 and the old $1 coin, red, was now $5, and the blue coin, that used to be $5, was $3. Can anyone corroborate this?? Sometimes the coins could be exchanged for special deals, like with the silver coin you could get a slice of pizza, even though the silver was a dollar and the pizza was more than a dollar. I used to find these in the street all the time. The pizza was VERY buttery, which is great when you're only having one slice.
Two generic game tokens, probably one of them is from Playoff Arcade in Worcester, which had Monster Bash pinball. If I remember correctly, tokens at Playoff were 8 for a dollar, but there wasn't a single game that you could play for 1 token, they were all 2 or 4. I guess they just thought it was fun to move more coins around?
Old token for the T, the Boston subway. Why is it called "the T"? Is it named after someone? Theresa? Tania? I'm going to say Theresa because I know a Theresa in Boston (and I lost track of Tania). Hi Theresa! Hi Tania if you're out there!!
This is a slug, which is like the interior of a hole cut in metal by a metal punch. When I was a kid I was obsessed with finding slugs like this because I believed that there were some that were the same size as coins and would work in a soda machine. I don't think I ever successfully got this to work, but I do remember finding a small pile of slugs at a construction site near my friend's house and thinking "jackpot". I was probably more excited than if it had just been a pile of quarters. Even now I still get like an evil little thrill when I find these around. I don't know why they're called slugs but why are the other kind of slugs called slugs? I don't know that either.
Small wooden token, use unknown. This is about a quarter of an inch thick.
Destroyed penny. This was money but it's unspendable now. What the hell happened to you?
Pennies I crushed on the train tracks in Worester (9 coins, both front and back shown)
5 yen pieces crushed on the train tracks in Nagano (2 coins, front and back shown)
I tried to do a 1 yen coin but it just turned into dust.
Finally here's a special piece I got from artíste exceptionale Molly Colleen O'Connell, it's a huge penny. I think this was a prop from a play she did with a group of kids? I scaled it at the same rate as all the other coins-- this is a little over 5 inches across.
I have it hanging in my lair just like how Batman has that huge penny hanging in his lair, except Batman's huge penny commemorates a battle he had with arch-fiend Two-Face, mine commemorates a friendship with arch-fiend Molly Colleen O'Connell. I'm not sure what the umbrella is all about here, maybe there's a connection to the Penguin. Thank you Molly!
If anyone out there has any cool non-coins you want to give me for my collection I am accepting donations at this time. No more pogs though. And of course if anyone wants to send money for any reason that's still OK.
links / misc
- wow I almost forgot about Mike's Digital Pog Page!!! Mike Bell-Smith asked a group of people to make "digital pogs" in... 2007(?) and I made a few. It's a great crew of contributors-- [link]. It's the original zero-utility digital token!
- Molly Colleen O'Connell website- [link]
- Games People Play, Trojan records version- [youtube]
- Walk Like An Egyptian- [youtube].
- If you used to go to or hang out in a mall, I recommend looking it up on YouTube-- there's probably a 10 minute video of someone walking around it in the last few years, with all the storefronts empty. It's creepy. You gotta find your mall, but here's mine, the Greendale mall, where the Dream Machine was: [youtube]
--------- end new writing ---------------------------------------------> If you got here through a link, click here to go outside and come back in: [outside]
Archives of previous posts is here, in the coat room: [coatroom]
To sign up to get these posts in your email for free, click here: [substack]
To write me a nice message, use the contacts page: [link]
To leave a little donation to help in the maintance of this castle, OR to simply hear the sound of a large bell, which is good luck, visit the temple area: [link]
As always, if you're bugging out or need a respite from endlessly scrolling the feed, you are welcome to hang out in the castle as long as you want. :)