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Coin Finds: If you want it, you can find it

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.

I’ve been a collector, off and on, for probably 30 years now, starting at a pretty young age. My grandpa originally got me interested in coins, and over the years I’ve gone down different paths as far as what I collected. I’ve always made sure to check my change, though. In recent years, it has seemed much more difficult to find anything, especially the older silver coins, but yesterday while grabbing lunch in downtown Cedar Rapids, I discovered a 1948-S dime in my change! So I guess there are still finds to be had!

Mark S
via email.

I’m a long-time collector for 50-plus years, and I still buy rolls and pick up change in parking lots to keep looking for gems. I bought two rolls of cents last hunt and found one wheat cent, 1957-D, and a 1998 Wide AM variety cent in AU condition. Then I went to Walmart and found two coins in the Coinstar reject slot, a 2001 Canadian quarter and a 2009 South Korean coin about the same size. All in one week. I’ll keep looking. They are still out there. Even free ones!

Gene K.
Southern Minnesota

Here is an unusual one:

An elderly friend of mine told me he had “some old coins” from the U.S. Mint and asked if I would look at them and maybe sell them for him. I said sure, and the next day he handed me two small, heavy cardboard packages, both from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, one from 1961 and the other from 1962. He had been sitting on them for 57 and 56 years without opening them! I opened the 1961 package carefully, and stuffed inside were 25 Proof sets of the usual penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and half. All 25 were in sealed brown envelopes. Ditto for the 1962 carton, 25 more.

Initial selling price back in the day was $2.10, so he paid $52.50 twice to get two boxes that have been untouched for over half a century.

I checked with four Indiana dealers, and the best price I was offered is $14.50 per set, for all 50 sets. I’m a bit disappointed, as my two-year-old Blue Book says $18, but then again, $725 is not a bad return for two boxes that sat in a drawer for 57 and 56 years! Deal struck, and now my friend has a check for $725.

Steve B.
Fishers, Ind.

I’ve only been a serious coin collector for maybe one or two years now. I collect for the historic value, and investment, and just the fun of finding coins of interest or value. So to make a long story short, I called my bank looking for Kennedy halves and Eisenhower dollars. The manager at my bank told me to go to another branch, as they had a couple of Eisenhowers. Went over and, to my amazement, they handed me two rolls of uncirculated Eisenhower dollars! What a find! All were Bicentennial dollars, too! Just goes to show you, if you want it, you can find it.

Jim B.
Tonawanda, N.Y.

P.S. My daughter shares the same interest in coin collecting as I do, probably because I give her doubles of what I have collected, but she has a very nice collection herself.

I very much enjoy your magazine, especially the “Coin Finds” section. I haven’t had as much luck or success in finding hard-to-find items as some of the other readers have, but I’m still searching.

My youngest son, who has no real interest in the hobby, has brought me coins on occasions. On one such occasion, he called me from his job and asked if coins are counterfeited. I told him if there is some value to the coin, some people will try.

He proceeded to describe a quarter he had come across at work. I asked a few questions and told him to swap it out and bring it to me if he could. A few hours later, he showed it to me.

It turned out to be a 2005 Minnesota state silver proof quarter. This was a big surprise. It had been circulated for some time, by the scratches and blemishes on it, but still had some mint proof luster to it.

On another occasion, a couple of weeks later, my son brought home six Teddy Roosevelt presidential dollar coins he received at work. They were bright, new, shiny coins that looked as though they just came out of the package. I don’t know how or why these coins were in circulation, but it’s pleasing that I was able to acquire them.

Good luck and happy hunting to all.

Joe S.
via email

I’ve enjoyed “Coin Finds” in this magazine for a while. I want to write about one of the most unusual finds I’ve ever made.

One morning in August of 2017, I decided to go to the store for some items. As I walked to the Coinstar machine, I could see some coins in the reject tray. I got everything out, which included (as I somewhat remember) two dimes, three pennies, and four foreign coins.

It’s normal to find foreign coins at the Coinstar machine, as it is calibrated to reject such coins. What was unusual, however, were the dates of these examples. They include (from most recent to earliest): 1979 Australian 10 cents (the size of a U.S. quarter), 1958 Mexican 5 Contavos (I like the brown color of it), 1950 German 1 Pfennig (the smallest of the group), and 1923 Canadian 5 cents (with King George V on the obverse).

This was definitely among my oddest coin finds, but still very exciting.

via email

I first wrote to Coins Magazine back in December of 2016 regarding Wheat back pennies and was pleasantly surprised that my letter, and finds were printed in the August 2017 edition. Since that letter, I have a new find to share with you. I call it “The Mother of All Finds.......EVER.” Well, at least it was to me. Here��s the back story:

My eldest son is not at all a coin collector, but rather the grandson and son of coin collectors. He has listened to me for countless hours ramble on about every aspect of coins and collecting coins for as long as I can remember, much of the time with two minutes of enthusiasm (then his eyes become glossed over from information overload). Hey, I understand that. I was the same way with my Dad years ago. However, something happened to him recently that made him change his outlook on his Grandfather’s and father’s passion. You can say HE STRUCK GOLD.

My son works for a house flipper and recently came across a small metal bank tucked away in the back of an old dresser in a house they were prepping for rehab. He took it to his boss and asked what he wanted to do with it. The boss said keep it and get back to work. So, he did just that. At the end of his work day, he decided to smash open his rehab find as clearly there were coins inside. How many, what kind, and what condition remained to be seen.

He called me two weeks after his discovery to tell me the story and what he found inside. As he began to describe each coin, it soon became clear to me that, condition notwithstanding, his find was not your average, everyday piggy bank variety. In fact, it was exemplary. Here is what was inside:

• Three each Walking Liberty Half Dollars dated: 1935, 1944 and 1947
• Nine each Mercury Head Dimes dated: 1920, 1926, 1936 (two), 1939 (two), 1940, 1942 and 1945
•Four Buffalo Head Nickels dated: 1934, 1937, and two unreadable dates
• Two Mexican Cinco Centavos dated: 1968 and 1969
• Nine Washington Quarters dated: 1936, 1942 (two), 1943 (two), 1944, 1949, 1954 and 1957
• Three Roosevelt Dimes dated: 1946, 1954, and 1957
• One Standing Liberty Quarter dated: unknown - worn off
• Six Jefferson Nickels dated: 1940, 1944 (two), 1947, 1948 and 1949
• One Canadian Penny dated: 1981
• Twenty Lincoln Head Pennies dated: 1959, 1962, 1964 (two), 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 (four), 1969 (two), 1970 (two), 1971, 1980, 1983, 1984 and 1990
• Thirty-six Wheat Back Pennies dated: 1910, 1920, 1928, 1930, 1935, 1937, 1939 (three), 1940, 1941, 1942 (three), 1943, 1944 (four), 1945 (three), 1946 (two), 1947 (three), 1949, 1950 (two), 1951, 1952, 1953 (two), 1955 and 1957

And last but not least, the gem of the bunch: one Gold Liberty Head $5 piece dated: 1882

Few of these coins, all which were gifted to me by my son, have any higher grade than an EF, and most not even that. But the 1882 Gold Liberty Head has the highest grade of them all, with an estimate of AU-56-MS-61, in my humble opinion.

So is there a moral to this story? I’d say so. Involve your kids or grandkids at an early age by planting the seeds of knowledge and appreciation for the things you love most. Their eyes may soon gloss over, but I assure you, your passion means more to them than even THEY realize.

Happy hunting, everyone!

Elgin, Illinois

Editor’s Note: Upon reading a recent blog post by my colleague and Numismatic News and World Coin News Editor Dave Harper, I thought it was a perfect fit for this space and a story many of you would enjoy.

I am eating too many lunches at McDonald’s these days.

I have become addicted to speed eating since we moved our office from Iola, Wis., to Stevens Point.

The franchise is handy. It is fast.

I get back to the office so I can work during the remaining portion of lunch hour.

How long I can keep this up is a good question, but it has been going long enough that I can now claim a circulation find in change.

Recently, I ordered three cheeseburgers off the Dollar Menu.

The bill came to $3.17.

I tendered a $20 bill.

The change came back in the form of three $5s and a $1 bill.

The 83 cents was made up of two quarters, three dimes and three cents.

I knew I had something as soon as I looked in my palm.

There was the unmistakable look of silver to one of the dimes.

My rational brain immediately kicked in.

“It can’t be. You haven’t gotten a silver dime in years.”

But it was silver. The unmistakable white color was obscured a bit by some light dirt or dried grease.

The dime will win no prizes for beauty or top grade, but the date is 1963.

Flipping it over, the mintmark to the left of the base of the torch was “D” for Denver.

Beyond the satisfaction of getting a silver coin was a sense of nostalgia for having to flip the coin over to see a mintmark on the reverse.

It is kind of fun to be successful in circulation finds mode.

I will report on the rest of the coins.

The other two dimes were 2006-P and 2008-P.

The three cents are a 1977-D, 1983-D and a 2013-D, reflecting the dominance of Denver coins here.

Two quarters are a very worn 1973-D and a 2014-P Arches America the Beautiful quarter.

Now I can hold my head up among the readers of Numismatic News who continue to scan their change and search bank rolls.

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

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