From the October 14th issue of the Numismatic News E-Newsletter: Is searching a large quantity of cents still a good way to start collecting? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor, Dave Harper.
I don’t know if it’s still the best way to start collecting. There are still treasures out there to be found and it’s still fun to search coins for good finds, but it’s more common dates usually.
I would suggest the better alternative would be to purchase a bag of unsearched Wheat cents from a reputable dealer and purchase a coin folder or album and start there. I think that would show the best progress in starting a set and encourage the “thrill of the hunt” bug when finding an elusive “S” mintmarked Wheat or 2009 Lincoln that are often included in these offers.
Don’t stop searching change though. I find treasures every day, whether it be a 1940 wheat cent or a 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial cent. I just don’t think a beginner is going to find enough treasures to hold their interest in the hobby buying and searching rolls from a bank.
David Tortorice Buffalo, N.Y.
I have been collecting for years and still enjoy searching large numbers of coins, tokens, etc., to see what I will find. It helps me add to existing collections and to start new collections. You can often do it for less money.
Collecting is not always about having the most perfect coins because most of us cannot afford it. It is in the looking and hunting for the variety and for maybe something better than what we have now.
I can think of a lot of other activities that are at least as costly and with less to show for it and are maybe not as good for your health.
Terry Dolton Huntington Beach, Calif.
I’d say there’s still something to be found in searching through rolls of coins from the bank or wherever. Still, I’d have to say that it’s up to each individual collector to decide how they start or continue to collect.
That’s the beauty of it all. Whatever makes each collector happy.
Bryan New Columbia, Ky.
If a starting collector is interested in pennies, now is the time to do it. I search on average $50-$100 per week and find a great deal of good coins in circulation.
On average, I find 25 Wheat Ear cents per $50. I can put together a complete set of Lincoln Memorial cents of common dates without much effort.
I have also found in the past few weeks: one Indian cent dated 1893 in VF, one proof cent 2000-S in AU and a good amount of “S” mintmarked cents dated between 1968-1974. I have started to put aside all AU or better cents before 1982 (95 percent copper) because they are going to disappear just like the Wheat Ear cents did.
I think a lot of collectors would be very pleasantly surprised at what is still out there. With the economy the way it is today, people are not holding on to their change as long as they used to.
Warren Rabeck Torrington, Conn.
Look no further than the Lincoln Cent Resource on the web at http://www.lincolncentresource.net/forums/index.php where young and old numismatists are searching bags and rolls and finding treasures on an almost daily basis. We search bags and rolls for die varieties and error coins, as well as silver and other goodies.
Jeffrey P. LaPlante Webster, N.Y.
I suggest a young person look through a few rolls of nickels to see how many of the special issues of 2004 and 2005 can be found, as well as 2003 and earlier sideways type nickels versus 2006 and since types facing forward.
Dave Kuykendall Address withheld
I believe that searching cent rolls is an excellent way to begin collecting.
Even if non-wheaties are all that are found, it still represents over 50 years of the coin. Handling large quantities of any coin gives insight into grading and what each year’s issue normally looks like, which makes it easier to spot differences, errors, etc. Here in New England, I am seeing several wheaties per box of coins (2,500) which adds another dimension to the quest. And, if the searcher gets lucky as I did, a true goodie can be found.
Bob Fritsch Nashua, N.H.
I suggest a young person look through a few rolls of nickels to see how many of the special issues of 2004 and 2005 can be found as well as 2003 and earlier sideways type nickels versus 2006 and since types facing forward.
Dave Kuykendall address withheld
Yes, indeed. Check out the different types, dates and mintmarks, and get a sense of what it’s like to build a set. See how some cents are circulated, some mint state, some spotted, why and how some cents are choice and what makes them that way. Look at the softly struck and well-struck coins. Compare the portraits of Lincoln over the years. If you’re lucky, compare one and all with the wheat back cents you find. Learn how to upgrade and cherry-pick. Nothing like beginning with the basics.
Ginger Rapsus Chicago, Ill.
I believe every good collection/collector begins with a box or can of pennies.
In my case, I had an uncle who gave me four pennies from Ethiopia, and I still have them treasured in my collection. That’s how my collection started some 50 -60 years ago.
Then I was lucky that a friend asked me if I wanted to buy a coffee can of pennies. Of course the answer was yes, and I believe I paid 2 cents apiece. In the can was a 1914-D, which I also cherish. I have not had it appraised, but I believe it is in the $200 range in value.
It’s little things like this that get one started on the quest for a complete set.
Name and address withheld