Secretly Carry Your Photographs in These Spy Coins Created from Real Currency


Need a way to covertly transport your memory card loaded with digital photos from one place to another? You should look into using spy coins.

Covert Coins are a series of coins that have been precision hand-machined from actual coins and can be opened up to reveal a secret compartment.

The company behind them, CCS Spy Gear, claims that the coins are “absolutely indistinguishable” from regular coins to the naked eye when they’re closed up.

A Covert Coin nickel open (left) and closed (right)

A Covert Coin nickel open (left) and closed (right)

Opening the coins requires a special opening device that comes packaged with each coin. The coins are “next to impossible” to open without this tool, so there’s no chance of the guts accidentally spilling out in everyday situations. “They can be handled normally,” the company says.

The coins are a throwback to the Cold War era, during which spies from both sides would use specially modified coins to safely transport various things, including microfilms (and possibly microphotographs).


Most of the Covert Coins have enough room to fit a microSD card loaded with digital photographs and/or other digital files. We say “most” because the quarter is the lone coin that doesn’t have enough room for a memory card. The problem is that microSD cards are a little too thick, but they can be made to fit if you shave off some of the excess plastic.


The coins cost between $16-$20 each (depending on which coin you buy), and can be purchased over on Amazon.

Micro SD Card Covert Spy Coin [Amazon via Boing Boing]

Update: Buyer beware… BeJay points out in the comments below that owning these modified coins may not be legal.

  • MS

    Or secretly lose a sd card in a parking meter.

  • Chris Whonsetler

    Would be a fun project to send a bunch of files off into the world & see if they ever surface again. :)

  • Alan Dove

    A similar product is available in magic shops – just ask for a “shim shell” coin. Those aren’t machined as elegantly, but they also don’t require a special tool to open. That could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your needs.

  • ConsciousConsumer

    Neat but I am fairly certain that this is illegal to do…caveat emptor!

  • chubbs

    Isn’t it illegal to do this to a coin?

  • BeJay

    Title 18, Chapter 17

    18 USC § 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.

  • chubbs

    Cool. And subway tokens?

  • Adam Correia

    Well now it isn’t so secret! ;)

  • Tom Waugh

    I just use Dropbox or Google Drive!

  • Version3

    That just means that once it’s “modified” you can’t legally try to pass it off as currency any longer. Basically if you alter it at all, it’s not US (or foreign) currency any longer.

  • KewlDewd

    No, read again. The word “or” at the end of the 1st paragraph means that currency cannot be altered regardless of the your intended purpose. If it said “and”, then you would be correct.

  • HAB

    I can only imagine what else is carried in those coins.

  • KH

    You could be carrying someone’s pictures already and not even know it.

  • Essh

    You can’t see the back of the coin, so they probably had just found a way to attach a coin to the copper holder

  • Essh

    ah…scratch that last comment that I had made. ;)

  • SiriusPhotog

    Then I guess all the jewelry shops that sell jewelry made from coins is breaking the law too???? Maybe so, but I think the Secret Service has better things to do then track down all these minor issues.

  • rankin

    i never had a problem with the souvenir coin flattening machines you see everywhere… pennys on train tracks too. i doubt this is a serious concern for the government

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    if these are manufactured outside of the states, and nobody tries to use one as currency, they should be perfectly legal to import, sell and buy in the states. however, they may look convincing, but anyone who picks one up is going to notice it’s oddly light. they should make one specifically to fit a micro sd card, with the extra space filled with lead.

  • morgannagrom

    Are you a lawyer? Neither am I. That said, each part uses the word “fraudulently.” If you’re not trying to pass off the coins as un-modified, then you’re not trying to deceive anyone; that’s the definition of fraud.

  • G

    If you’re smuggling memory cards within modified coins, aren’t you trying to pass them off as un-modified? Or as the law says: “fraudulently possesses” the coin.

  • morgannagrom

    Ask a lawyer.

  • KewlDewd

    No I’m not a lawyer. That’s just how I understood it. I’m not sure how the act of altering, defacing, etc a coin could be done fraudulently. Unless you’re doing it for an audience and make it seem like the coins aren’t being altered. Magic trick? So that is kind of confusing. The second paragraph where it describes passing it off as unaltered would be the fraud part.