Defacing coins like a suffragette

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Interesting video, though i’m not sure what the law is in the UK but here defacing legal tender is illegal. He happily encourages people to do it near the end and gives no warning on potential consequences. **See later post for correction!

Also i feel bad to nitpick but toward the start of the video he mentions the relationship between various States (aka countries) and their subjects. Probably a slip since he’s from the UK, but not all nations have monarchies.

It is still illegal. However, as attested to by the thousands of penny-destroying souvenir machines found throughout the UK and indeed Europe, it is not particularly strongly enforced in the case of pennies.


Pennies aren’t worth the paper they’re…

…never mind.


We have them here in the US. And i think i’ve seen some that will also stamp quarters. I did a search and found out an answer to both the coin pressing machine and also to the defacement of coins (at least in the US)

Reddit says that the destruction of legal tender is allowed as long as its not for counterfeiting, altering it’s denomination, or destroying it to make profit (aka shaving coins for precious metals or smelting pennies), Learn something new every day :slight_smile: i will edit my previous post as my assumption was way off.


Pretty sure that defacing the monarch’s likeness is a separate offence in the UK, though.

Yes and no. You can’t deface to make it look like other currency. So you can’t make your $5 bill a $50. But making Abe look like Mr. Spock, or other such things is perfectly legal to do so there is no problem with penny smashing machines.


When the currency in the UK has Abraham Lincoln on it, it will be time to kill myself.


Apparently, in Canada, these coin machines were illegal. They either had to have blanks in them or U.S. pennies. Of course, I don’t think anyone ever enforced that law, but that was the law.

Now, with the retirement of the penny, I don’t know if we even have these machines in service anymore. I certainly haven’t seen one in awhile.

Quarter smashing machines do exist, and i believe canadian and US quarters are similar in size, no? I’d say those would be a good alternative for a canadian business because they wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of buying blanks as the customer would provide their own.

That still doesn’t solve the problem that it’s considered defacing currency and is therefore illegal in Canada.

When looking into this, it looks like Canadian quarters are made of something different than American ones, and don’t take to being smashed quite as well. So it probably wouldn’t be a good idea anyway.

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in Germany it was never illegal to destroy money (based on the civil code, notes and coins are seen as property and the owner can do everything with it if no other law says otherwise*).

iirc the European Central Bank said that destroying of Euro coins/notes is also legal (or adviced the EU countries to change laws so it’s not illegal anymore? something like that).

but anyway, when I was much younger we used a machine for crushing coins that would have resulted in a world of pain** if we would have been caught:

* like changing the denomination
** literally and figuratively


Interesting to know. I suppose just providing blanks would be the easiest solution for a canadian business then. I don’t specifically look for said machines here in the US, i don’t really recall seeing them often but i know for sure NASA space center near Houston has some and the Houston Zoo has them as well. Don’t think the other museums i went to had any though.

That would be a weird activity when you think about it too much. Put money in a slot then watch a machine turn a flat disk of metal into a flatter disk of metal.

Now letting people pay to use a hydraulic press where they can load any old junk would be something.

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Almost sounds like something Douglas Adams would comment on in one of his books.


That never stopped me taking £5 notes and drawing Groucho Marx or Dali moustaches on the Queen.


Surely we can all get behind the logic of Spock coinage though?

Also, am I the only one annoyed that the curator didn’t show us the political message he defaced coins with?


Crush all the monies!

Crush them all!

The Sandia Z-Machine with plenty of arcing

On a more practical note, for those wishing to emulate the suffragettes…


Do you want deflation??? Because this is how you get deflation.


That’s right! There were penny and nickel machinres - you fed in your coin and it groaned and grumbkled and then spat out a reeeeeally thin squashed version … of the blanks that were loaded into the machine.