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.
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I remember back in the late 1980s, when I worked in a grocery store. We got all of our change from the bank. I called it “grandma’s hoard.” Rolls of wheat pennies, silver dimes and quarters, but the best was a roll of nickels. I cracked it open and found a 1882 $5 gold piece.
Really miss those days.
The winter months are a great time to check cent and nickel rolls.
I look for wheaties and pre-1982 cents along with the painstaking task of looking for errors, etc.
Nickels are really fun, and I have had good luck getting war nickels and save all pre-1964 along with a quick check of the various books that address the errors/mistrikes on recent coins.
William Stewart Lane
My greatest coin find was a 1803 Draped Bust large cent, NGC graded it as “LARGE DATE, SMALL FRACTION in Good details.”
I got this coin at an estate auction for $17. What a find.
I found Finnish two euro coins found in pocket change in France.
A Dane in Paris
I started collecting at age 14 and am now 66. I have enjoyed collecting and dealing coins at local weekend shows, but have the love of the collector.
Unfortunately I was not too successful as a dealer. Paid to high and sold too low. But it was fun.
I stopped collecting long ago, but started again with the 1982 George Washington commemorative and stopped just before the baseball commemoratives.
My first “best find” was when I was a 15-year-old paper boy and one customer allowed me to go through her jar of pennies. I found a 1924-D cent in Very Fine in that jar. I don’t have it any more.
The next and most rewarding was from my wife’s grandfather. After getting married, Grandpa Louie showed me several rolls of Morgan and Peace dollars in his sock drawer. Two of them were wrapped up in tissue paper. The others were mostly common, but filled 80 percent of a Peace set and maybe 60 percent of the Morgan set.
I opened the tissue paper and saw an 1892 Morgan. I turned it over to see the “S” mintmark.
I then saw a news clipping from the New York Times’s numismatic column, describing the 1892-S and the 1893-S Morgans. Then I unrolled the second and yes, it was a 1893-S. I knew that was the key, except for the 1895 (not a circulating issue).
Only disappointment is it has a rim nick that detracts from its VF grade and value. But I have the key Morgan and a story to go with it.
Name and address withheld
Recently I bought a box of uncirculated (mostly) rolls of BU Lincoln Memorial cents.
The sale was touted as mostly 1970s penny rolls. I thought maybe I could pull out some nice BU cents, possibly a 1970-S small-date or 1972 doubled-die obverse.
If nothing else, I have a friend who hoards copper and will give me two cents apiece for copper pennies. I ended up, with shipping, paying about two cents apiece for the rolls. Figured I’d probably break even, at least.
Well, this was a nice box of coins. I got probably 15 rolls of all circulated wheat cents. A few (maybe a roll’s worth) were 1910s and 1920s.
Then I got four rolls of BU 1969 cents, each worth about $5 a roll.
Then the cream of the crop. I pulled out a full roll of WRPM-090 D/D Northeast. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a repunched mintmark attributed by John Wexler (hence the WRPM). This is RPM number 90. And the D is over the D to the northeast. This particular RPM is not extremely obvious. However, since these are all BU, it’s easier to tell.
Well, to my surprise, I not only found this roll, but five other full rolls of WRPM-090. Seems like I got very lucky.
I also found, out of the same box, about 60 nicely toned 1960-D (large and small dates), and about 105 1968-Ds with various die progression errors (minor) on the reverses.
I was recently approached by an elderly friend who asked me if I was interested in “any of these coins over there.” The “coins over there” consisted of about $200 in assorted U.S. cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and halves. Of course, I was interested.
I quickly went through the halves, quarters, and dimes and pulled out about $4 face value of silver content coins, some 90 percent and some 40 percent silver.
I left the rest of the halves with my friend as they were post-1970 Kennedys, and told her to spend them.
I brought the rest of the coins home and looked through over 2,300 cents, 700 or so dimes, maybe 300 quarters, and about 500 nickels.
In the cents I found maybe 100 that were pre-1930, nothing spectacular but they were all readable, and a couple with mintmarks. I also found about 10 1943 steel cents, all worn pretty well.
These I will take to coin shows I attend and pass out to youngsters I encounter (with their parent’s permission of course) in an attempt to jump start their collections in some way.
Also in the 2,300 cents was one 1909 Lincoln without the V.D.B. It looks like it could grade about a Mint State-60 or -61.
How this gem got into this hoard with everything else of that age so worn and used I don’t know, but such are the rewards to be found when searching through an oddly assembled hoard.
I have been a coin collector for over 40 years. The days of good circulation finds are long gone (or so I thought).
I recently ordered lunch at a local fast food restaurant. I paid for the food and received my change. I could immediately see that one of the cents had a wheat reverse. I smiled and thought, it’s been a while since I got a wheat cent in change, and then walked to a table to eat my meal.
At the table I took a closer look at the wheat cent and flipped it over to see the date. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a 1909 in Very Fine condition.
I immediately flipped it over again to see if there was a V.D.B. on the reverse. There wasn’t. Still, I think that this was a great circulation find for 2016.
It make me wonder where this coin has been hiding for the past 107 years.
I live in North Dakota and enjoy going to estate sales. When they list coins as part of the auction I get really excited. I went to a auction and they had a lot of coins in jars, Ziploc bag.
There was one bag marked 1,500 Buffalo nickels. I looked at the coins and I could see all had dates. So I got in the bidding and won the coins for $480.
I collect Buffalo nickels, so when I came home my wife was none too thrilled about more nickels. So I put them in the safe and on a cold winter day I started going through them, finding some nice coins.
I found a 1936-D 3 1/2-legged nickel. After checking the rest of the bag, I found a second 1936-D 3 1/2 legged.
I took the coins to my local coin dealer who said he had never seen one in person and suggested I send them into ANACS, which I did. One came back Fine-10 and the second coin Very Fine-20.
I still go to auctions with my wife’s blessing and buy Buffalo nickels when I can. I also love reading “Coin Finds” and have had a subscription to Coins magazine for years.
I work for the state DOT in New York and we were excavating and trenching an area. The Gradall was digging and he sprung a leak of hydraulic fluid when I noticed a shiny coin he unearthed. I picked it up and never saw one before. To my amazement it is an 1807 Draped Bust penny.
I texted my brothers that I found a penny today and they didn’t think it was a big deal until I showed it to them and they were surprised to see how old it is. I still have it in my collection and it is the oldest coin I have.
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