Is it worth it to sort through the coins you get as change in the hope you will find one that’s rare and valuable?

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….

Is it worth having a coin collection?

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.

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change: Error Coins Bring Big Money
Books on Coin collecting, from Amazon

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.

Coin Collecting: Learn How to Start Your Very Own Coin Collection Including Gold, Silver and Rare Coins
Another Title on How to Collect Coins, From Amazon Books.

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.

There are several books on the subject, if you are planning on leaving your coins to your heirs, It might be smart to leave a copy of this book with it. (Book from Amazon)

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!

 

Is it possible to make money collecting coins?

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.

 

This is a good article on Coin grading – Wikipedia.

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.

Shameless self promotion – I write about coins in my blog, Pocket Change Riches

Thanks for the A2A.

How can I make money as a coin collector with no experience or knowledge?

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.

To recap:

  • 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)

Websites:

Dumb People Can Make Money in Coins

How to Make Money as a Coin Collector

Get the Inside Scoop on Buying and Selling Coins

YouTube video (one of many):

Thanks for the A2A! (This question originally appeared on Quora)

I wish you the best of luck in your numismatic endeavors!

Disclaimer: I blog about coins on my site, Pocket Change Riches

How do you find out how much old coins are worth without getting ripped off?

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.

To recap:

  • 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.

Best of Luck with selling your collection!

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.

 

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.

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.

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!

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

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 coins are 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 is 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 -You can get a good one for your collection 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. Newer ones are “clad”, and the centers are no longer .999 silver.

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:

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

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 things you may want to see on your next romp through Las Vegas:

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, great place to cool off.

 

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.  it’s at the entrance to the container Park.

 

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!

 

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
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!