Check Your Change 6


This should be a golden rule for coin collecting. All the coins above were found in change or bank rolls.

I thought about writing this recently because earlier this week, I found a El Yunque National Forest Quarter in change. If you haven’t read my previous posts, I mentioned that I purchased a National Park Quarters folder from 2010 – 2021 back in November, 2015 for fun. Although I have been finding most of them in change, I cheated with 8 of the 2016 quarters by buying them in uncirculated condition at the New Hampshire Coin Show this past November. The El Yunque quarter was the only Philadelphia quarter I need for 2012, and now I have every Philadelphia quarter from 2012 to 2016. Only 2 more in 2010 and 1 in 2011 and I’ll have all the Natural Park Quarters minted in Philadelphia from the beginning. Denver ones have been tougher, but have found 9 so far from change.

If you are a beginner at coin collecting, here are some coins you may find in your pocket.

Wheat Pennies

When I was a kid, I would see Lincoln Wheat Cents more. As time has gone on, the price of copper has gone up and they are hoarded more today. Cents were mostly copper up to 1982 when they changed the composition to mostly zinc. So, even Lincoln Memorial Cents between 1959 and 1982 are sought after. I occasionally see Wheaties in my change and try to put them aside before I spend them.

Buffalo Nickels

Buffalo Nickels were minted between 1913 and 1938. One of the problems with Buffalo Nickels in circulation was the date and mint marks would wear off. This has been the case with most of the Buffalo Nickels I have found in change. I would say 1 out of 5 Buffalo Nickels I would find have a legible date. Dateless Buffalo are only worth a nickel, but dated ones could be worth more.

Jefferson Nickels

I remember seeing Jefferson Nickels from the 1930s and 1940s, but not as much today. I included two of the nickels I found recently. One is a 1940-S. It’s not always easy to find early Jefferson nickels with mint marks, but always check the reverse of the early nickels for them. The other Jefferson Nickel is a 1943-P and darker than the 1940-S. That’s because the 1943-P is made of 35% silver. I try to hold on these more for the silver content. When you find them in change, they will have a darker grey shading than the other Jefferson Nickels. If you are looking for them, they will be dated between 1942 and 1945 and have a large mint mark above Monticello on the reverse. Some of the 1942 nickels were not minted with silver. So make sure to check for the large mint mark.

Silver Coins

Before 1965, dimes, quarters and half dollars were minted with 90% silver. So, check your Roosevelt Dimes, Washington Quarters and Kennedy Half Dollars. You may occasionally find a Mercury Dime, Standing Liberty Quarter or Franklin Half Dollar in change. Like Buffalo Nickels, the Standing Liberty Quarters may be without dates because they also wore down quickly. However, you’ll get more than 25 cents for a Standing Liberty Quarter, even without a date. Half Dollars were mostly found in rolls, if you can find a bank that still distributes them. That’s were I found some 90% silver 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars and 40% Kennedy Half Dollars between 1965 and 1970.

US Coins You Wouldn’t Expect to Find in Circulation

About a year ago, I found two National Park Quarters with “S” mint marks. Starting in 2012, the Mint released uncirculated San Francisco to collectors, but some people who don’t know about these coins will use them. I’ve seen proof coins in circulation. So, you never know what you’ll find in change, even coins that should have never been outside of mint sets.

Foreign Coins

Once in a while, you’ll find a coin that looks different than usual. Then. you’ll look closer and see the name of a country on it. Surprise, you’ve found a foreign coin. Some people like collecting the coins from different parts of the world.

You Never Know What You’ll Find in Your Pocket

Always check your change. Maybe you’ll find a hole filler or something you may consider collecting. Have you found anything interesting in your change?


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6 thoughts on “Check Your Change

  • Nicu Paun

    Hello, really cool article ! I have always had a hidden passion about old coins. I actually collected a few coins as I was a kid. Although I don’t live in the USA and I don’t have access to those amazing coins, I still find it interesting and I think that old coins are full of history. Great article ! I must say again. Thank you for sharing !

    • Kevin Post author

      Thank you for the comment. Even though you don’t live in the US, you could probably collect coins in your country. I know most of my post spoke about US coins, but it could also apply to coins where you live. Good luck!

  • svenonroad

    Hey Kevin, it is indeed very interesting how many different coins there are and how special some are. I live in Germany and we have some very special coins, too. I collected many 2€ coins with special german motives on it over the years. I am excited how the worth of the coins developes in the next 50 years.

    • Kevin Post author

      Hey Sven, thanks for the comment! That’s cool that you collect 2 euro coins. I would think every one could find an interesting coin(s) to collect in their country. Keep on collecting!

  • Karen

    Very interesting and informative.I have a habit of tossing all my change into a large jar every day and when it’s full, take it to a coin machine to convert it to paper money. BUT from now on, I’m going to check my coins to see if I have anything of interest.
    I’d like to read more blogs about coins.

    • Kevin Post author

      I do the same thing as you putting change in a jar and convert it to paper money when full, but I try to check it before I do that. Occasionally I’ll find something worth keeping.

      Keep checking out my blog for more coin posts.