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Coin Finds: Eye for wheat cents, clad coins evolves over time

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 to edit for content, style and length.

Recently I went to our credit union to make a deposit. I had two tellers, as one was a trainee. As these ladies were helping me, a third woman came to the banker’s side of the window. I observed her removing a tray. As she was moving the tray, I noticed the reverse of a relatively large coin. I wondered what kind of coin it was. She then took the tray to open a new window.

The two ladies finished my transaction, and I just went over to the almost newly opened window. I asked if I could “buy” that coin. She agreed, and as we looked at it, we were surprised that it was a 1958-D Franklin half dollar. I haven’t seen one in circulation since I had a paper route in the early ‘60s.

I conservatively rated it an F12. I thought it was a pretty neat experience.

Dale Smith
Auburn, Wash.

I have been collecting coins for almost 40 years now, and I will quite often search boxes of pennies and nickels. I search the pennies mainly for the copper cents, and usually a box of pennies will yield about 10-20 wheat cents. I have also found about a half dozen Indian Head cents.

The nickel boxes of $100 I have more enjoyment in. A box of nickels will usually average one or two Buffalo nickels and one or two silver wartime nickels. I am fascinated that these coins are still floating around out there.

I look at it as cheap entertainment.

Joe G.
Toledo, Ohio

Knowing that I usually want half dollars to hand out to kids, the teller at the neighboring window passed over 16 that she had just received. That stack contained four 1964 Kennedy half dollars and nine Franklin half dollars.

Michael Wertz
York, Pa.

I worked in a cash office at a major retailer for the past seven years, and since I collect coins, I thought I would write and give the “Coin Finds” section a recap of what I was able to get. I will admit that we had an old coin-sorting machine, which would eject silver dimes and quarters, but I had to look for the others.

The final tally is:

• 5 Indian Head pennies
• 9 Steel pennies
• 2 Liberty nickels
• 39 Buffalo nickels (14 with dates, 25 with rubbed-off dates)
• 172 Wartime Jefferson nickels (1942-P-1945)
• 27 Mercury dimes
• 438 Roosevelt silver dimes
• 1 Standing Liberty quarter
• 78 Washington silver quarters
• 1 Liberty Walking half-dollar
• 7 Franklin half-dollars
• 12 Kennedy 1964 half dollars
• 49 Kennedy 1965-1969 half dollars
• 37 Silver Canadian dimes and quarters

Plus, the real gem of all is an 1886 Gold half eagle. This was found over Christmas. It was put in a self-checkout, so once it left the person’s hand, I was the first one to come across it.

There was also paper money, including:

• 9 $1 silver certificates
• 3 Red Seal $2 bills
• 3 Red Seal $5 bills
• 5 $5 silver certificates

I probably would have stayed on the job, but the store recently got a big machine that counts the money and electronically figures everything out. That took all of the fun out of the job, so I retired.

The true main point of this letter is to show collectors that there are still a lot of people spending collectible coins and paper money out there, so always check your change.

Name withheld

I always read the “Coin Finds” section first. I had always thought about sharing a story, so I finally decided to write to you.

My collecting history started in the mid-1960s when I was a newspaper delivery boy. Back then, I had to collect weekly from my customers, so I handled a lot of change. My older brother taught me about collecting. He always had me go through my coins before I paid my bill. I always had a large amount of silver. Clad coins were new (at the time), and most people just didn’t pay attention or bother to save the silver.

After my paper route, I worked in a fast-food restaurant. This is where I got one of my biggest finds. A gentleman was going to buy some food and wanted to know if I could accept Canadian coins. It wasn’t unusual to get Canadian coins in Northeast Ohio. I asked to see the coins. The coins were not Canadian.

He had two rolls ($10 each, with 20 coin per roll, for a total of 40 coins) that were 1892 and 1893 Columbian Exposition/Christopher Columbus half dollars from the Chicago World’s Fair. I paid him face value for them. All the coins looked to be MS-60 or better.

I still have a few in my collection. I used the profit from the others to buy some coins I could not find in circulation. That was around 1970. It wasn’t until I was older and wiser that I wondered where he might have gotten them.

R. A.
Wadsworth, Ohio

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