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Coin Finds: Halves discovered in old laundromat machine

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.

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

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