coin modifying laws?

so my friends and I are planning to sell, well...things (I'm not going to give out any details as of now, later) that incorporate small round metal disks. now in all of our prototypes weve used coins for our purposes and they work great. but for what we make we need to cut and sand coins in different ways. and my friends always tell me "its illegal to change money in any way." But I've heard that its only illegal to modify money to change or duplicate the amount its worth - like making a penny into a dime is illegal but making a penny pac man figure isnt. can anyone clarify this for me? I'm fine doing illegal things like modifying coins for personal use but if were going to sell these I want to be a little more clear as to what is going on.

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920337 years ago
Does anyone know where I can get one of these presses/machines?...flattens a penny coin and stamps a design on it?

Used might be cheaper.
True...however...trying to find a 'used' one seems impossible.
I figure if I can locate the manufacturer I'd at least be able to get one.

I use to see these machines at old Carny booths and midways at Fairs...but haven't been to a County Fair in decades.
zascecs 920337 years ago
How about ebay? 
92033 zascecs7 years ago
Thanks Zac...appreciate the quick response. Was hoping to locate manufacturer source.
zascecs 920337 years ago
Ah, I see; I'm not much help when it comes to that...

It's funny how lots of people use that nickname for me... 
92033 zascecs7 years ago
Thanks again for your response...most folks wouldn't have gone that far.

"It's funny how lots of people use that nickname for me..."

Well...Great Minds think Alike. :-)

Although your photo is dark without much look like you could be a Professional Magician.

Thanks again m'friend...Take care.

~ ED
zascecs 920337 years ago
Haha, thanks. 
aeromancy7 years ago
Assuming that you're from the U.S - Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 17, Sec. 331 states the following: 

        "Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs,diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens 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; or Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened--Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

It looks like you can alter the coins unless you do so fraudently. Then again, I'm not a lawyer, so I'd recommend contacting the U.S. Mint.
Kiteman9 years ago
It used to be illegal in the UK, but now (as long as you aren't turning it into another denomination) it isn't, which is why we now have a rash of coin-mangling machines at tourist venues - you put in a penny and a 50p piece and turn a big handle.

It keeps the 50p, and gives you the penny back, squished into an oval with the venue's logo stamped in it.

I think, basically, as long as you can't mistake it for legitimate currency afterwards, you're OK.

For instance, Here on Instructables, and the fishing lure in Make 13 made of a few pennies, linked with wire.
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