MBA student Kevin McGee shows his smashed coin collection of 2,100 coins, Nov. 1.

Kevin McGee

Most college students save their pocket change in a mason jar or small piggy bank to save up for something special, but for MBA student Kevin McGee, pocket change is a treasure meant to be pressed with designs. The Orange resident says the obsession with smashed pennies started when he was seven years old. “I was in San Antonio and I saw all these machines everywhere on vacation, like at the Alamo and those kind of places,” he says. “I had to have them, so I kept asking my dad for change, and I’d get upset when he wouldn’t let me get all of the ones in each machine.” With a collection of exactly 2,100 uniquely-smashed coins, comprising 2027 pennies, 52 quarters, seven dimes, five euros, six metals and three nickels, held together in 82 penny books from 23 states and six foreign countries, and with each coin costing 51 cents to $1.01, according to the machine, Kevin estimates he has spent more than $1,500 on his collection — but he won’t stop there. “The most I’ve gotten was from Orlando, Florida in the summer of 2010,” he says. “I got about half from Walt Disney World and half from Universal Studios and walked away with around 475 smashed coins all together from that trip.”

Story and photo by Morgan Collier

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