Coin Roll Hunting 101: Here’s My Experience Buying Bank Rolls Of Coins At Face Value And Finding Valuable Coins + A List Of Coins You’re Most Likely To Find In Coin Rolls



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As a coin collector, I like to buy rolls of coins and see what I can find within — it’s called coin roll hunting.

Recently, I went to the bank and decided to spend $20 on rolled coins. I ended up getting:

  • 5 rolls of nickels (a total of 200 nickels) for $10
  • 1 roll of half-dollars (20 half-dollars) for $10

I knew I had coin roll hunting success on my hands when, on my way out of the bank, I peeked under the end of the paper half-dollar roll and saw the distinctive whitish color of a silver half-dollar underneath.

Yep, 50 cents bought me a 1964 90% silver half-dollar worth $5 to $7!

Following are some of the valuable coins I’ve obtained for face value — simply by buying bank rolls. Also, see which coins you should be looking for in bank rolls, by denomination.

Inside Rolls Of Dollar Coins…

While you can’t find rolls of silver dollars at your bank anymore, you can still get rolls of golden dollar coins if you place an order with the teller or call ahead. Uncirculated Sacagawea dollar coins are worth  $1.50 to $2.

I’ve found many early Sacagawea dollars this way — including the 2000-P and 2000-D dollar coins. They’re not really valuable – worth only face value. The same goes for Presidential $1 coins, which I’ve found many of in dollar rolls. Again, these generally aren’t valuable coins, but I’ve been able to build collections of Sacagawea dollars and Presidential $1 coins by looking through bank rolls.

You might happen upon some cool plain-edge Presidential $1 coins in bank rolls. Plain-edge dollar errors are unusual because they don’t contain any lettering on the edge of the coin. (The typical Presidential $1 coin is supposed to have edge lettering.)

Find a plain-edge Presidential dollar when you’re coin roll hunting, and you’ll have a coin that’s worth about $25 to $50. These scarce errors are out there… so keep looking!

Inside Rolls Of Half Dollars…

Some of the most valuable coins that have ever been made are U.S. half dollars!

I remember one of the first times I ever began looking for silver half dollars while coin roll hunting.

I bought a single roll of half-dollars from my local bank and dashed home. When I got home, I opened up my rolls of coins to see what I had obtained.

Here’s what I found in that one half-dollar roll:

  • 1 1964 90% silver Kennedy half-dollar, About Uncirculated $5 to $7
  • 1 1967 40% silver Kennedy half-dollar, Extremely Fine $2.50
  • 6 1776-1976 Bicentennial half-dollars, Extremely Fine-About Uncirculated $3 in total, or face value

Not bad for a $10 roll of half-dollars from the bank, huh?

Two of the half-dollars alone (the 1964 and 1967) are worth about as much as the face value of the entire roll thanks to the bullion value of the silver those 2 half dollar coins contain!

Here’s a video I made showing the notable half-dollars that I found in that bank roll:

In addition to silver Kennedy half dollars, you should also be looking for these half dollars in rolls:

  • Walking Liberty and Franklin half dollars – $6 to $8+
  • 1974 doubled die obverse Kennedy half dollars – $20+
  • 1982 no-FG Kennedy half dollars – $25+

Inside Rolls Of Quarters…

I’ve found some really cool quarters while digging through bank rolls! I even once picked up a 1964 silver Washington quarter worth about $3.50.

Some of the best finds you can make today include 90% silver Washington quarters — which take a huge amount of effort to find, but they still turn up once every few thousand coins or so.

Aside from silver quarters, I’ve found quite a few valuable clad quarters in bank rolls.

Here are some clad Washington quarters you should be looking for:

Inside Rolls Of Dimes…

It seems some people forget about the dime. The nation’s smallest currently circulating coin in terms of its physical size, the United States 10-cent piece offers collectors many opportunities for exciting finds if you know what to look for.

It’s possible that you may find 90% silver dimes in bank rolls, but you’re not bound to find too many silver dimes unless you’re looking through hundreds of dime rolls!

I’ve had a particularly hard time finding silver dimes in rolls. In fact, I’ve had no such luck yet through coin roll hunting (though I’ve found one or two in pocket change – go figure). My best dime roll finds are older clad Roosevelt dimes in what appeared to be uncirculated condition.

By the way, low-end uncirculated clad Roosevelt dimes aren’t really worth much more than maybe twice their face value — or roughly 20 to 25 cents. But they’re still neat finds, versus the ordinary well-worn clad dimes that usually turn up in loose change.

Here are a few of the other types of clad Roosevelt dimes you should be looking for when you’re coin roll hunting:

  • Off-metal – silver 1965 Roosevelt dime – $4,000+
  • 1982 no-P Roosevelt dime – $50+
  • 1996-W Roosevelt dime – $3+

Inside Rolls Of Nickels…

Some of my nickel rolls from the bank have also contained a few nice finds.

It depends what you’re looking for when it comes to deciding how many “nice” coins are in a bank roll of nickels. In my case, I tend to look for any nickels made before 1960 and foreign nickels.

One time, I found these when I bought 5 bank rolls of nickels:

  • 1946 Jefferson Nickel
  • 1959 Jefferson Nickel
  • 2 1959-D Jefferson Nickels (1 is a very, very lustrous About Uncirculated)
  • 1993 Canadian Nickel

However, if you were searching for pre-1965 coinage, then I also found these in the same nickel rolls:

  • 5 to 10 1960 to 1964 Jefferson nickels
  • several Westward Journey nickels

This video shows the neat finds I made in those 5 nickel rolls:

While these nickels may not be the most valuable modern coins available, they do make terrific circulation / coin roll hunting discoveries!

Here are few other nickels you should look for in bank rolls:

Inside Rolls Of Pennies…

I’ve found so many old and unusual pennies in penny rolls.

From old wheat cents to pennies with errors to foreign coins and more, I think my favorite bank rolls to search through are penny rolls — because they’re so cheap (just 50 cents each).

I always look for (and have often found) these in penny rolls:

  • Wheat pennies (1909 through 1958) – 3 cents to 10+ cents
  • Copper-based Lincoln Memorial pennies (1959 through 1981) – 2+ cents
  • Canadian pennies – 1 to 5+ cents

None of these coins is particularly valuable. The oldest Lincoln wheat penny I’ve ever found in a bank roll was from 1918 — but at least 1918 pennies are worth 10 to 20 cents, which is significantly more than face value!

I haven’t found any of these yet, but these are my favorite pennies to look for in bank rolls:

Here’s a video I made — so you can see how I look through rolls of pennies and nickels:

The Bottom Line

There are many, many amazing coins hiding in bank rolls… all you need to do is look for them. And it won’t cost you more than the face value of the coin rolls to do it!

The coins I’ve mentioned above are to give you just a taste of the many great coins you can find when you look hard enough.

Who knows what you’ll find when you buy rolls of coins from your bank — perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to find some of the fascinating coins that I and other collectors have discovered in bank rolls.

Be careful though… coin roll hunting can be addicting!

Here’s a list of U.S. coins worth more than face value by denomination.

Do Bank Rolls Contain Only Circulated Coins Or Only Uncirculated Coins In Them?

A friend recently asked me this, and it’s a great question that I thought I’d address here.

Actually, there’s no rule of thumb for the type of coins you’ll find in bank rolls.

I’d say about four-fifths of the bank rolls I’ve received were circulated coins, while the others were uncirculated coins.

Oddly enough, the pennies seem to be the coins that I most find often coming in totally uncirculated rolls. (This, of course is disappointing if you’re looking for old pennies.)

The half dollars are virtually all circulated — except for the many virtually unused halves that turn up in those mixed, otherwise circulated rolls.

Dollar coin rolls tend to contain mostly older (pre-2012) uncirculated coins.

Bank rolls for all the rest of the coins (nickels, dimes, and quarters) typically contain circulated coins, in my experience.

So to paraphrase Forrest Gump, when it comes to the coins in bank rolls, “You never know what you’re gonna get!”

If you are planning to buy rolls of coins from a bank, I would encourage you to know how much you’d like to spend before you get there. These are the face values of different bank rolls:

  • Small dollars – 25 coins, $25
  • Half dollars – 20 coins, $10
  • Quarters – 40 coins, $10
  • Dimes – 50 coins, $5
  • Nickels – 40 coins, $2
  • Pennies – 50 coins, 50 cents

Joshua

I'm the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Coin Roll Hunting 101: Here’s My Experience Buying Bank Rolls Of Coins At Face Value And Finding Valuable Coins + A List Of Coins You’re Most Likely To Find In Coin Rolls

  1. Great article! I’ve always been confused with some of the terminology but you have summarized them greatly!

    1. Thank you, Rocco! Appreciate this great feedback very much!

      Have a great day,
      Josh

      1. Thank you, you too! Please keep writing these types of articles, especially between the difference between proof and burnished coins. I still can’t wrap my head around that difference…
        Have a great day,
        Rocco

        1. Wow, thank you for that feedback, Rocco… I like your idea on the burnished/proof coins.

          Have a great day, too,
          -Josh

  2. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your articles. Thanks to you I started roll hunting and I got 4 silver dimes 2 1952 and 2 1957. My nickel stash yielded a 1937 buffalo, 1944 P and a really nice 1939. Thanks again I really appreciate all that you put into this.

    1. Wow, amazing finds, Veronica!! Sounds like you’re making good use of your coin-searching skills — keep finding more treasures!

      Thank you so much for your kind comments,
      -Josh

  3. Unfortunately, most banks won’t order you gold dollar coins any more. Called 2 banks to day to see if I could get a few rolls. The best they would offer if if I got $1000 worth -_-. So good luck with that one. PNC told me they no longer carry coins beyond deposits made that day and they are immediately turned in at the end of the day.

    1. Jumping Jehosaphat —

      It’s true that as the years go on it’s becoming more difficult to find golden dollar coins at many of the commercial banks. Some indeed still do order them, but you’ve got to really poke around now. I say keep on trying. You can also still order half dollars, if you’re interested.

      Good luck,
      Josh

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