What do the markings on a wheat penny mean underneath the date?

Here is a 1941 Wheat Penny with a “D” underneath the date:

 

And a 1924 wheat penny, also with a “D” under the date:

And here is a 1970 penny, NOT A WHEAT, with an “S” under the date:

 

All of those letters are Mint Marks, indicating where the coin was produced.

Mint marks that appear on US coins include:

  • C: Charlotte (Gold only, 1838-1861)
  • CC: Carson City (1870-1893)
  • D: Dahlonega, Georgia (Gold only, 1838-1861)
  • D: Denver (1906 to date; easily distinguishable from Dahlonega because of the different timeframes in which the mints operated)
  • O: New Orleans (1838-1909)
  • P: Philadelphia (Silver “Nickels” 1942-45; Dollar coins 1979 to date; other coins except cents 1980 to date. Although the Philadelphia mint has been operating continuously since 1793, most Philadelphia coins do not have a mintmark)
  • S: San Francisco (1854 to date. Now mints collector coins only. The last circulating coin to bear an ‘S’ mintmark was the 1980-S SBA Dollar)
  • W: West Point (1983 to date; collector coins only)

(This list and a complete history of mint marks available from the Heritage Auctions Website).  Link will open in new tab.

Pennies without any mint mark were produced at the primary production plant (“ US Mint”) in Philadelphia. When collecting pennies, it is typical to have one from each mint for every year.

history of the us mint ans it's coinage, Amazon

History Of The United States Mint and Its Coinage, from Amazon Books

US Coins 2017

A Guide Book of United States Coins 2017: The Official Red Book, Spiralbound Edition, from Amazon Books

Here is my list that I use when going through my Pennies (I put them in a jar at the end of the day, and sort through them every once and a while; sometimes you find some “keepers”)! Tip: If you click on it, the image will open in a new page, and you can print it, to keep near the penny jar!

printable penny watch list

And when you find some collectible pennies, just wipe any dirt off them with  special coin cleaning cloth (an old sock), and put them in a “flip”, coin book or folder.  If you want to get a child or teenager into collecting, you can get them a whole kit from Amazon or eBay.

Pennies are a little more complicated than they seem, for what we know as common pocket change!

And that is why you are reading: “Pocket change Riches”.

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Consider sharing it!
The Last Word:

Should I consider coin collecting as part of my retirement strategy?

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.

Morgan dollars grade example

Morgan Dollar grading guide

 

This Morgan dollar was graded MS (“Mint State”) 69 by NGC, a grading organization. Higher grades command higher values. Morgan Dollar (1878-1921) Value – PCGS Price Guide  , Comprehensive Grading Guide for U.S. Coins (from Amazon)

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.

Silver Strike Token

 

$10 face value Silver city Casino strike (Casino closed 1999)

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, 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.

How To Buy And Sell Gold & Silver PRIVATELY: Must Know Strategies To Keep Your Portfolio Private, Stay In The IRS’s Good Graces, Know Your Tax Requirements, … File The Right Reports, Buy The Right Metal

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.

Coin collecting set

To recap:

  • 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!

The Last Word:

Niue has a cottage business in funky collectible coins.

Niue coins also available on eBay – note the Star Wars coins! (link opens in new window)

niue coins star warsThese are legal tender on Nuie.

Nuie entry in wikipedia

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Please share it with your retiring friends.  What’s in your Pocket?

I have $50,000 to invest. What can I do, other than buy property or stocks?

$50,000 may not buy you a money-making property without a substantial mortgage, which limits your profits and increases your risk if the market drops.  Stocks also carry a lot of volatility, which could make you nervous.

If you don’t need the money right away, consider investing in coins, which have collectible value and smelt value based on the coins composition.  They will never be worth less than the value of the base metal.  For silver coins: U.S. Silver Coin Melt Value Calculator.

American Silver Eagle coin, available on Amazon and Ebay, or your local coin dealer.

Coins can also be a great hobby, and you can give them as gifts and pre-inheritance to your heirs.  You can also tell people that you are training to be a numismatist (coin collector).  Many people carry a “lucky” coin with them, as a talisman of good fortune.

The Morgan silver Dollar, the most collected US Coin. Available on Amazon,

Or on Ebay.

I used silver coins here as an example.  You can get gold coins as well.  with $50k you can get approx. 2000 1 ounce silver coins, or about 40 one ounce gold coins.  If you keep them at home, 2000 coins weigh a lot (approx 125 lbs) and are harder to steal (try running with a pillowcase filled with over a hundred pounds of coins);  you can also diversify more with 2000 coins vs. 40 coins.  4 pounds of gold coins are easier to manage than 2000 silver Eagles. In either case you may need a safe – I got mine on Amazon.

You can also display your coins, and take some pleasure in their acquisition.
A type of coin I enjoy collecting is the Silver Strike, a Casino $10 token that is highly collectible – and most casinos no longer distribute them.  I get them from casino’s I have visited in Las Vegas,  or on EBay.  Newer ones ar clad in silver; older ones have a silver center that is .999 silver, weighing approx. .6 troy ounces.  There are many available from casinos that have been demolished or bought out, making them even more valuable.  Here is the web site of the Silver Strikers Club – Home Page.

Sam’s Town .999 Silver Strike, Many collectors trade them on Ebay.

Aladdin Casino Silver Strike.  The Aladdin has closed, making this a nice piece  of “old” Vegas to have in your collection! (The Aladdin is now Planet Hollywood).  Aladdin Strikes on Ebay.

Coin Collecting supplies and Books on Amazon

Black Silver Strike Display Insert for 12 Silver Strikes Casino Coins (Not Included)

silver strike casino coins and display cases

(they tend to be heavy, so be careful when hanging them on the wall)

Best of Luck – These are just a few options for you – find coins you enjoy and have fun with it!  You can even get coins with Koalas and Elvis! (Links to eBay) Also post a comment letting us know what you did, and how it is working out for you! Repost and share with your investing friends! – Alan

The Last Word:

Is there a special term for a blank coin, before the image is struck?

Planchets ready for minting

Definition: planchet is a prepared disc-shaped metal blank onto which the devices of a coin image are struck or pressed. The metal disc is called a blank until the time it passes through the upsetting machine which causes the rim to be raised. Once it has a rim, the disc is called a planchet.

The phases of a coins beginnings!

When referring to ancient coins, and coins which were made from cast metal discs rather than machined metal discs, the generally preferred term is flan.

 

There are really no hard and fast rules about the usage of these terms in ancient coin collecting, and you will sometimes hear ancient coin blanks referred to as “planchets”, even though they were made from cast metal.    In modern machine-made coinage, the distinction is very clear: the disk is a stamped metal “blank” before getting the rim, and a “planchet” afterwards. A coin that is ready to be stamped is a “Blank” or a “Slug” – From What is a Planchet? from About.com


When the coin is struck improperly, and gets into circulation – the resulting coin is usually prized by collectors as a Mint Error,  and may be very valuable.
Example of Mint error – US cent struck off-center.
Whenever you empty your pockets, check your change – you never know what riches are passing through your pockets!
I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Please share and repost!  Thank you!
The Last Word:

Vegas Baby! Silver strikes in the land of Bugsy and Elvis!

welcome to Las Vegas

On my First trip to Las Vegas, Nevada (aka: the world’s playground, or Sin City), I stumbled upon a a Silver Strike slot machine:

Silver Strike Slot machines dispense a $10 casino token, which most winners save as a genuine collectible souvenir of their visit to Las Vegas (or any one of the casino’s that have a Silver Strike machine.  There is even a “Silver Strikers Club” with members devoted to the collecting of the strikes.  My first Silver strike was won at the Venetian (Machine since removed):
Every time I returned to Las Vegas, I went on a “Strike Run” to try and win more collectible Silver Strike coins. On this last trip I won 11 coins and a Flattened penny from the container park.
All from the El Cortez and 4 Queens casinos!
Until the late 2000’s,Silver Strikes had a solid silver (.999 pure) center, and most recent ones have silver clad centers inside a brass ring.  The rising price of silver plus the cost of minting made the coins worth more than $10, and a losing proposition for the casino.  If the casino discontinued the coins, or was imploded (a popular way to raze a casino in Las Vegas), the silver Strikes become bona fide collectibles.  As of this writing, only the 4 Queens and the El Cortez casinos have silver strike slot machines.  (Tip – The machines get crowded on weekends and nights, try to get there in the off hours, when the casino’s are not crowded, like weekdays or mornings).
While you may not consider Casino tokens “pocket change”, they are prized for their collectible value, and make a nice addition to your coin collection.  They drop out of the machine encased in a plastic holder (although not the best holder for a coin), and are ready for a cigar box or wall display.  Some of mine are in a display case in my man cave:
Silver Strikes at Grandpa’s fabulous man cave hotel and casino (sic).

Even if you went to Vegas specifically to try your hand at winning some silver strikes, Many gift shops and pawn shops have silver strikes for sale.  If you are unlucky at the machines, you can reduce your risk of not winning by buying vintage strikes.  I must confess that at least half of mine were bought on EBay, or from friends who won them in Vegas – and knew I would buy them from them!

When you find yourself in Vegas, Make sure you do things that are fun and don’t stay cooped up in a casino the entire time.  The Las Vegas landscape is changing, and becoming more focused on experiences, wine, restaurants, shows, and parks.

Here is a short list of cool things in Las Vegas:

The First Friday Arts Festival,  Held on the First Friday of the month in the Arts District.
The Container Park, on Freemont St.
Park on Freemont Gastropub (try to hangout in the back, it’s really nice)
The Mandalay Bay Casino has a glass enclosed 4 story wine cellar
The Excalibur Casino has free Craps lessons at noon (many casinos offer lessons, I had fun brushing up on Craps)!
NYNY casino has, among other things, a statue of Liberty made of Jellybeans.
The Flamingo Casino has a flamingo Habitat. it’s very cool.
Both the Bellagio and the Wynn Casino’s have amazing floral decorations.
The Venetian has a replica of the grand canal in Venice
There is a street between the Linq and Harrah’s that leads to the “High Roller” ferris wheel, and it is lined with bars, shops, and restaurants!
Not to mention the Stratosphere Casino Hotel, with their amazing tower over 1,000 feet above the desert floor.
Did you know there is a Las Vegas Speedway? And you can ride a genuine NASCAR Race car there? (At racetrack speeds, with a real NASCAR driver).
Not to mention the Hoover Dam, Red Rocks, and Helicoptering to the Grand Canyon.
…And there is more!  -When you go, find something unique and share – I will review it on my next trip!
Here are some pictures from my romp through Las Vegas:

(Note: clicking on the image will open it in a new tab)

Atomic Liquors on Freemont st., Longest continuously operating bar in Vegas!

Flamingos at the Habitat at (where else?) the Flamingo Hotel, Bugsy Siegel’s place.

Pool scene at the Flamingo, taken from the walkway to the Monorail.
The lake in front of the Bellagio hotel, where music and water shows happen all evening!
This heart is covered with lover’s locks, like the bridge in France.
An ominous sign at the Venetian…
Neon Cowboy on the strip near Freemont st.
 Carousel of flowers at the Wynn
Montgolfier Balloon in Flowers, also at the Wynn
If you liked this post, please repost and share!

The Last Word:

 

 

Coming in 2019:

If I created my own currency backed up by USD. If I use a substance like a plastic, or metal coin bought online, for transfers, is it illegal?

In the united States. Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution renders congress as the only power with ability to MINT coinage that’s used in US transaction. Currency (paper or electronic) you can legally do, although most fail several areas.  In addition to the obvious problems of acceptance (banks and merchants) you also need a way to police counterfeiting. At the time of the foundation of the US secret service(1865) it is estimated that 1 in 3 bills in the US was fake. That’s a huge invisible tax on the general economy because if a dollar should be worth a dollar its really only then worth 67 cents because so many fakes drags down the value of the currency. Creation of souvenir coins not intended to act as currency, however, is not illegal.” – Quote from Laws Related to the Issuance and Form of Currencies.

 Gold Elvis Commemoratives – EBay (Note Dollar values)

Bitcoin (cryptocurrency) can be made (mined) at home, is widely popular, electronically based, but must be subject to taxes, and not a physical coin.  You can buy a token or souvenir coin with the Bitcoin logo, but it is a novelty, not representative or linked in any way to the crypto currency.  One unusual exception is the Casascius physical bitcoin, which had a chip implanted in it.

FYI, you can buy or mint actual Gold or silver coins, and they would be worth the value of the base metal, which can be in USD. Note the Elvis coins above.

You can use your coins as a method of exchange, based on their bullion or collectible value.  For example, a 1oz Gold coin is pegged to the value of an ounce of gold. Please make sure you work with a lawyer on your team to make sure you are not breaking the law, by declaring your coin legal tender.  If you do decide to make your own currency, as opposed to a novelty coin or souvenir/commemorative coin made out of a precious metal.  (Note: I am not an attorney, this is just what I got from the web – my opinion does not constitute legal advice).

Good luck in your quest!

Disclaimer: I own Gold and silver coins. If you liked this, please repost and like!

The Last Word:

Copper is expensive, should I be saving my pennies?

Hoarding pennies

The value of the penny is pinned as 1/100th of a US Dollar. The value of a dollar changes all the time, as does the value of the copper and zinc in a penny.

There have been proposals in Congress to eliminate the penny:

“Two bills introduced in the US Congress would have ceased production of pennies, but neither bill was approved. Such a bill would leave the nickel, at five cents, as the lowest-value coin. On February 15, 2013, President Barack Obama stated his willingness to eliminate the penny.” – Penny debate in the United States – Wikipedia

As to why there is zinc in the Penny:

“The cent’s composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in the coin started to rise above one cent. Some 1982 pennies used the 97.5% zinc composition, while others used the 95% copper composition.” – Penny (United States coin) – Wikipedia

What is the cent (Penny) worth?

“That made the value of copper in each penny worth about 1.4 cents. The meltdown value of a penny was 40% more than the face value. Copper moved to a higher price at the end of 2016 of around $2.70 per pound, making the value of copper in older pennies even higher.Aug 18, 2017″ – As Price of Metal Has Risen, Copper Penny Is Worth More Than One Cent – from the Balance.

Do people hoard pennies?

“Over the last few years, the market for copper has skyrocketed. Just last January, the market peaked at $3.649 per pound. At 146 pennies to a pound, a single penny’s copper has a value of about 2.5 cents.
That’s not a bad deal! Get a penny for 1 cent and sell the copper for 2.5 cents? How often do you find an intentionally undervalued investment that is easily purchased?
If you think that making money on your pennies is too good to be true, there is a catch. It’s illegal to melt down currency and sell as scrap. Also, there is no crossing the border with your penny bags either. It’s illegal to leave the country with more than $5 in pennies. Most penny hoarders are stockpiling their currency in the hopes that the law will change and allow them to finally cash in on their stockpiles.” – Why Some Americans Are Hoarding Their Pennies…. (Literally).     

Even better than the value of the copper, is the collectible value of older pennies.  Specific years, even in circulated condition, have value in excess of the .01 cent face value, and in excess of the copper value.   I use eBay as the yardstick for the current value of any specific year penny.

Now that you have my 2 cents, enjoy your pennies (especially the ones minted before 1982). You can purchase bulk pennies on Amazon and Ebay.

Here is a way to make your pennies more valuable – by adorning yourself with them! (links in pictures open in a new tab)

Lucky Penny PendantDouble Keychain Set 2017 US One Cent Penny Keychains with Heart Around Year; 1 Year Anniversary Gift, Couples KeychainNovelty Silver Toned Washington D.C. Lucky Penny Spinning Centre Key Chain, Washington D.C. Souvenirs

Disclaimer: I own pennies (not a lot), some silver and gold coins, and don’t hoard pennies because they weigh so darn much!

Thank you Wikipedia and The Penny Hoarder for your research, quoted above.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to repost and share! Thanks!

Last Word:
 

 

What are these silver coins? I tested them with the ice and sound tests, and they appear to be silver.

Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector and hobbyist

Coin in question:


Based on a quick look, that appears to be a token for a Japanese “Pachislo” skill-stop slot machine. They are usually a stainless steel or aluminum alloy. Pachislo tokens are lightweight and non-magnetic, to prevent any influence on the outcome of the slot machine wager.  The only thing “silver” about them is the color.

Here are some from a google search:

This is a Pachislo skill stop slot machine:
The tokens are “approximately” the size of a US quarter. These tokens are not rare, but specific ones may be hard to locate. They also work in some gaming machines at Chuck E Cheese[1] , and some arcades[2].
I have owned several Pachislo machines, usually reconditioned ones from Japanese cruise ships.  They are usually noisy and have bright lights, which makes them lots of fun, especially when they pay out winnings!  Most machines are easy to maintain, and there are companies devoted to parts and service.  Many owners convert their machines to us US Quarters, although I liked the tokens, and frequently needed to buy more (which is how I learned so much about them).  Reconditioned or used Pachislo machines can be bought for around $500 (USD) – LCD display machines are more expensive, and older machines can sometimes be found on Craigslist or Letgo.  If you buy one on Ebay or Amazon, verify the shipping cost, because they are heavy.  If you have a playroom or home bar, a pachislo machine (or two) can be a fun conversation piece.
 
Thanks for reading my Blog! Feel free to reblog or share!
Footnotes
Edited and expanded from my Quora answer.
 

Last Word:

 

Welcome to Pocket Change Riches

Valet tray (coins not included) from Amazon

By Alan Chenkin, who jingles his coins…

With Credit cards and smart phone payments we hardly need to carry cash anymore.  While it makes me a bit of a throwback, I will miss the bulge and jingle of change in my pocket.  For example, slot machines Have been using paper money, credit cards, for wagering and paper slips for winnings when you cash out.  They used to have big trays to catch the players winnings, and the noise of all the coins dropping was like a siren call to all the nearby gamblers.  Casinos used to distribute sealed towelettes to slot machine players because of the dirt that would accumulate on their hands from handling coins while playing.  And kept coin cups nearby to hold the winnings of the lucky players!

 

In my man cave, I have always been in the habit of throwing my loose change in a cup on my dresser every evening.  every so often I will sort it out, and hunt for coins of value;  old silver coins – the odd foreign penny or farthing; sometimes a Euro – so I can celebrate my “find” and put them aside.  For the older silver and well preserved coins I have “Coin Flips”, for keeping the coins clean after I wipe them with a cotton sock, er, “coin cleaning rag”.

Coin Flip Assortment - Cardboard 2x2 Holders - 25 each of 6 Sizes
2×2 coin flips from Amazon
Collecting coins is almost a passive hobby in this way – seeking finds in pocket change (ergo “Pocket Change Riches”) and finding fun collectible coins in stores, on EBay, or yard sales.  We all have need for money, and what painless way to accumulate coins and potential wealth, just by emptying your pockets!
 
I hope you will join me in this journey of coin collecting and enjoyment as I answer questions from my readers and post them.  feel free to comment or share, and I will respond to any requests or queries to the best of my ability.
 
 Welcome and thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to repost and share!

How much are US wheat pennies (Lincoln cents) worth?

Wheat pennies are fun to find in your pocket change
Image result for value of wheat pennies
These websites will guide you to the specific values of different years and grades of wheat pennies:


Lincoln Pennies (1909-1958) – JM Bullion
Wheat Pennies (1909 to 1956) Values – Cointrackers
Find Out How Much Is Your Lincoln Wheat Penny Worth? – The Spruce

If you sort your coins, you can collect pennies in many forms:

Lincoln Wheatback Cents Album, 1909-1958 P, D & S (Cornerstone Coin Albums)1c Lincoln Wheat Cent Penny Album/Book/Kit & 200 Random Coins Included #53303^
Lincoln Wheat Penny Starter Album Collection Kit; Great for Beginner CollectorsBCW Peel-N-Seal Self-Adhesive 2x2 Coin Flips for Pennies 100ct
Wheat pennies, because of their minted volumes, are easy to collect and fun.  Kids like them, because they can understand the value of a penny.  
 
You can even buy Wheat Pennies on-line if you don’t have any, or need specific years:
 
coin collecting does not have to be fancy.  A cardboard box or a cigar box, a magnifying glass, and an old sock (to wipe any fingerprint oil or dirt off the coins) is almost all you need.  You can almost feel history when you hold a 100 year old coin in your hands!
Coin Collecting - Newbie Guide To Coin Collecting: The ABC's Of Collecting - Including Gold, Silver and Rare Coins: What Every Investor Must Know
Thank you for reading my blog – I hope you enjoy it and find it informative! – Feel free to share!

 
The Last Word: