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Coin Finds: Aim to be alert

We recently asked you, our readers, to share your best numismatic finds with us. 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.


Send your "Coin Finds" to and we'll get them in.

Please include your name, city, and state. Names and addresses will be withheld from publication upon request. The editor reserves the right to edit for content, style, and length.

In 1962, shortly after we were married, I saw an article in “Life” or “Look” magazine that stated: “Do you have any of these coins in your pocket?” One of them was a ’17-D dime, which I had.

That got me started.

In 1964, in a dollar changer at Hercules Powder Co. in Rocky Hill, N.J., I found a “42 over 41” in very fine condition. I traded it for some “classics” (1/2C, 2C, etc) worth $65.

In two tavern sites near Pottsville, Pa., in 1967, my brother and I found many large cents using a metal detector. One was between stones in the foundation of a structure and actually had some mint luster.

In another tavern, not far away, we found a 1864-L Indian. We took turns digging and detecting that day, and it was fun. I also found the names of the taverns, which were Brewer’s and Wassers. I found them on a leather map in the Pottsville Historical Society Building.

Love your mag. Thanks.

Frank S.

While “shopping” at my favorite bank (the tellers are very nice to me despite the amount of time I bother them for my ration of two rolls of one cents), one of the three beautiful tellers said to me, “I have a really weird quarter.”

She knows I’m a coin collector, which is why she asked me to look at the weird quarter. It’s a beautiful silver AU+ 1964 Washington 25-cent piece. I could not believe my find. I tried to pay her for said coin, but she cannot accept extra money for any coin. Sorry!

Rod T.
Northfield, VT

Although I started collecting coins later in life (late 20s, and today I’m in my late 50s), I (like so many other collectors) would go to the banks around town to get rolls of coins – mostly cents, but I’ve done nickels, dimes, quarters, and halves.

There is something about searching through the rolls. It’s the excitement of finding a coin that you did not have or an upgrade from the one you had. And, of course, the rare coin.

Over the past 30 years, I have found some nice older coins. Cent finds include a 1962 doubled-die Canadian cent, very pronounced. I have found 100 or more 1970-S, all in better grades. I have 1909-1929 G in better grades, having found at least 25 each year, except for the very rare ones; for those years I was happy to get one. I have a lot of 1930s, except for the first three years, 5-10 of each year, ’30, ’31, ’32, in very good to fine or better condition. With the 1940s and 1950s, I put them in a box. The Wheaties years I kept all “S” mintmarks separate, teens through ’50s, and I also did that with the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

They are not a very high value, except to me. The bulk of the collection will be passed on. I’m hoping in the next few years I can get my grandson to catch the collecting fever, like me, so we can do it together until I cannot anymore.

Gary S.
Upstate N.Y.

The year was 1948. I was eight years old, and my father had promised to take me fishing as soon as he finished plowing the garden. But to keep me out of his way and out of his hair, he suggested that I search the newly turned soil for worms to use as bait. I fetched a can and began my search. The garden patch sat next to an old cemetery. It wasn’t too long before my bait can was quite full, so I sat down in one of the furrows.

As I sat down, I leaned back on my hands. I felt a stone under my hand, and when I picked it up, I saw it was rather flat and would be a perfect stone for skipping on the water while fishing. It felt a little rough while I was spitting on it and removing the dirt with my thumb. Then I looked at it closely and noticed some writing. I finally discovered that it was a large penny dated 1852 in very good condition. I took it to my father, who was amazed, and he surmised that I had discovered a coin that might have been in a coffin from the cemetery that, over the years, had rotted away; then the coin had traveled by rain power (underground) into my hand.

I still have that first coin, and it became the beginning of my collection.

H. Robinson

I’ve been reading your magazine for the last four years. I really enjoy your “Coin Finds” section.

I found something interesting in circulation in Ontario, Canada, while I was still able to purchase $540 worth of pennies, both Canadian and American. In some of these American coins, I found four 1969-S doubled date and “S” doubled in MS-64 condition. Plus, I also found a 1968-S doubled date and doubles – three of them. I also found a 1943-S and 1943-D (all double punched).

I’ve been collecting coins since 1957. I’m now past 69 years old.

Jerry L.

In Berlin, Vermont, at the Price Chopper store, the “Coin Star” is my favorite machine to explore.

I check the machine each and every time I go into the store. One of my very favorite stores to visit is the Price Chopper.

I have found one 1964 Roosevelt dime, in about AU shape – surprise! I will keep the dime for many moons for sure.

Today (April 1), I found four Roosevelt, non-silver; two 5-cent new coins; 21 cents; and a Canadian 5 cent from 2011 – all in the reject box. Wish I could do this every day. So no April Fool’s joke – honest my word.


On or around March 8, I went to reload my prepaid cellphone at one of my cellular provider’s various sale/service stations. My very basic monthly plan is $12 plus taxes. I paid the clerk $15, and when I got back my change, there was a weird-looking coin “playing the role of” a quarter. Close inspection of it exposed it as a 2008 Cayman Islands 25-cent piece.

That it came from the Caymans is what made it a weird find, given that where I live it is more likely for someone to find in pocket change stray coins from either Canada (because it is a U.S. neighbor and its coinage is very similar to that of the U.S. in terms of coin colors, diameters, and denominations, and we Coin Finders all know how easy it is for Canadian coins to find their way into U.S. circulation, which also spans Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I.) or the Dominican Republic (because it is P.R.’s closest foreign neighbor, and my island has a long history of Dominican immigration, both legal and illegal, plus its minor coinage is also very similar to that of the U.S. with respect to colors, diameters, and denominations).

Leroy Vargas
Hormigueros, Puerto Rico 

Like many others, I always look through my change.

Yesterday, I received a 1968 Washington quarter. I’d say it’s a grade of Good on the obverse and VF on the reverse.

Finding that age and older makes me think of the past and what I was doing then.

Philip Deaugustino
Hemet, CA

I don’t know if it is much of a find, but I found in my loose change four Utah Statehood quarters with indents known as clashed die errors according to my error book.

I also found a Texas Statehood clashed die error quarter and a 2005-D dime with a long line from ear to rim.

Michael Hicks
Mobile, AL

Shortly after seeing the new 2010 Yellowstone quarter, my love affair with the buffalo, or American Bison, began. There were now buffalo pictured on four different currently circulating coins: the 2005 Kansas Statehood quarter, one of the 2005 Lewis & Clark nickels, the 2006 North Dakota Statehood quarter, and the 2010 Yellowstone quarter.

In an effort to acquire as many buffalo as possible for my “herd,” my wife and I will print out tickets at the local casino with usual amounts in excess of 75 cents. This results is each of us coming home with 30 or 40 dollars’ worth of change to sort through, whether we win or lose – which is always a win!

In May of 2017, during the ride home, my wife was sorting her coins and exclaimed that she had found a classic Buffalo nickel, which was certainly a surprise. The date on this coin was unreadable, as one might expect, but it was still a nice addition to the buffalo collection, and it showed me that there actually were five circulating U.S. coins with buffalo on them.

Sorting through these coins over the years has also yielded many other surprises, and just this one Buffalo nickel would have been enough for this letter, but my wife had a bigger find on the very next trip. Her exclamation this time, however, was “I think this one is foreign.” She handed the coin to me, and I immediately assured her that it was indeed a U.S. coin – a 1902 Liberty Head nickel.

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Rick W.
Wausau, Wis.

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

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