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Coin Finds: Inherited coins make fond family memories

Based on the long-running “Coin Finds” column in Coins magazine, which will continue to appear in print, this online version will give additional exposure to the thrill of the hunt.

Submit your own discoveries via email to Coins magazine editor Robert R. Van Ryzin at robert.vanryzin@fwmedia.com.


Back in the 1980s, when my mom was nearing retirement age, an aunt who had died left her a large cloth bag filled with old coins—mostly Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Washington quarters, some Walking Liberty and Franklin half dollars, and an assortment of Morgan and Peace dollars.

She had be raised in poverty during the Great Depression, became a World War II war bride and eventually a single parent with five kids to raise. So she felt prosperous indeed to have inherited a bag of old coins.

Her hoard of coins sat on various closet shelves for over a dozen years, until one day while we were browsing in a used book store I spotted a paperback “Coin Values” book marked 25 cents. On a whim I suggested to Mom we should buy the book and find out what her inheritance coins were worth. That was the start of a coin collecting hobby that kept Mom happy and busy well into her 80s.

She loved hunting the area coin shops, researching the Red Book, putting hundreds of coins into flips, and securing them into binders. She loved searching through cent, nickel and dime rolls from the bank, and spent hours and hours cataloging every coin.

About 10 years ago Mom decided to have a coin party for her four children and our spouses. We sat in a circle in her small living room, watching the delight on her face as she first put all of her old cents into a worn tote bag. She sent the bag around the circle instructing us each to look the other way, reach in, and grab two coins at a time—until the bag was empty. She then poured in the nickels and the tote made the rounds again.

In turn, all the dimes, quarters, half dollars, and silver treasures were passed around, as we grown-up “kids” found ourselves the new owners of Buffalo nickels, Barber dimes, silver Washington quarters, Walking Liberty half dollars, Morgan dollars and various other coins.

Mom clapped and laughed as each unexpected treasure was retrieve from her bag.

We children had a grand time “finding” our own cache of old coins, and our dear mother had the time of her life sharing her inheritance with us.

Kathy C.


After reading several “Coin Finds” articles, I decided to take the advice of several coin collectors and go to one of our local banks and purchase some customer-rolled coins. I’ve been doing this about a year and a half. Early February 2017 I hit the jackpot. OK, not a huge jackpot but cool nevertheless. Out of the two cent rolls I purchased, they contained 72 wheat cents with dates ranging from the early part of the series to the 1950s. I was especially surprised to find an 1898 Indian Head cent with all those wheaties.

Be patient and enjoy the search.

Ray Camp
Wilmington, Ohio


This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine. >> Subscribe today.


More Collecting Resources

• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2018 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.

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