Pennies per square foot, literally

Craft & Design Furniture & Lighting
Pennies per square foot, literally

The entryway of The Standard Grill, in Manhattan, is tiled with thousands of US pennies, set in a black matrix. Looks like between one and two dollar’s worth of pennies per square foot, which is comparable to ceramic tile, price-wise, but a whole lot more interesting IMHO. Via NOTCOT.


19 thoughts on “Pennies per square foot, literally

  1. Ugo says:

    as much as i like this well rendered penny floor, i cant help asking myself: What about the law?
    Read here:

    I dont really care but i’m quite curious…

    1. Inigo says:

      I always wondered about those penny-squisher souvenir machines at tourist attractions, too. Looks like the US law concerning coins is a little different. Looks like it’s all about fraudulent intent, which probably isn’t the case with this floor or elongated coins.

      18 USC Sec. 331
      Sec. 331. Mutilation, diminution, and falsification of coins

      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.

    2. Michael says:

      More info on the law. It even has a specific section on coins.

      Both US and foreign currencies fall under this. However, I have never heard of it being enforced. Think of all the magic tricks you can buy (Scotch and Soda, etc) that use real currency that has been modified. Those companies still do it. Think of all of the silver jewelery that you can find with coins in it… like I said, it is pretty common but you never hear of the secret service swooping down on them.

      1. ehrichweiss says:

        Exactly, Michael. Magicians have altered and abused every bill and coin known to man throughout the years and you don’t hear about us being rounded up by the Treasury Dept/Secret Service.

    3. Jim says:

      This is legal. Coins are not treated the same way as bills under this law, and precedent has long been established that doing this with pennies is just fine.

    4. Paul G says:

      That was the first thought that came to my mind. Some jobsworth is bound to get all uppity about the abuse of a sacred penny.

  2. Andy Bowd says:

    In 1984 the British decided to stop making the half penny coin. It was a useless little coin, so very few people mourned it’s passing. It was a copper coin, around 17mm across, so a lot of them took up a lot of space, and you couldn’t do anything with time.

    After the coin has been removed from circulation, I made my Dad a coaster that was a hexagon, probably 10, maybe 15 coins across. It was on a thin piece of ply, and then just covered with varnish.

    I was amazed a year or so ago to discover that not only is that coaster still in daily use, but there’s hardly a mark on the thing. Coins would definitely make great flooring, in fact I’ve considered covering one of my workbenches with coins.

  3. jill says:

    any idea about what black goo would work well in this situation?

  4. andrew says:

    the cup cafe in Hotel Congress, tucson, az has flooring like this, and the hotel lobby has large coffee tables with the same setup.

  5. wah says:

    forget the law, the fact is that this can save so many people life in other countries suffer from disease, hunger, famine, poverty.

  6. Colecoman1982 says:

    He, I tried to respond to this the other day, but it seems that my comment never got posted. Apparently, this is legal in the US. I assume that the difference between the laws for bills and those for coins has more to do with quirks between the different writers of the laws. As for Michael’s comments about no one being investigated, I don’t think that’s, entirely, true.

    If you search for “Where’s George” on Wikipedia, you’ll find an article on a web start-up that encourages people to put a stamp on dollar bills with their URL so that people can track the travels of dollar bills using their serial numbers. Apparently, the Secret Service investigated them a while back and told them to stop selling rubber stamps, for this purpose, from their website as defacement of bills, and their use for advertising, is illegal. My guess is that magicians aren’t rounded up because it’s not really worth the effort for the Secret Service to go after them considering that each magician only damages a, comparatively, small number of bills.

  7. J says:

    note that this law change is RECENT. it USED to be okay and it is NOT now.

    also of interest to makers is that a US penny contains nearly 2.1 cents worth of tin

  8. oskay says:

    >also of interest to makers is that a US penny contains nearly 2.1 cents worth of tin

    While that would indeed be of interest, the US cent coin has been copper-plated zinc since 1982: 2.5% Cu, Balance Zn. (Source: US mint)

  9. me says:

    I think it looks hard to clean. All those little edges and groves, could be a scrubbing nightmare.

  10. Chris Gosnell says:

    I have thought that in the last 10 years or so the penny was a worthless (nearly) US coin for trade.

    I would like to see the penny retired, and also, since most pop machines / candy machines have products costing nearly a dollar, why not eliminate the dollar bill?

    The newest dollar coin is very good and difficult to confuse with any other coins you may have.

  11. Gaidig says:

    I’m quite sure that the cost is not comperable to ceramic tile because counting the pennies does not include the cost of the materials used to fix the pennies in place or the labor to apply the pennies so uniformly. Small ceramic tile comes on a mesh so that it can be applied quickly and easily. Labor would be the main cost of this floor.

  12. Anonymous says:

    what does it take to lay a peeny floor…materials etc.?

  13. jimshaw54 says:

    It takes about six centsfor our government to make each penny. So making a floor, wall, or countertop costs the tax payers a lot of money. Pennies are not cheap to make so people should think twice about using them for these purposes.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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