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Buying rolls of coins to search through looking for valuable old coins, silver coins, and errors is one of the best and most affordable ways a collector can build their collection.
You’re probably wondering how to buy rolls of coins – right?
Can you buy rolls of coins at the bank?
Where are the best places to get coin rolls?
In this article, you will learn all of my favorite ways to get rolls of coins for roll searching.
I bet there are a few places on this list you haven’t thought of!
Why Buy Rolls Of Coins Anyway?
Before we get into the wheres and hows of buying rolls of coins, let’s get into the whats — as in, what’s the reason you might want to buy rolls of coins?
The answer is…
Coin collectors typically like to search through rolls of coins looking for:
Roll searching is a wonderful method for finding valuable coins!
Another reason for buying rolls of coins is the fact that you can score multiple versions of the same type of coin.
Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say you’re wanting to fill a coin album or coin folder. Buying rolls of coins can help you achieve that goal more quickly. For example, if you’re working on a Lincoln penny folder, you might buy several rolls of pennies to search for the dates you need to fill your folder.
There are also plenty of reasons that someone who isn’t collecting coins might need coin rolls. For one, maybe you’re having a yard sale… or a fundraiser. Or, if you happen to operate a store of some kind, then having coin rolls on hand would ensure that you have plenty of coins on hand for making change.
Where To Buy Rolls Of Coins
Before buying rolls of coins, you’ll first have to determine what kind(s) of coin rolls you’re looking for.
If you need rolls of vintage or silver coins (such as a roll guaranteed to be only wheat pennies or just pre-1965 silver dimes), you will have to get those from a coin dealer. Bear in mind that rolls of classic coins, junk silver, or other numismatic items will cost more than the face value of the coin roll.
If you simply want regular rolls of coins that cost just the face value of the coins within (for the sake of making change or searching for valuable coins), then you’ve got many more options!
Places That Sell Coin Rolls To The Pubic
Here’s a list of places where you might be able to buy rolls of coins:
- Financial institutions (such as banks and credit unions)
- Grocery stores
- Big-box department stores that offer financial services
- Cash-advance / check-cashing stores
- Drugstores and pharmacies
- Motels/hotels that have on-site laundry services and coin-operated machinery
Places That Sell Coin Rolls To Collectors
In addition to the banks, grocery stores, and other businesses listed above, you can find coin rolls (particularly rolls of vintage coins) at the following places:
- Coin shops
- Bullion dealers
- Jewelry stores that sell coins
- Coin shows
- Estate sales
- Yard sales
- Antique shops
- Collectibles stores
- Flea markets
- Online auctions
Wondering how many coins come in a roll? Find out how many coins come in each roll — by denomination. That way, you’ll know exactly how much each coin roll will cost you.
Before You Buy Coin Rolls…
If you’re buying regular rolls of coins from, say, the bank or a grocery store, you should expect a pretty straightforward transaction. There’s not much fuss or muss in getting a few rolls or pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters at most places that regularly do cash sales.
However, I do have some advice when it comes to buying rolls of half dollars or dollar coins, boxes of rolls, or vintage rolls!…
Buying Half Dollar & Dollar Rolls From The Bank
Buying rolls of half dollars or dollar coins from the bank isn’t as easy as picking up rolls of the more widely used denominations.
While some banks keep rolls of these coins on hand, many aren’t able to furnish them to customers upon request. Since half dollar coins and dollar coins are not as widely used, banks tend not to keep huge supplies of these coins in their inventory for customers.
Therefore, be prepared to place an order for rolls of half dollars and dollar coins when asking for them at your bank. If they can supply you with the requested amount when you ask… awesome. You got lucky! But in many cases, you’ll need to fill out an order slip for half dollar and dollar coin rolls, and you may need to wait a few days (or possibly even a couple weeks or longer) for those rolls to arrive.
Buying Boxes Of Coin Rolls
This, too, may require a special order — because banks don’t always have lots of spare boxes of rolls of coins to sell to customers.
Fortunately, these orders are usually processed quickly, since financial institutions tend to place orders for rolls and boxes on a fairly regular basis.
Buying Vintage Coin Rolls
Purchasing rolls of vintage coins can provide hit-or-miss results.
For the most part, buying a straight roll of old coins that are all the same date and mintmark from an established coin dealer will be fine. Ditto for buying rolls of 90% silver coins from good coin dealers.
But you’ve got to be a little more cautious when buying rolls that are deemed “unsearched” from an online auction.
Also, you should be extra careful when buying what appears to be old penny rolls with, say, a Mercury dime on one end and a VDB penny on the other. Many times, these types of rolls with unusual coins on the ends are just gimmicks to make you think you’re buying some type of gold mine roll that may be full of rarities or other valuable coins!
Often, these penny rolls that are capped with, for example, a silver dime on one end or an Indian penny or VDB penny on the other get many bidders excited because they think they’re hitting pay dirt of they buy the roll. Yet, in so many instances, these rolls are simply filled with common coins between the two tantalizing end coins.
In other words… these are gimmicks designed to entice you to bid higher, and they’re usually aimed at beginning coin collectors.
Buying Numismatically Unsearched Coin Rolls
What about so-called “unsearched” rolls?
This is a marketing term with the hopes of leading the buyer to believe nobody has looked through any of the coins in the roll.
Of course, this is hard to believe when buying something like an “unsearched” roll of Lincoln wheat pennies. How can the roll be “unsearched” if the seller knows they’re all wheat pennies?
Again… it’s a marketing gimmick!
Ultimately, the only unsearched rolls out there in this day and age are the ones that a non-collecting family member might have rolled up years ago and forgotten about.
So, you could get lucky and find some truly unsearched rolls for sale at an estate sale — but that’s about it. You can pretty much count on any coin rolls advertised as “unsearched” to have already been prefiltered (at some point or another) by someone who knew what rare and valuable coins to look for.
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!