Q: Isn’t it illegal to deface US Coins?
A: According to Federal Statute 18 USC 331 it is illegal to fraudulently alter, deface, mutilate, impair, diminish, falsify, scale, or lighten any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States. Fraudulently is the important word here. In other words, it is illegal to pass off altered coins as something they are not…legitimate currency. But turning a coin into a souvenir has been around since at least 1893 when the first die and metal roller elongated penny was produced for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Q: What coins can be made into rings?
A: Pretty much all U.S. coins can be made into rings. Many foreign coins work as well. Coins that contain iron are the least desirable. Fortunately U.S. coins are made from copper, nickel and zinc. Many older U.S. coins (before 1965) are 90% silver. These make some of the most desirable rings.
Q: What ring sizes can be made? Aren’t some coins too big or too small?
A: Virtually any coin can be made into any size ring with a few exceptions. Small coins like pennies, nickels and dimes are limited to smaller size rings up to about size 6. But even the largest coin can be made into the smallest size ring, though obviously the ring might be too heavy for itty bitty fingers.
Q: How are coin rings made?
A: It’s an ancient Chinese secret. Just kidding. It’s no secret, but it is an art. Essentially it involves punching a hole in the center of the coin, then annealing, folding, stretching and reducing until a ring appears.