In this project I am going to show you how to make your own historic coin jacket (perfect for fourth of July coming up). This is based on a unique idea I had to use coins instead of buttons. What makes this jacket interesting is that the coins used aren't just pennies or quarters - each one holds historic significance. The result is a robust look and mini museum on your back! People often come up and ask about the coins, and it is a great conversation piece that follows you around wherever you go, just as long as you know the history behind each coin.
Here's what we need for the project:
A Green Army Jacket
A Patch of your Choice
A Bag of Snap Buttons
A Roll of Silver Pennies
A Mercury Dime
An Afghanistan Coin
A Soviet Union Coin
A German Coin
A Confederate Coin (restrike)
Surprisingly, all of these coins are very affordable online, as is everything else.
Step 1: Sewing the Snap Buttons
First, the buttons that came with the jacket need to be removed - this can be done rather easily with a pair of scissors.
Next, you will need some green yarn/string and a sewing needle. Carefully keep track of where the buttons were on the jacket! For each spot you removed a button, sew on the female side of the push button. We will need the other half later.
The reason for this is that many coins cannot be washed in the washing machine because of corrosion or rust - not to mention the possibility that they will come off as the water comes into contact with glue. Metal is easier to adhere to metal anyways.
Step 2: Glue the Other End of the Snap Buttons Onto the Coins
Using the metal adhesive, carefully glue the other end of the push/snap pins to the back of each coin you will be using. I used 3 silver pennies, 1 mercury dime, 1 Afghan coin, 1 Soviet coin, 1 German coin, and 1 Confederate restrike.
Allow plenty of time for the glue to settle to ensure a durable bond.
Step 3: Snap the Coins Into Place and Add a Patch
The coins can now be snapped into place. Congratulations, you are now a walking coin museum! I added a patch to the other side because it was pretty barren, and it gives the jacket a rustic look.
Step 4: History of the Coins
These coins are quite unlike the standard copper pennies - many people do not even know that they exist. These coins are rare because they were only minted in 1942-1943. What is even more rare than silver pennies is a 1942 copper penny. The reason that the U.S. decided to mint these pennies is because in 1942, copper had to be conserved for the WWII war effort. Instead of copper, the U.S. used steel (not actual silver). The problem with these pennies is that the steel easily becomes a victim to rust and corrosion. Over the years a large portion of silver pennies have become rusted or ruined. During the time that silver pennies were minted, many collectors covered the coins in chrome in order to preserve the pennies, rendering them worthless to modern collectors.
This dime has a depiction of "young liberty" personified by a girl with wings. This depiction was commonly mistaken to be of the Roman God Mercury, and thus to this day it holds its name. The coin was minted from 1916 to 1945, representing a tumultuous time in U.S. history full of war, strife, and simple living. Many Mercury dimes were minted during WWI.
Afghan Throne Room Coin, Soviet Union Coin, German 1942-1945 Coin, Confederate Restrike
Each of these coins represent a particular conflict the U.S. was involved in - war in the Middle-East, the Cold War with Soviet Russia, WWI/WWII with Germany, and the Civil War. Actual Confederate coins are exceptionally more rare and costly due to their age, so a restrike (replica) is most likely more appropriate for this project.
Enjoy your new jacket!
Step 5: Optional - Add a Black Rim
This step is optional, and requires the sacrifice of a black belt. Essentially, cut the belt to fit around the lower rim of the jacket taking off the metal ends. Make sure that frayed ends are burned off (using a lighter, unless you prefer the fray). Wrap the belt around the jacket and sew it it on. A friend of mine did this with his jacket.