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Coin Collecting: Coin Roll Hunting

Updated on February 4, 2017

A New Way to Find Coins

So you're a coin collector looking for a new way to find coins. Tired of bidding on auctions, going to coin shops, searching online stores, and looking at your change. There is a new way to find coins and not too many people have taken to it... Yet.

Coin roll hunting is exactly what it sounds like, you search rolls of coins. Now there are a couple of ways to acquire these rolls, one is completely free, and the other will cost you. First let's talk about the free option.

Get Coin Rolls From Banks and Credit Unions

This by far is the easiest way to get one or a hundred coin rolls to go through. Just walk in and ask for what you want. If they have it they will give it to you. I have walked in to my bank and literally bought every last penny roll they had. What ever you might want to look for they should have. Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars. Don't be afraid to ask for a bunch of rolls and if they ask just tell them the truth. I bet you a roll of pennies you are not the first person to do it. If your financial institution doesn't have what you want or the quantity you want simply ask them to order a box for you. This option might cost you a little depending on the institution, but then again it could be worth it. When I get a few extra bucks (usually $20-$50) I go in and get as many rolls as I can and try to mix it up by getting pennies, nickels, dimes and half dollars if they have any. No matter what you get I'm sure you will have lots of fun searching for errors and varieties.

One thing I will caution you on is wherever you get your rolls, try not to take your loose change back to them. I have a buy bank and a drop bank. I only buy my rolls from one bank. Then when I'm done going through them I take the change I don't want to another bank. There are a couple reasons I do this. First I don't really feel like making my buy bank mad by purchasing a whole bunch of their rolls and then taking it all back in a few days later. My buy bank is the one I use for my normal banking also, the ladies there like me and I don't want to ruin that. Second, I don't want to go through the same coins I just went through. The rolls I buy could be some of the same change I just took in another day and I don't want to waste my time with that.

Should You Accept Customer Wrapped Rolls?

Personally I would say "heck yeah"! It is really a huge hit or miss, but I think it is worth the gamble. See the great thing about rolls brought in by customers is that they could potentially be full of hoarded coins that had been saved for years and they finally needed the money. Or it could be coins from a collection and they didn't know their true worth. Or it could even be a full roll of silver coins that they held onto and didn't know they could be sold for more than face value. Of course it could just be a normal roll of coins that they got in everyday change and are just turning it in. Even in this case you have the potential to find something good. The worst case scenario would be that the customer who turned them in are roll hunters also and you are just going through what someone else already went through.

What To Expect From Your Coin Rolls

This part is tricky because you really have no clue what to expect, I know I don't. I can tell you to expect the unexpected though. When I go through my rolls I'm not anticipating finding one or even several high dollar coins. I go into it expecting nothing so that when I do find something I still get excited. I can tell you that if you go through penny rolls you will find the most variety and possibly a very nice high dollar coin. I've heard of many coin roll hunters that find great double dies, interesting varieties and even new errors or varieties that have never been found before. Don't be surprised if you find a few wheat pennies or silver nickels while hunting. Even though they have been out of circulation for many years they are still out there. Many people love hunting half dollar rolls since they have been made of 90% silver and 40% silver. Some hit the mother load and others don't find a thing. I feel the best part of coin roll hunting this way is that if you find anything worth over face value, you only paid face value for the coin. If you buy a roll of half dollars and get one that's 40% silver, all you paid for that half dollar is 50 cents. The rest you can take back and get more with.

Other Places To Find Rolls

If you are looking to get more rolls at face value try your local grocery store or gas station. They might not be as ready to hand over their rolls since they actually need them, but it doesn't hurt to try. Ask them if anyone has paid in change that day and offer to take it off their hands. They need change, but they don't need a whole heap of coins. If they tell you "yeah some guy just got $10 in gas with nickels" tell them you will buy it from them. Many smaller stores need ones and fives so they might be quick to take you up on that offer if you have the bills they need.

If you don't mind paying more than face value for your rolls there are many places online that you can get rolls from. The most widely known is eBay and you can find almost any roll you want on there. I have gotten many rolls off eBay, but it isn't always the greatest. If you buy a roll of wheat pennies that have "never been searched" you don't actually know if they never have been. If you think about it the person selling those could have bought them in bulk from another person who did actually go through them. So technically yes, he is selling unsearched coins, they have never been searched by him. They also like to reel you in by showing off a really cool coin on the end like a silver dime or Indian penny, but that's usually all you are paying for is the end coin because the rest of the roll is common wheats. The only rolls I buy are uncirculated bank wrapped rolls of wheats. These I can guarantee have never been gone through and the chance of an awesome error or variety is much higher.

Remember To Have Fun With Rolls

If you go through a hundred rolls and don't find a thing, don't let it get you down. That next roll could be the one. This is a hobby, not a get rich quick scheme. Sure you could find a coin worth thousands, but it's not likely. Most of the great ones have been found and in a personal collection right now. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, get more educated on the different coins, years and varieties. If you just want to fill up some coin books that's fine, have fun doing it. If you want to get as many varieties as you can great, get excited. No matter your reason for coin roll hunting you should make sure it is making you happy, not mad.

We All Have A Preference

Which do you prefer to collect?

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