Coin roll hunting is the process of searching through rolls of coins in order to find valuable coins. The easiest and most convenient way to get coin rolls is from banks. Once you search through the rolls you then deposit the non-valuable coins back at the bank. Keep reading to learn more about how to coin roll hunt.
- Which Coins to Search for
- How Much Money Can You Make?
- How to Get Started
Which Coins to Search for
Junk silver coins are the easiest and most popular coins to look for. What is junk silver? It's United States coins that contain significant percentages of silver. Dimes, quarters, and half-dollars minted before 1965 will be 90% silver. Half dollars from 1965-1970 will be 40% silver. Nickels minted from 1942-1945 are 35% silver and are known as war nickels. You can see the current value of every silver coin with our US silver coin calculator.
In addition to silver you can also search for valuable pennies. The older pennies such as the Indian head cent (1859-1909) and the wheat cent (1909-1958) are valued for their copper content as well as their numismatic value. Any penny minted before 1982 is 95% copper. It's not difficult to find copper pennies in a penny roll, although profits will not be high. With the current price of copper, the bullion value of a copper penny will be about two cents. Learn more about pennies in our copper penny guide.
Another popular option is to search for error coins. Certain rare error coins can be worth thousands of dollars. But you really need to know what to look for so it helps if you are a coin expert or at least well-versed in some of the different error coins.
Lastly you can look for commemorative coins. These are coins that you can add to your own personal collection. For example if you are collecting state quarters then you can search for ones that are missing from your coin collection.
How Much Money Can You Make?
It's getting harder to find good coins as the amount of silver currently in circulation is decreasing. You can go through a bunch of rolls without finding any silver. If you search for error coins then it takes much longer to go through a roll.
If you want to sell most or all of your coins, then you need to have at least one good buyer who will pay you at or slightly above spot price.
So don't think of this as full-time job. At best it's a part-time job and that will depend on how good you are. It's best to think of it as a hobby that you can make some money on- just like with metal detecting.
However it's possible that the price of silver could rise. Therefore this hobby could become more profitable in the future. But over the long term it's probably best to just buy silver from reputable dealers rather than spend a bunch of time searching through rolls.
How to Get Started
Getting started is simple enough, but you want to make sure you set up a proper system. You want it to be as time-efficient as possible.
First you need to find the right banks. Find ones that don't charge you any fees related to coin roll hunting.
You want to have two banks. The pickup bank is the one that you will order your coins from. This could be a regular order. For example you could have a standing order of 5 boxes of half-dollars every week.
Next you want to have a dump bank. The general rule is to never dump your coins at your pickup bank. You always want to keep them separate.
Search through all the coins and keep the coins that are valuable, and then deposit the rest at your dump bank. You want a dump bank that will accept loose coins because it takes too long to roll coins by hand. One option is to find a bank with it's own automatic coin machine. It would be the same type of machine as Coinstar except you wouldn't have to pay a fee.
Another option is to ask the bank manager if they will accept loose coins in plastic bags, the same ones that their courier uses. This can be the best option if you are doing a lot of volume. If you put in thousands of coins into a coin machine then it could jam up.
The bags you deposit need to be accurate. If it's a $1000 bag of quarters then there needs to be exactly $1000 worth of quarters in the bag. So let's say you have boxes of quarters worth $1000 that you plan to search through. If you find two silver quarters then you need to replace those quarters with two regular clad quarters when it's time to put all the coins in the bag.
This is a good system and you can repeat the process over and over again.
Below you can find tips that will help improve your results.
Look for Marked Coins
If you see a marked coin or an entire roll of marked coins then it's usually best to disregard them.
Many collectors will leave a mark on coins in order to identify that those particular coins have been searched. Some people resent this practice so it remains controversial to mark your coins. On downside is that someone could unknowingly mark an error coin and thus decrease its value.
Stamping a coin is legal in the United States under 18 USC Section 331. Stamping only becomes illegal if you are attempting to commit fraud with the coins.
Customer Wrapped Rolls Provide a Better Return
Customer wrapped rolls are better if you can find them. You will be able to find more silver coins and copper pennies in them. All you need to do is ask the bank teller if they have any customer wrapped rolls on hand.
In addition, you can also ask the bank teller if there are any loose half-dollar coins. If so then take all of them- don't be picky.
Have Multiple Dump Banks
Ideally you want to find multiple banks to deposit your searched coins. That way you can rotate where you "dump" your coins. If you keep dumping your coins at the same branch then they might ask you to stop. If you are serious about this hobby then you will learn from experience and find a system that works well for you.
Find Banks Close to You
It's important to have your banks close to where you live or where you work. Ideally you want to drive by them on a regular basis. Therefore you aren't driving out of your way to coin hunt. This hobby should cost you in time only.
Write down your results in a journal, and then add them to a spreadsheet on your computer to tally up the total value of your finds. You can also take pictures of your best finds.
Join an Online Community
If you're really interested in this hobby then it's a good idea to join a coin roll hunting community. The TreasureNet Forum is one of the most active communities where you can learn the latest tips and strategies. People also post pictures of their most recent finds.
You can have a lot of fun coin roll hunting and it can even be thrilling at times. This makes the process worth it for many people. But don't expect to make a lot of money from this hobby. It's getting harder as more valuable coins are getting out of circulation.
What to look for when coin roll hunting? ›
Old & Silver Coinage
Most coin roll hunters are searching for older coins minted circa pre-1964. That is because dimes, quarters, and half dollars minted in 1964 or earlier were made of 90% silver. Half dollar coins from 1965-1970 contain a make-up of 40% silver.
Searching through rolls is one of the best ways to get better collectible coins. It does pay to do this, even if you've been skunked a few times and not found anything in a while.How do you open coin rolls fast? ›
Starting with a small screwdriver, or a small knife, such as a little Swiss Army pocket knife (¼ by 1½ inch blade works great) you can push the knife blade outward and under the ring from the end of the roll. Then rotate slightly and finish by tearing the ring off, leaving the ring on the knife.How do I find rare coins in my bank? ›
Become friendly with the head teller or manager. Ask them to call you if someone deposits unusual items, like rolls of half dollars or large size dollars, such as Eisenhower Dollars. In fact, make it a habit always of asking the teller to check the vault for rolls and partial rolls of these coin types.What is the best coin to start collecting? ›
- Walking Liberty Half Dollar. ...
- 50 State Quarters. ...
- Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. ...
- Two-Cent Coin. ...
- Silver Peace Dollar. ...
- Rare, Key Date Coins. ...
- High-Grade Coins. ...
- Bullion Coins. Another coin that could be a great investment is a bullion coin.
“Different banks have different coin acceptance policies,” Kenneally says. “Some accept rolled coins and some accept loose coins to process through a coin-counting machine. If they have a machine, loose coins are usually preferred.”Can you make a living off coin roll hunting? ›
In general, I would say it is not as profitable as most people hope. It does however, not cost anything when done correctly. Most coins are only worth a few cents or dollars over face value, barely enough to cover the cost of selling. You could likely make more money flipping coins.What are the rarest coins to find? ›
- 1804 Silver Dollar, Class I. ...
- 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. ...
- 1933 Saint Gaudens – Double Eagle. ...
- 1343 Edward III Florin. ...
- 1787 Brasher Doubloon.
- 1913 Liberty Head Nickel.
Older coins are typically buried much deeper into the ground, especially if they are a few centuries old. On average, old coins can be buried as deep as 6 to 10 inches from the top of the ground.Can you still get silver dollars at the bank? ›
Banks rarely, if ever, will have silver dollars for sale. We are not referring to US Mint Silver Eagle coins with a face value of one dollar. However, even then you may not want to buy or sell at the bank. That is because they charge significantly more than bullion dealers do.
What kind of errors do you look for in coins? ›
Overdates, mules, brockage, double denomination, and struck on the wrong planchet errors are often valuable. Errors on ancient, medieval, and higher-value coins are usually detrimental to the coin's numismatic value.What should I look for in a coin dealer? ›
Although it's easy to find a coin dealer, finding an honest, qualified one is a lot harder. You want a coin dealer who knows his topic well, is financially stable, respected by his peers, has demonstrated care for ethics, and from whom you have recourse in case of a dispute.How do you know if a coin is lucky? ›
Some people believe it's only good luck to pick up a penny if heads is showing. A penny with the tails side up should be turned over for another person to find. On the other hand, many people believe any penny you find is good luck. You may hear people repeat a common rhyme to this effect: “Find a penny, pick it up.