By: Bruce Benoit
I think looking through cent rolls is still a good way to start collecting for the right beginning collectors, in the right situation.
I have searched through millions of cents over a 10-12 year period (because I had the time to) and have found coins worth hundreds of dollars. Although I did not start my collecting this way, my situation led to it. I became very interested in error and variety coins and did not want to pay what dealers were asking for some of their coins.
The bank was between work and home and I had a good relationship with the bank manager and several tellers. If someone came in with change to run through the coin machine and a teller noticed some older coins, they would put that $50 bag aside for me, knowing that I would be in later that day or the next. I also had two coin flippers at home: my wife and son often joined me in prepping the coins for me to search. I was going through approximately 200,000 coins a week in that situation.
Everything changed when I switched jobs. The bank was then 10 miles out of the way. This did affect the frequency of my trips to the bank, but it was still worth searching at a slower rate, due to the relationship I had with the bank.
Then the bank stopped rolling their own coins. I was unable to get $50 bags anymore and had to settle for rolled coins they purchased in boxes, and my wife and son decided not to help me any longer.
This slowed me down and eventually I stopped searching due to an upcoming relocation effort that was planned. I found myself puzzled looking at all of the bags of wheat cents I had accumulated, along with all of the boxes of tubed cents I had stacked up. How I was going to get all of that across the country – and that was just one denomination that I had searched. I lucked out and found a collector who liked to search through bags with his grandson in Michigan to take it all off of my hands prior to my move.
My situation now here in a small town in southern Arizona is different. The one local bank in town does not even have a coin machine and only accepts coins that are rolled.
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I guess my searching days are in the past for now. It sure was fun and educational while it lasted. The things that I learned from my searching cents really amazed me. You learn all about the coin making process while studying your finds. You also find some really strange things among the coins. If you have the time and the situation works for you, give it a try – I bet you won’t regret it.
This Viewpoint was written by Bruce Benoit, a hobbyist from southern Arizona.
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