Pressed Penny Readings

About Pressed Penny Readings

by Mystikka Jade

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What are Pressed Pennies?

Pressed pennies are real pennies, churned through machines installed at various amusement parks, museums and other attractions. Since the late 1800’s, they have been sold as souvenirs; imprinted with images and text to represent these places. Many people collect them as a hobby, under the umbrella of exonumia.

Pressed Penny Readings - The Story

In September of 2020, I purchased a mixed lot of pressed pennies, while considering potential charms for casting. I searched online for evidence of them being used for divination and found no results.

Even though their intended purpose isn’t for psychic arts,  elongateds are an ideal tool for such. Their symbolism is ripe for interpretation. They can be cast like charms or drawn as a replacement of, or an addendum to other reading tools.
Getting Started

To begin, obtain the following items:

1 - large, mixed lot of Pressed Pennies (I started with 200) Available on eBay
2 - magnifying glass to help see small text and image details
3 - sturdy bag or other container to store and shuffle the pennies
4 - steel wool pads
5 - cleaning gloves

Note: You can also buy pressed pennies individually, or in smaller lots. To get the biggest bang for your buck, I suggest going for the larger lots. Plus, they are fun to go through!

Please wear gloves during the first sorting and cleaning process. Some lots can be extremely dirty.

The first sorting is to weed out the ones you know right away you don’t want to use. In this process,  I’ve put aside the significantly bent, duplicates and duds. I also reject those which come from places that have a negative connotation in my mind (such as Sea World).  A lot of this process will be ruled by personal preference. I’d like to advise not to dismiss darkened or dirty coins.  A few of those ended up being my favorites after cleaning.

Next, clean the coins. The Penny Collector goes into detail about the different ways to clean them, here:
I tried a few methods and found that scrubbing with steel wool pads made the biggest difference for most of the darkened coins. Some will remain in bad condition after being thoroughly cleaned, yet others will shine up beyond expectations.


Some of the cruddiest from my first lot. Same pennies, before and after cleaning. 

While cleaning, you will likely notice images that have meanings you can connect with right away. Place those, and other favorites aside for further inspection and investigation. 


After cleaning, decide on definitions for the pennies you keep. This can be done intuitively, or by researching metaphysical meanings of each symbol. Especially for beginning readers, it can be helpful to write descriptions and chosen definitions in a notebook or document. The notes can be referred to later, like a guidebook for a deck.

If you already understand the basics of oracle reading, charm casting, or dream interpretation to name a few, then you’re already familiar with interpreting symbols and relaying their messages. You will likely be a natural at this.

The ideal collection will contain a vast array of symbols. Aim to cover a thorough, balanced spectrum of human emotions and experiences in the meanings of chosen coins.
You can re-sell what you don’t keep and refine your set over a period of time.

Place your preferred pennies for readings in a bag or other container. This will be used to store and shuffle them.
Reading with Pressed Pennies

Gently shake or mix the bag to shuffle. You can draw coins individually and place them into any tarot or oracle layout. They can also be cast like charms.

The simplest way to start is with a single penny drawn in response to a specific question asked. Sometimes concise messages are more effective than ones given by complicated spreads. You can use any tarot or oracle layout you wish.

For general readings, use a casting sheet or mat and gently toss/drop a handful of shuffled pennies over it. Pick up and put aside the coins that land upside down. Interpret the remaining, face-up elongateds based on where they land. (more content on this method coming soon).

Charm Casting

Charm casting is a modern form of cleromancy which has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. Any small enough trinket with symbolism is appropriate for casting. You can use the pennies on their own, or mixed with other charms.

Charmed Intuition Tarot demonstrates charm casting on her YouTube channel. She also showcases decks and has included the Ice Cream Oracle in some videos. She inspired my interest in charm casting, which led to Penny Readings coming into existence.

More Information 


Pressed Penny Lots

Magnifying Glass

Cleaning Gloves


Learn all about Elongated Pennies:

For extensive information on Disney elongated coins, check out:

How to use Charms (video by Charmed Intuition Tarot):

eBay links in this article are generated through the eBay partner program. A small percentage of your purchase may be credited to me at no extra cost to you. 

I'll be updating with more information and resources!