Best thing to do is bring them to a bank. But this is not your only option; I will offer one other suggestion; Which will require some effort on your part.
Sort the pennies into two piles, pre-1982 and post 1982. Pennies minted prior to 1982 are solid copper, and worth .03 cents each to a copper stacker, who might be interested in buying them for future sale. (anything severely damaged will have to go to the bank, or possibly be advertised and sold on Craigslist in bulk for face value plus a small premium, if you find a buyer)
Everything newer than 1982 goes to the bank, to be exchanged for cash. (Unless you search for 2009 pennies, which are more valuable because it was a low mintage year, but be aware that only ones in good condition can be worth as much as .30!
If possible, divide the remaining pre-1982 pennies into piles based on their dates. Hopefully you will be able to read the dates and identify Wheat pennies which may have a premium.
At this point, you can sell the pennies – always disclose their less than pristine condition – in a bulk sale on eBay, Facebook marketplace, or Craigslist. If you get .03 cents for them, you will triple the face value based on the value of the copper content in the pennies.
and determine if you have any collectible/valuable years. Pull these out and sell them separately, in a lot or individually depending on how much time you have to invest in the project. You may have to discount them due to condition (never clean them, always disclose that they are damaged and less than pristine). At this point a dealer or serious coin collector might make you an offer.
While This is a lot more work than dropping them off at a bank, you may recoup a decent return on your efforts if you have some key dates on your older coins, or “mint errors”.
If you are fortunate enough to have a teenager available, this will be an excellent way to motivate them to think “outside the box” and earn some pocket change in the process. (this may not work on some teenagers).
In any case, best of luck sorting and hopefully selling your pennies at a profit!
You can also bring your coin to a local coin show or coin club, they may be able to advise where to sell it or give you and educated idea of it’s value.
If your penny is not worth a lot, consider keeping it as a keepsake or making it into a piece of jewelry. While it may not enrich you financially, it can be a pretty keepsake or necklace for someone you care about.
If the penny is dull, there are plenty of YouTube videos and guides on how to polish a penny.
And if you are ambitious, it may be worth more as a jewelry piece than as a penny! Look at this one on Amazon!
Take a look at this:
These coin bezels are available on Amazon. You don’t need to be a jeweler to make your coin into a novelty jewelry item! (you will need a chain too – and they have rings as well! (Don’t forget to get a matching necklace too).
When you are creative, even a penny can become a fun project, and potentially profitable!
While it can be time consuming, I always check my bills to see if they are “star” bills. When bills are printed, it is not uncommon to have one in a set that is spoiled or unacceptable for circulation. It is usually cut out of the page of bills and a “star” bill is substituted as a replacement banknote.
Star bills have an asterisk(*) at the end of the serial number.
Star notes are collectible and you can check eBay for current values.
Other bills, like Silver Certificates and Gold Certificates, and error bills are more unusual and note often found in change from the grocery store – but don’t let this stop you from looking! If you find a bill that seems “off”, google it to see if it may be valuable. You never know!
I had a friend who owned a small coffee shop, and he told me that a kid came in and paid for a lot of candy with a bunch of coins – at the time he didn’t think anything of it, but when he went through the till at closing, he realized they were all old silver coins. While he never saw that kid again, he felt bad – because the young man did not know what he was buying candy with.
Bills with very rare errors, like mismatched serial numbers, alignment errors, and more — have a tremendous premium at resale. Look at these on eBay!
Even if you are not in a cash business, I would strongly recommend that you take a closer look at the bills in your wallet on a regular basis — because you never know what you may find!
Should you find some unusual or rare bills, put them aside, and try to find their value with a google search, etc. Sometimes a coin shop will give you a wholesale value offer on them, especially if you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling on eBay!
My favorite Bonus is the Silver Strike collectible casino coin.
This is one from my collection
They come from Silver Strike slot machines, that look like this:
Most modern casinos don’t have these machines (anymore) because they are mechanical machines, not digital, and the souvenir coins cost more than many casino’s are willing to pay for a “give-a-way”. Paper chits are less expensive, because they have to inventory strikes and reload the machines frequently. The mechanical machines have more moving parts, and tend to need maintenance more often than electronic (digital)machines.
Personally, I love them, they are a cool souvenir! There is even a “Silver Strikers Club” that has meets at the 4Queens Casino on Fremont Street in Las Vegas every year (the 4 Queens has several machines still in service, and mints event and seasonal coins throughout the year). Most of the newer strikes have silver clad center disks (older ones are usually marked .999 silver). the 4Queens also has a lot of colorized strikes, which are visually exciting, even if they don’t have the silver value of the strikes with solid centers. Newer strikes usually are $10 casino tokens, worth $10 at the cashiers cage in the casino. eBay and amazon prices are usually higher, since there is no risk of losing your money when buying a coin directly.
Silver Strike coins from closed, sold, and re-named casinos are available on Ebay and Amazon. It’s an inexpensive way to have a unique and historical souvenir from Old Las Vegas. With higher silver prices and solid Silver centers (.8 of an ounce of silver) these older .999 silver strikes have both the value of the base metal and collectible value!
Sorting through your change is a good practice, because you never know what kind of coins you will find. I make it a habit to put my change on my dresser, and sort through it to find any “treasure”.
I also take the surplus coins to the local coinstar machine, and exchange them for gift cards (no upcharge – so I can feed my Starbucks habit with my excess change)!
While I don’t have any expectation that I will find a rare million dollar coin, I do find many nice pieces for my collection, some of which I give to my grandson. Mostly all are in circulated or worn condition:
Wheat pennies, of all ages
Old nickels, and occasionally old buffalo nickels
solid silver dimes, quarters, and the occasional Half dollar.
assorted foreign coins, of all ages and denominations.
I also look at my bills, as I often find error bills, two dollar bills, and some really old bills.
You also develop a healthy interest in coin collecting, as you learn which coins may have value, and which ones to toss in the coinstar Jar. For example, almost any coin minted in 2009 is worth more than face value, as 2009 was a “low mintage” year – so Coins don’t have to be ancient to have value!
If you are a visual person, take a look at this board on Pinterest, To get an idea of what coins to look for.
Sometimes I wonder what coins have passed through my hands that might have been exciting, had I looked….
If you get some pleasure from it, yes! Otherwise, you need to question why you have a coin collection. Many people inherit coins, save them as souvenirs, or keep them as lucky talismans, or are given them by relatives and friends. If your collection has meaning or sentimental value, then it most definitely will be “worth it” to keep.
Some collections will appreciate in value, especially if you add to them. (like owning every coin in a series, as opposed to owning one or two). Other coins may be common and not have much value-at the present time, but possibly in the future.
If your goal is to profit from your coin collection, that takes some research into the coin values of your coins, and the hope that they may increase in value over time.
Coin collections can also be a part of your retirement plan and your estate, and can be left to your heirs as part of your legacy.
You can get display cases for your coins, and hang them on the wall or on a tabletop.
Coins can be real conversation pieces, so enjoy them (if you have not sold them or used them to buy your hatpin collection or Pez dispensers).
Thanks for the Question!
You can get Coin collecting supplies on eBay, and Amazon!
Collecting coins can be considered an investment as well as a hobby. Coins appreciate in two ways; The value of the base metal of the coin (silver-gold-platinum) and the condition, rarity, or collectible value.
You can make money buying and selling coins, but you need to familiarize yourself with the coins you want to collect, coin condition and grading standards, and coin values. Based on the amount of capital you want to invest, you may want to look at popular coins like Morgan Dollars (silver), and American Eagles (silver and gold). Don’t rush, follow values on popular coin sites and eBay, and accumulate coins when you see a good deal. Coins graded (by PCGS or NGC) and sealed in clear cases have value that is verifiable. You also should develop a relationship with a coin shop, their advice could be valuable, and they may be a good source of investment grade coins as well.
My answer is straightforward; if you are interested in investment or actively building a coin business, you can make money – as long as you take the time to learn how to value the coins to buy shrewdly or make a profit selling.
Coin collectors don’t make money by collecting coins – they make money when selling all or part of their coins; sometimes to profit, sometimes to liquidate part of a collection, sometimes to pay bills.
Collectible coins are an accumulated or acquired asset. You are in a position to make money with coins when you can sell them for more than what you paid.
Most collectors (myself included) have a fondness for coins and collect for fun. If you approach coin collecting as a business, You can make money, but you need to learn the market. Your coin collection becomes inventory, you need to manage it, track your costs, advertise, and buy and sell to build up your business. Some coins may have value but not sell well; a downturn in the market may cause a downturn in your business.
If you are truly interested in coins as a business (and you need to treat it as such) I would suggest educating yourself as to what coins can make a profit, which coins sell quickly vs. sit on a shelf, and what kind of investment you want to make in your coin business.
Making friends with a local coin dealer, and going to shows is also helpful – their experience and advice can be invaluable.
Decide whether you want to be a collector or coin dealer/trader
Treat coin collecting like a business, not a hobby
Learn as much as you can about grading and coin values
Track prices in the coins you want to inventory and sell
Make friends in the business, you will benefit by knowing them
Books that may help:
A Guide to Coin Collecting: A Guide to Buying, Selling and Finding Coins Online (Amazon)
Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling a Collection of Rare Coins (Amazon)
If you have a substantial amount of coins, you should get them appraised. Some coin dealers routinely do this, for estates and insurance valuation/verification. since they are there to set the market value, and not purchase the coins, you should get a legitimate value.
Flips and coin collecting supplies are Available on Amazon and eBay.
Once you have an appraisal (or 2), you have to understand the market. Many people and dealers are looking to buy coins BELOW MARKET VALUE. Their business model is based on being able to sell their coins at a profit, and absorb minimal loss if the base metal prices drop or the market for specific coins changes. For example, if a coin dealer offers you $60 for a coin appraised at $100, he is factoring in the risk of losing money on the coin, if he cannot resell it at an attractive price between cost and appraised value. No coin dealer will give you market value for your coins; many may only be worth the base metal price, if they are silver or gold. Circulated and damaged coins are considered “culls”, and are worth base metal value, at best. They are usually too worn or damaged to have a premium to a collector. One caveat is if you have a unique or rare coin; a coin dealer may make a higher offer for it – especially if he wants to inventory it until it comes up in value.
Your fear is that you will be taken advantage of by a sharp dealer who will offer you a price that is (10–20%) of the actual value, based on your lack of knowledge. This is often done with Gold buyers, who often give very low valuations on gold to people who “just want to turn it into cash”.
Unless you have a collection of old and desirable coins, like Morgan Silver Dollars, Silver and Gold coins, and others – your collection may be a lot of circulated pocket change with some old or unique coins in the mix. Circulated coins do not carry the value of mint state or proof coins; Coins are graded based on wear, appearance, and overall condition. See How are coins graded? Graded coins have verifiable value and are usually sealed by the grading organization, PGS or NGC.
If you don’t want to be bothered, you could put the collection up for auction, but auctioneers take a portion of the profit to promote their auctions and get your coins sold. Same with eBay, etsy, and Craigslist sellers. The Auctioneers and other sellers need to appraise the coins as well; that cost is included in their fee, as they need to set the minimum value for auction or resale.
There are books on how to sell your coins, on Amazon and eBay.
If you have a teenager in the family, you could offer him/her a stipend or commission to sort and estimate the value of the coins, based on eBay and internet values, from sites like Coin Trackers. They will learn a valuable skill, and you will have a much better idea what the coins are actually worth. You will also keep the costs in the family.
Get an appraisal (especially if you have a lot of coins you suspect are valuable/collectible)
Determine actual price, as a negotiating tool with buyers or coin dealers making offers.
Consider engaging an auction house, eBay seller, or etsy coin shop to market your coins. Since they make a set commission, they are motivated to get you the maximum price
Thanks for the A2A! (this question originally appeared on Quora.
Disclaimer: I write about coins on my blog, Pocket Change Riches, and collect coins I find interesting. I am also an eBay top rated seller, although most of my sales are not coins or bullion.
In my opinion, collectible coins and bullion coins (Silver and Gold) can have a place in your retirement strategy, if you want physical wealth that has to be managed. The collectible value is frequently much more than just collecting bullion (bulk precious metal).
For example, I like US Morgan Dollars, each one is one ounce of silver, which is US Currency and (at a minimum) worth the value of the base metal, silver. If you have highly graded coins, they will be worth much more then the value of the the silver. and It can be fun collecting an entire set (years and mintages) of Morgans, or just a few for your modest collection.
Another personal favorite of mine to collect are Silver Strike casino coins, which are a $10 casino chips with a silver center (about .6 ounce of silver). Collecting casino memorabilia is fun to me, since I have been to many of the casinos and enjoy displaying the strikes I have won/collected.
Most casinos are not using Silver Strike slot machines, as they are mechanical machines, making them harder to find. I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You can also visit the Silver Strikers Club, which has the latest news on Silver Strikes.
Some coins have no silver or gold (or any precious metal) in them; They may only have collectible value. Some may have no value at all, making them good for jewelry or as a memento of your visit to a foreign country. If you have some bona fide collectibles, WONDERFUL! If not, well, hold on to them if you enjoy owning them. Your kids may find pleasure in owning Great grandad’s coins from his trip to Havana.
Another favorite of mine is the Silver Eagle (and Gold Eagle) US Coins. Each are 1 ounce of the base metal and are beautifully minted coins! Here again, I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You may also find them at swap meets, flea markets, and yard sales. Coin dealers usually have many in stock, although they buy at wholesale and sell to you at retail. Learn values and grades, and soon you will become a shrewd buyer!
2016 silver and Gold Eagle coins, are available online from eBay and Amazon.
If you enjoy collecting coins, You will need a safe place to keep them. Some people keep them in a safe deposit box at their bank, others in a gun safe, if they have one. Thieves don’t like to run around with hundreds of pounds of metal coins – unless you have rare or extremely valuable coins, crooks may pass them by (or just take the shiny ones).
As a hedge on retirement, coins can be readily converted into cash. You can easily sell most coins to a dealer or on Ebay. Pawn shops will give you a better value on gold coins (usually smelt or base metal value) than on most jewelry. This means you can use your coins like a retirement plan, cashing them out over your anticipated retirement, or saving them as a reserve fund for unexpected bills.
You can give your coins to your heirs while you are still alive, sharing in your enjoyment and teaching the next generation about coin collecting. Why wait until the end? You can even get your children (and Grandchildren) coin collecting sets, and get them in the habit of looking at their pocket change, and putting old and potentially valuable coins in “flips”. I bought my grandson this collecting set on Amazon.
Coins can be part of your retirement strategy. (if you don’t like coins, consider a collectible that you will like).
Consider the value of the coin, Base metal and collectible value.
You will need to track your purchases and store your coins securely. Anticipate taxes.
Coins can be readily exchanged for cash from multiple sources.
You can pass them to your heirs without being deceased (or paying taxes, up to $14,000 in the US). (talk to your accountant).
Most important – you can enjoy them while you are alive!
I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I do – a small portion of my retirement is in coins that I enjoy. some are listed above (Morgans, strikes, Silver Eagles, etc.) and some are pocket change and circulated coins that have a value – above face value – with the possibility of appreciation over time. I have a modest budget for my eclectic coin collection.
If you are seriously thinking about coin collecting as a retirement option, Talk to your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant – and guys like me – to determine if adding coins to your personal financial assets makes sense. Or you can just start collecting pocket change and the occasional coins you like. That is an easy way to start.
Consider all your options, and enjoy your retirement!