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Coin Finds: Supermarket visits deliver Wheat pennies, Mercury dimes

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 going through my collection sorting things out. In the process, I came across a small metal tin that was originally used to store tea leaves. Mom had left it to me when she passed away 30-plus years ago.

In the small tin, I found a few coins, as follows:

1-1921 Morgan dollar in about AU-50

1-1944-P nickel in about VG

1-1883 Liberty nickel in about VG-8

1-1910 Liberty nickel in about G-4

3-1903 Indian head pennies ranging from G-4 to F-12

1-1909 Barber quarter in about G-4

1-1916 Barber dime in about VF-20

5-Mercury head dimes from 1920, 1937, two dated 1944, and one from 1945, all ranging from AG-4 to a beautiful MS-60!

5-Lincoln pennies from 1918-S, 1919-D, 1935, 1941, 1953-D, all ranging from G-4 to VF-20

1-Very unusual 1950-D with the head and a short piece of copper tack driven through the bottom of the coin

1-1962 nickel that had been shot with a 22-caliber rifle — the bullet had not quite penetrated the coin and left a big bulge in back, barely attached by a small sliver of the nickel.

I guess I should say “thanks for that little old tea tin, mom,” what a great gift after all this time.

Southern Florida

I, too, enjoy reading the “Coin Finds” column every month, so here is my contribution.

So much for finding rare exotic coins, and even U.S. silver ones…it just does not happen very much. What IS fun is looking at every single coin you get in change and pulling out the following:

• All wheat pennies — happens three to four times a month. I found a 1945 at McDonald’s recently. I also look for 2009 pennies.

• Pulling out all “old” nickels, pre-1965 is my dividing line, and I find oodles of them.

• Always looking/hoping for pre-1965 dimes and quarters, but it has been five years since I found one.

• Occasional foreign and Canadians happen my way every now and then.

The most fun I have had during the last nine years is initially finding each and every State/Territory/National Parks quarter, P and D, and then putting it in an envelope, recording the date and location of procurement. I am missing only one. El Yunque P. I’ll keep looking.

Steve Barnes
Fishers, Ind.

In 1995, I helped a friend move. He had a lot of pennies in boxes, jars, etc. I asked him if I could look through them, and he said okay.

I have a list of the coins I found. I looked over 38,650 pennies. I found 48 rolls of Wheaties, 50 rolls of BAU, and two rolls of old Canadians.

I still have all of them after 22 years.

Boston, N.Y.

I read Coins magazine but never really noticed this “Coin Finds” section.

Recently, I was paying for groceries in a local ShopRite supermarket. The cashier was very young, possibly right out of high school. He passed me my change, which had a 1938 Mercury dime included with the other coins.

When he handed me the money, he gave it to me with a look that said “someone gave me this strange coin and now I’m going to stick you with it.” He simply had no idea what he had given me.

I took it and quickly stuck it in my pocket, never saying a word.

It is only in what I’d say is fair to good condition, but it is still a Mercury dime, and who knows who passed it to him.

Michael B.
Livingston, N.J.

Being a long-time collector, I always make it a habit of checking the change I receive at the local supermarket and other stores.

One day, at our local Safeway Deli, the clerk found an 1871 Shield nickel that I brought for five cents. It was well worth it, to say the least.

Through the years, many old coins have come my way, including hundreds of wheat cents. I have completed my second book collection of Lincoln cents 1941-1958, all from circulation. Even some early Lincoln should turned up, including 1945 key date.

Older Jefferson Nickels have also been abundant, with many five mints and better dates as well. The best for the last was a BU 1950 nickel from my local supermarket.

Who says old coins can no longer be found? Happy collecting.

Address withheld

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