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Coin Finds: Halves discovered in old laundromat machine

CoinFinds-300We 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 numismatics@fwmedia.com 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 to edit for content, style and length.


In the early 1970s, my parents bought a laundromat in a small town in Montana. At one point, dimes were the only coins the machines needed to wash or dry (long before my parents owned this property). There were two coin changers left on the wall. One would change a quarter into two dimes and a nickel; the other would change a half dollar into five dimes.

By the time my parents took over, the machines weren’t being used, and both the change and any money received were long gone. After the first year or so, my father decided to take them down, and to our surprise after taking down the half dollar machine, we found three Franklin half dollars that had missed the coin catcher and had been sitting in the bottom of the machine for many years. Although their value isn’t anything special, it has allowed me to share this story for over 40 years. I think I’ll keep these coins.

I have shared this story through the years with other coin collectors, coaches, bus drivers and anyone else who’ll listen. While on a trip a few years back, our bus driver shared a great story with me I thought I might share. He was at an auction where there was an old scale that didn’t work anymore, the type you put a penny in and it gives you your weight and a fortune; you might see one of these in a public restroom or a barber shop. As the story goes, while he and others were bidding on this scale, the auctioneer shared that was extremely heavy and whoever won the bid would need help moving it. Well, our bus driver won the bid, and sure enough he wasn’t able to lift it, let alone move it very easily. He found a few others and got it loaded in his truck and to his home. Hoping it would be an easy fix, he took the back off the scale and quickly found the reason it wasn’t working and why it was so heavy. It was overstuffed with pennies. Every penny in there was a wheat back, and the value of his find was a bit more then he paid for the scale. Once all the pennies were removed, the scale worked just fine.



I have been collecting coins since the age of 9, and I have enjoyed the hunt for over 10 years and never plan to stop. I will be writing about three finds I have made over the last several months.

My first find was in a jug of pennies given to me by my grandmother. She started filling it up in the 1980s, so there were many BU ’80s and ’90s pennies along with a 1984-P penny with a large cud spot on the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial.

When cashing in the undesired pennies from the jug at my local bank, I came across my second find. A 1980s penny that is about 50 percent off-centered was left on top of the coin-counting machine. The penny is in uncirculated condition with nice mint luster.

My last find was in a roll of Kennedy half dollars purchased at another local bank for face value. When I opened the roll in my car, I found seven 40 percent silver Kennedy half dollars all in about uncirculated condition.

Coin roll hunting is always a great delight, especially when you find something good.

Neil Clifford
Hazleton, Pa.


I decided to go back to my roots of the 1960s and collect older Jefferson nickels from my change and bank rolls. I chose this series because I figured I might have a chance of completing it. I purchased the first blue Whitman folder, 1938-1961, and started to hunt.

In about one-and-a-half years, I have filled over half (33 of the 65 spaces) of the album, including a BU 1950-D, but only one war nickel.

In my searching, I have also found three or four Buffalo nickels, including a 1916 in very good condition.

This endeavor has been a lot of fun and gotten my juices flowing about coin collecting again.

Stetson Ellis
Little Compton, R.I.


I went through $200 worth of pennies in January. I found 38 wheaties, one 1903 Indian Head penny, two 1920s, one 1919, one 1929 and the others were in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

I found 49 Canadian cents, one 1932 and one 1952, the old man ones. Good old Canada. The others were common Canadian pennies.

I found 49 new pennies from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. I put these in old pill containers. If they are real good, I put them in plastic single holders.

I kept all “S” pennies that I found, 51 of them. There was one 1947-S, one 1953-S and the others were 1960s and 1970s.

I found two foreign coins, a 1967 Panama cent and a 1971 Bermuda penny.

I got three dimes in these pennies, too.

I love going through pennies. Your fingers sure do get dirty. I hope I’m not boring people with these finds, but we have to keep the article “Coin Finds” going. It makes me feel good to read about other coin collectors’ finds.

Well, I just went through my first bag for February and found 11 wheaties, seven Canadian, three new and nine “S” pennies.

I’m going back to get some more.

Happy hunting to all coin collectors.

Daryl Wayne Padgett


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


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One Response to Coin Finds: Halves discovered in old laundromat machine

  1. Kerchan3 says:

    While shopping at a Walgreens Drugstore in Augusta, Georgia, I had purchased several food items for my personal consumption & then had returned back to the Days Inn Motel at which I was staying at, that was right beside the drugstore! I was staying at the motel because I was awaiting my new, next apartment, that was located in the town of Martinez, Georgia! Normally I just put my spare change in a paper cup and utilize that change as the week goes by for various items that I need to pay for something for under a dollar. However, for some reason I felt this urge to go ahead and look through the change that I had been collecting for sometime in this paper cup on the dresser in this motel room I was residing in temporarily! Well, to my surprise, while scanning the usual type coins found in everyday change, I came upon what I considered to be a very interesting “coin find”! That’s right, right before my very eyes was a “1919” Lincoln Cent in VG condition!! Now granted, I wasn’t going to become a millionaire overnight with this particular “coin find”, but you have to admit that finding such an early dated Lincoln Cent was really quiet remarkable! I say this because you don’t usually run a crossed Lincoln cents in your every day change that you pick up from various stores in market places, especially such an early dated coin! I can only speculate myself, that possibly someone might’ve gotten into somebody else’s old coin collection and was needing some change to purchase a particular item at a store and grab the various coins out of the collection to take care of their needs! That was the case in some situations during the times when I was a teenager, growing up myself! I can actually recall one situation when I was a very young little boy and I had recently gone into the towns grocery store and purchased some candy, in this case it was the candied dots on white paper; actually resembling the white paper strips you get off of adding machines, a long time ago. Incidentally it only usually cost one cent for each of those long strips of colored candy dots on the white paper! Getting back to mine story of an early “coin find”; I had glanced at the change in my hand and a monks the change what is a common coin but nowadays it would be almost shocking to come across in change! At least, I would be
    very surprised if I had found it in my change! Well, there in my little hand was a “1916” Mercury dime, however at that time I had an a clue as to what condition that coin was in but I do remember clearly it was a Mercury dime! Search fines like that of the dime when I was a kid, back a few years (Lol), was quite commonplace but, now days, a find like that should truly be a shock, at least I would think so! And believe it or not, our US Mint, Has released several Coins into our every day change, not through the normal special government holder that holds the Coins but through regular change so that people like myself and your self we can find these particular Coins that they put in there and actually have ourselves a fantastic “coin find”!! Some of you might say well, what’s the point in that? Well, it’s to get you to look through your change so that maybe you might run into something quite unusual and maybe you could share that the enjoyment with your children or your grandchildren this this particular “coin find” that you may have just run across! The whole point that our US Mint Has even placed some of these coins in regular circulation is just to get us to get our eyes into the changes so far that we get it during our normal lives and find something interesting and of course it would give us a great time to get with our kids or grandkids like I said earlier and kind of excited maybe get them interested in the doing things like collecting coins or tokens or what it may has even placed some of these coins in regular circulation is just to get us to get our eyes into the changes so far that we get during our normal lives and find something interesting and of course it would give us a great time to get with our kids or grandkids like I said earlier and kind of excited maybe get them interested into doing things like collecting coins or tokens or whatever it might be! Let me just finish up and say that I understand that most of you were thinking, “well you know that particular coin isn’t worth that much”, however let me just finish up and say that I understand that most of you were saying well you know that particular coin that I had gotten in my change from the Walgreens Drugstore here in Augusta, Georgia, may have only been a “1919” Lincoln Cent, but to my eyes, as a collector of many types of coins, including World Coins, US Coins, Canadian Coins, as well as many other types of coins, tokens, & paper money; that particular coin was a great find to me! I hope that maybe I might’ve spark some interest in some of you out there and that maybe you might also look into your pocket changer on the change you get back from stores in a lot such as Walgreens or Walmart or wherever and maybe you might find some interesting US coin or maybe seven world coin or token or something and you could share it with that say your own children your or maybe your grandchildren or someone? Have a great day!!

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