From a Reader: Collecting Arizona's Stretched Pennies
July 25, 2017 at 5:17 am
Courtesy of Richard Keller
Stretched (or smashed) penny machines are a familiar sight at landmarks in Arizona and elsewhere. And an Arizona Highways reader is on a quest to stretch a penny at every machine in the Grand Canyon State.
Richard Keller lives in Tolleson, a suburb of Phoenix. "I was born and raised in Arizona," he writes in an email. "My wife, however, has lived in many states. We both love Arizona!
"We got married two years ago in White Tank Mountain Regional Park. On our honeymoon in Christopher Creek, she asked to stop and get the smashed (elongated) penny in Payson. I had never heard of them before. I asked how she knew where it was. She introduced me to www.pennycollector.com. They have the locations of every penny machine in Arizona.
"For our first wedding anniversary, I surprised her with our first 'Penny Trip.' We went south and got pennies from every penny machine in Tucson, Tombstone, Fort Huachuca, Bisbee, Benson and all the other places with penny machines in Southern Arizona.
"We were both hooked. Since then, we have gone on many other trips around Arizona. Out of 138 penny machines in Arizona, we are only missing one. We just got back yesterday from Page and the North Rim and South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
"We have seen more of Arizona than we would have ever seen without the penny machines. We even stayed at the Wigwam [Motel] in Holbrook. We love Arizona even more! We just thought you might let others know they can go on 'Penny Trips' also.
"On our last two trips, we have been collecting passport stamps from every state and national park in Arizona. My wife buys postcards and stamps them on the back. We have visited 20 parks so far. Now that we have come to the end of our penny trips, we are going to go on 'Park Trips.'
"Since a lot of the pennies are on Route 66, we have received certificates for completing all of Route 66 in Arizona."
We so appreciate Richard sharing his story, and we agreed that others might want to do something similar. You can click here for the list of penny machines in Arizona. Happy hunting!