Coin roll hunting is like a sport for numismatists. I have spent countless hours with boxes of coins searching for anything that would make a good addition to my collection.
Whether you are a coin collector or not, you have probably wondered if you can make money by coin roll hunting. It sounds easy on paper, simply find a valuable coin and cash in on potentially thousands of dollars!
In reality, few people make money coin roll hunting. The good news, is that you can coin roll hunt without losing any money and increase your potential for making money.
First, know what to look for.
Each denomination has its own unique characteristics that add value. As you begin searching, you will have to at the same time increase your knowledge of coins.
You can look for silver, errors, and low mintage numbers. Silver is easiest to learn, as you can usually go by the year. Quarters and dimes minted before 1965 are all 90% silver. Profit!
Errors are more difficult. Errors are damage that happen while the coin is being minted. There is almost never any extra value added to coins damaged after they have left the mint. A flaw that the coin obtains after it has left the mint is called post-mint damage, or PMD. Learning about the process of how coins are made will make it easier to know what kind of error you have.
Low mintage coins can be in very high demand. You can make decent money by selling these coins on Ebay. To know what coins are low-mintage you can look at the mintage numbers online or use a book that tells you the mintage numbers. Remember, to check the mintage you need the coins year and where it was minted.
How to cut down costs.
You want to reduce costs so that even if you don’t find any valuable coins, you can return the coins to the bank for the same value you got them for.
First, get your coins from the bank. It may be tempting to buy ‘unsearched’ coin rolls on Ebay, but this is the more expensive route. Sellers will charge you for shipping which is expensive, then they add a premium for calling the roll ‘unsearched’. It is very rare that the roll you buy off Ebay is actually un-searched, and even more rare that you will find anything valuable.
When you are done searching, wrap the rolls yourself by hand to return them to the bank. You can get coin wrappers on Amazon in bulk for decent prices, or ask your banker for coin roll wrappers.
If you are looking to make money off this hobby, I would not recommend using a CoinStar. Although CoinStar’s are convenient, they are very expensive. If you do opt to use a CoinStar, convert the coins into a gift-card instead of cash to avoid the 11% fee. You could also donate the money to charity and use it as a tax write off.
Is it worth it to save copper pennies?
One way hunters try to make money is by saving all pre-1982 pennies. Pennies minted before 1982 are made of 95% copper and only 5% zinc. Depending on the price of copper, a penny could be worth more than a penny.
Although this sounds easy, there are many logistical problems.
You would need a lot of pennies to make any money at the current price. As of today, the best price for copper is about $2.75/lb. You would need 153 pennies to have a pound of copper. So, you would have a profit of about $1.22 cents per pound of pennies.
That means you would need about 82 pounds of pennies to make $100. If that sounds easy to you, also consider that you would have to store and transport 82 pounds of pennies. (Plus, 2.75 is for very pure copper, you may get less for pennies unless you purify them yourself.)
If you believe strongly that copper prices will go up considerably, then hoard copper pennies. If it sounds like too much work then don’t lose any sleep over returning copper pennies to the bank.
But is Coin Roll Hunting Profitable?
In general, I would say it is not as profitable as most people hope. It does however, not cost anything when done correctly.
Most coins are only worth a few cents or dollars over face value, barely enough to cover the cost of selling. You could likely make more money flipping coins.
I love and completely recommend coin roll hunting, but do it because you love coins, not to make a quick buck.