Mystery Hunt Coin Gallery

The goal of each Mystery Hunt is to locate an object hidden somewhere on MIT campus. The first few hunts used an Indian Head Penny, and thus this object has become known as a "coin", even though not all of them have been actual coins. This gallery contains all the coins from the past hunts that we've been able to track down; if you know of the coins we have marked as "unknown", or have pictures of coins for which we only have sketches, please contact us.

The MIT Alumni Association also maintains a map of where the coin has been hidden each year, along with interesting anecdotes about various Hunts.

2014

Clock: premade object, coin material: pewter, coin technique: die stamping.

The 2014 hunt asked solvers to hunt down a fearsome beast that escaped from Wonderland to the MIT campus along with a cast of other Wonderland characters. At the end of their quest, the solvers had to close a hole between the two worlds, with the White Rabbit's pocket watch serving as the key. The giant pocket watch depicted above thus served as the coin for this hunt. As a reward for their efforts, the members of the winning team also received souvenir watch-like coins (depicted below the pocketwatch) with pictures of Alice and other Wonderland-related characters and artifacts on one side and a clock with the time set to "20:14" on the other side.

2013

Material: brass; technique: die stamping.

The 2013 hunt involved teams pulling a heist to steal the coin from Enigma Valley Investment & Loan, to whom it had been mortgaged. Teams recruited the six experts who designed the bank's security systems and then had to physically circumvent these systems during the runaround. The coin was a one trillion dollar piece of currency.

2012

Material: nickel-plated brass; technique: die stamping.

The 2012 hunt was based on the film The Producers, with references to other Broadway shows, including Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, Man of La Mancha, Into the Woods, and Jesus Christ Super Star. The coin was a Tony Award, with an image of the Producers on one side.

2011

Material: Baltic birch wood; technique: laser engraving.

The 2011 hunt was based on video games, and included references to Mario, Zelda, Civilization, Mega-Man, Katamari Damacy, and Portal (from which the ultimate villain in the hunt was borrowed). The characters from the first five games appear on the coin, while the coin itself is represented in the form of the Companion Cube, an object (or, as some may argue, a person) prominent in Portal.

2010

Material: bronze; technique: casting.
Designed by Mark Halpin

The 2010 hunt was based on the history of the hunt itself, and a sequence of events that transpired when the coin was hit by Professor Emit's Time Ray and began bouncing back in time, creating new rounds of puzzles and changing history. The two sides of the coin reflect the two parallel Hunt universes: the actual one where Hunt is 30 years old, and the alternate one, where Hunt is 300 years old. The years listed on the alternate universe side refer to the past "hunts" visited during that hunt.

2009

Material: miscellaneous hardware, wooden plaque; technique: construction, laser engraving.

The 2009 hunt was set in the future, where participants in a gaming convention based on the game "Escape from Zyzzlvaria" got sucked into the real Zyzzlvaria. In order to, well, escape from Zyzzlvaria, the participants needed to activate the Covertly Operational Inversion Node, or the COIN, depicted above.

2008

Material: metal; technique: casting.
Designed by Mark Halpin

The 2008 hunt was a whodunnit concerning the murder of Dr. Awkward. The coin design illustrates the concept of a classic murder mystery with a human silhouette and a fingerprint. The fingerprint served as evidence that was needed to convict the murderer.

2007

Material: copper; technique: lathe engraving.

The 2007 hunt involved a descent into Hell to regain the solvers' lost souls. The souls were regained in the form of the coin, pictured above.

2006

Material: metal, glass, plastic; technique: premade object with silk-screened lettering.

The 2006 hunt involved a mysterious intelligence agency known as S.P.I.E.S., which was trying to stop the evil Professor Moriarty from using the MIT Weather Machine to cover the world in eternal winter, save for one tropical island which he had purchased in advance. The snow globe was a key component of the MIT Weather Machine, which teams got to keep as a souvenir.

2005

Material: mostly iron; technique: atmospheric friction

The 2005 hunt was themed around the town of Normalville, where a number of superpower-inducing meteorites made a landing. Progressing through the hunt involved collecting these superpowers, and the coin was an actual piece of a meteorite. Its current whereabouts are unknown.

2004

Country of origin: USA; denomination: 1 cent; year: 188?

The 2004 hunt was based on the film Time Bandits, which features a lump of coal that is actually a piece of "concentrated evil". Naturally, the coin this year was found inside a lump of coal; the coin itself was an Indian Head Penny, just like in the first Mystery Hunt.

2003

Material: premade CD, acrylic; technique: laser engraving, color printing

The 2003 hunt was a corporate murder mystery that turned out to be taking place inside the Matrix. So, naturally, the coin was a compact disc, with an appropriate green symbol rain design and the content of the entire hunt on it.

2002

The 2002 hunt was based on the Monopoly board game and featured a design with familiar characters. If you have an image of the actual coin, please contact us.

2001

Material: bloodstone, technique: natural polished stone

The 2001 hunt, also known as the "hunt of horror", required the solvers to defeat Agatha Winchester, a powerful witch who was capable of cursing MIT with unspeakable evil. In order to beat her, the teams needed to recover her bloodstone, which acted as that year's coin.

2000

The coin from 2000 was a ruby slippers plaque (a red rectangular piece of plastic with a picture of ruby slippers on it.) If you have a photo of it, please let us know.

1999

Material: brass, technique: engraving

The 1999 hunt was based on the popular game series that featured Carmen Sandiego, and its coin was a brass puck with the words "MIT IAP Mystery Hunt" on one side, and "Carmen was here" on the other.

1998

Material: paper, technique: printing, forgery

The 1998 hunt was about getting a degree in enigmatology, and the coin was an MIT diploma (with a seal, not shown above) in said field. This may be the first year when the "coin" was not an actual coin. If you have a picture of the diploma with the actual seal, please let us know.

1997

The coin from 1997 is not currently known. If you have more information about it (especially photos!), please let us know.

1996

Country of origin: Japan; denomination: 10 sen; year: 10th year of Taisho (1921)

The 1996 hunt was based on the book "Godel, Escher, Bach", and its coin was a Japanese 10 sen (1/10 of a Japanese yen).

1995

Country of origin: Syria; denomination: 5 piastres; year: 1971

The 1995 hunt was based on the "Clue" board game, and its coin was a Syrian 5 piastres (5/100 of a Syrian pound).

1994

Country of origin: USA; denomination: 1 cent; year: 1899

The 1994 hunt was loosely based on a cyberpunk theme, and its coin was a traditional Indian Head penny.

1993

The coin from 1993 was a cup (representing the Holy Grail), with a coin inside of it. If you know what kind of coin it was, or have a picture of these objects, please let us know.

1991-1992

The coins from these years are not currently known. If you have more information about any of them (especially photos!), please let us know.

1990

Country of origin: Canada; denomination: 1 dollar; year: unknown

The 1990 coin is believed to be the Canadian 1 dollar coin (known as a Loonie), but no other information is currently available. If you have any more information or photos of the coin, please let us know.

1989

The coin from 1989 is not currently known. If you have more information about it (especially photos!), please let us know.

1988

Country of origin: Israel; denomination: ? shekels; year: unknown

The 1988 coin is believed to be one of the Israeli shekel coins, but no other information is currently available. If you have any more information or photos of the coin, please let us know.

1985-1987

The coins from these years are not currently known. If you have more information about any of them (especially photos!), please let us know.

1984

Country of origin: France; denomination: 10 centimes; year: unknown

The 1984 hunt coin was a French Republic 10 centimes piece, but no other information is currently available. If you have any more information or photos of the coin, please let us know.

1981-1983

Country of origin: USA; denomination: 1 cent; year: unknown

The hunts created by Brad Schaefer between 1981 and 1983 featured an Indian Head Penny as the coin. That is what gave the 'coin' its name. If you know the whereabouts of the original coin and can provide photos of it, let us know.