Monday, May 27, 2013

Is Coin Roll Hunting Worth It?

When I tell people what I do or they catch me lugging around coins in my backpack, they often ask me questions like “Is Coin Roll Hunting Really Worth My Time?”, “Does Coin Roll Hunting Pay off?” or “Can you really make money Coin Roll Hunting?”. My answer to all of these questions is a very excited “Yes!”

First off, if you haven’t my mini-primer on coin roll hunting, I strongly recommend starting off with reading it here. It gives a very brief overview of the coin roll hunting process and what we’re all talking about.

Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Reverse
Doubled Die Lincoln Cent
 Remember that you’re only paying face value when buying coins for coin roll hunting. Assuming you find nothing valuable, you can simply return all of your coins and get back at least your investment.  There are many places that you can return your coins, but my favorite is to always use a bank with a coin sorting machine since it’s the quickest return method by far. Most banks also don’t charge their members a fee in order to use the coin counting machines, so there’s a little added bonus over some other options. One of the key parts of the “financial model” of coin roll hunting is that your coins are always worth at least what you paid for them. Would you buy a stock in a company that you knew could never go lower than what you paid for it? I think most people would.

Dime with a cud, cud coin reverse
Dime with a cud at 10:00
 Another key part of making money by coin roll hunting is how likely you are to find desirable or valuable coinage.  You would imagine that it’s not easy to find valuable coins, but that’s not exactly the case. Many valuable coins, like doubled dies or even some cuds, aren’t obvious to non-collectors but can easily be Ebay’ed for substantial percentage-based profit.  Silver coins aren’t incredibly common but can easily be found in any higher volume search.  These coin values vary with the silver price but are typically worth about 18-25x the face value of the coin in silver value alone. This is before factoring in any numismatic collector value. Dime roll hunting and quarter roll hunting have been particularly fruitful ways for me to find silver coins.

Roll of Silver Quarters
Rolls of Silver Quarters Are Out There!
There’s also the opportunity to get a collection windfall. About 2 years ago I was fortunate enough to buy some $10 quarter rolls from a credit union that turned out to be filled with 40 90% silver quarters. At the time, each roll was worth $250 in silver value even though I only paid $10 for them.  More recently, I hit a later year wheat cent collection. As older collectors pass their coins down to their next of kin, the value or importance of those coins is not always communicated or understood and they escape back into circulation to be found yet again!

You can see that it’s possible to get value from searching circulated coin rolls for valuable coins. They’re out there. Non-collectors are missing them and new collections are getting released back into circulation every single day. Sure, finding valuable coins isn’t going to be an immediate windfall, but you’ll accumulate value much quicker than you think, especially since finding silver in coin rolls isn't too hard. Worst case scenario, it’s very easy to dump all of your non-valuable coins right back for new rolls to start searching all over again.

Best of luck and happy hunting!


  1. I didn't think about how silver and valuable coins got back into circulation, but you're right. Great article!

  2. I always thought coin roll hunting was worth doing, but your articles and the stories of your finds always amaze me and keep me hunting! Keep up the good work!

  3. Nice Article. I got into Coin Roll Hunting or (Click Clacking) which my wife like to call it about 3 years ago. I did a lot of pennies with my 5 year old son and averaged about 15 wheats a box of $25. Until someone dropped their collection back into circulation. I brought home 4 boxes from the bank and it was like Christmas for me and my son. We found over 900 wheats in those 4 penny boxes. 4 1909's tons of teens, twenties, and thirties.... Not only did I build my collection. That is a memory I'll have with my son the rest of my life. Hopefully he will too. I love reading about fellow Click Clacking Stories. Keep it up. Brian