CentSearcher's Blog

03 Sep 2020

Coin Roll Hunting Pennies

Collecting Tips | CentSearcher

Whether you are looking for errors and varieties or just want to fill up some spaces in your collection, coin roll hunting will not disappoint. Pennies are the best denomination to start with in my opinion, as errors, wheats, and hole fillers are plentiful. One roll consists of 50 pennies, making it easy to search them in bulk. For me searching 10 rolls a week is continually increasing and upgrading my collection. As long as you keep low expectations, you are bound to be surprised.Acquiring the rolls is a smooth process as long as you (or you parents) have a bank account, and if you are polite. Take whatever they offer you, and do not be picky with what rolls they offer you. If you plan on returning on a weekly basis do your best to be a good customer. Now, if you do not have a bank account there are several alternatives. Before doing anything go ahead and check what change you have lying around the house. You can also get bags of pennies from customer service at Walmart and other stores. Most people also have a family member with a large mason jar full of pennies, and grandparents sometimes have some old coins lying around. Simple things like this could pay off eventually. Once you have you query, it is time for the fun part.There are a good variety of things to search for, though checking for every single error can be time consuming. What is nice about coin roll hunting is that you can have it fit your schedule the way you want it to. You choose how many rolls you search, how often you coin roll hunt, and what you look for. On top of that, it is risk free, for you get the exact amount of money as you give the bank, only in coins. I would still recommend to always check for the errors and varieties that I have listed below.
Wheat Cents Perhaps the favorite coin to come across, wheat pennies can easily be found in circulation. Expect most that you find to be minted in the 1940s and the 1950s. There is no consistent pattern in which you find wheats, though I typically come across at least one every ten rolls.
Hole Fillers & Upgrades It is a no brainer to search for the those years you need for your collection. But after a month of hunting or so, most of what you need will be pre 1950s, which is not consistently found in circulation. Upgrades will likely take up half of your finds by then, and one will almost always prefer the higher grade over their current worn coin. And even if you find a high grade older coin that you do not need, it would not hurt to hold on to it.
Errors & Varieties Errors and varieties are hard to find in circulation, but once you stumble across one it is well worth the wait. It did not take me long before I found a pretty nice example of an off center cent. While there are dozens of errors out there, you should always search for the following:1. 1969 S, 1970 S, and 1995 DDO2. Close AM and Wide AM varieties3. 2009 Formative years DD hand4. Off center strikes and any other noticeable errors
Low mintages Of course, it would not hurt to hold on to a few of the lower mintage years. 1960 small date and the 1982 zinc large or small date coins could be semi key dates in the future.
Once the search is complete you could either re roll them and return them to the bank or dump them into a coin machine that some banks have. If possible you should return them to a different bank, because I would not think a bank teller would want to hand you a thousand pennies just for you to return nearly all of them later. As a final note, there is a nationwide coin shortage because of Covid-19 so you might want to wait until it all blows over before you start your coin roll hunting.
That is it for now. There are plenty of other resources on the internet and in books if you wish to go a bit deeper into the aspects of coin roll hunting.Happy Hunting, and keep on collecting!
Your fellow Numismatist, Timothy



Level 5

I am in love with roll hunting pennies... I do about $70 worth a week now. With the you-know-what-19 pandemic, roll hunting has become harder than literal hunting XD. Cheers, NumisMaster

I. R. Bama

Level 5

All good strategies to build your collection, thanks!

Cheapest way to add to a collection, and sometimes the most fun way. keep it up, there are still treasures out there!


Level 6

Thanks for the really great blogs! Penny searching is a fun way to pass the time and you never know what you might find ; ) I get a box ( well used to ) get a box from my bank and go through them. Also great advice from Stumpy, check the Coin Star machines for left over change... I do haha


Level 5

Great tips. My grandfather got me into roll searching before I knew what it was.

It's Mokie

Level 6

One of the great features of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists KidZone are our tables groaning with over 10,000 Lincoln Cents. YNs are able to search through them for free and are also provided free Lincoln one-a-year folders (1909-2009). Our next KidZone is schedule for 31 October at the Fall PAN Show in Monroeville PA. I am hoping we can pull it off.


Level 5

I used to roll search when I was young. Looked for war nickles and wheat cents. Always checked for silver. I have checked a few rolls lately, but would like to search more. I need a book on errors, to know what I am looking for. I would not know the varieties.


Level 5

If you are looking for a cheaper book on varieties I believe "Strike It Rich" is supposed to be a good one


Level 6

I love roll hunting Lincoln cents. I get a bank box, well I did when I could get into the bank. That and a Cherry Pickers Guide and you are doing OK. Good luck.


Level 7

Most of us start with cents. England there pennys. I started with wheat cents when they were wheat cents. The teen years twentys thirtys ..Now it the fortys and fiftys. You fan on still get rolls of twentys . It all depends who the seller is. I check my change. When the wife comes home she gives me her . She came home one day and I was the reverse of a red 1931 S cent.doesn't happen that often but it pays to check. I will hit my wife's piggy bank. Never been touched since we got married 36 years ago. I'm hoping. Thanks.


Level 5

That is the way I started in the 60's rolling pennies for my Uncle's business. Good advice. Oh and don't forget to check the return slot in the Coin Star machines that are at many Grocery Stores, you will be surprised. Thanks for not one, but two nice, informative blogs. Later!

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