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Roll Yields Proof Lincoln Cents
By Coins Magazine
November 07, 2013

This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine.
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Every week I visit a different local bank to exchange two or three dollar bills for four to six rolls of pennies. This has become a weekend tradition for me—to search penny rolls for some fun finds and the occasional real find.

Over the years, I’ve found many shot-gun rolls of various-dated pennies, three 1995 doubled-die cents, a 1909 V.D.B. cent, a 1914-D cent, many steel cents, a variety of Indian Head cents, and one Mercury dime (yes, in a penny roll).

Living in New England, I have also come to realize that Canadian coins may as well be legal tender in the United States. I average two Canadian pennies for every three penny rolls I search.

Last month I found something new. Searching through a random penny roll, I stumbled across four 1998-S proof cents. I touched the obverse of the first cent not knowing it was a proof and left a fingerprint on its mirrored surface.

This marked the first time I handled a proof coin outside its plastic, mint-sealed case. Quickly realizing my mistake, and seeing other shinny and thicker-than-normal pennies in the roll, I hurried to my desk and put on latex gloves to handle the remaining coins.

The three remaining cents are in flawless condition with no scratches, nicks, or stains. I’m not sure how these coins made it through the years without getting damaged.

Needless to say, I placed the coins in protective cases and continued to search the roll. I found two Canadian pennies.

Vince Schmidt
East Haddam, Conn.

I have wanted to write to Coins magazine again for some time, but I just did not get around to it.

These are some finds.

First, I found or received in change nine wheat cents. Two of these are a 1929 from an gas station and a 1930-D from a restaurant, some of the oldest coins I’ve ever seen in circulation. The rest are from 1942-D to 1958-D.

In the summer, I did some yard work with my uncle. Part of my payment was a Series 1969 $5 bill. It features the older design, which I rarely see nowadays.

Also, when I got change, after paying for dinner, I found a Series 1985 $1 bill. I almost mistook it for a new bill. It has wrinkles, but it is very crisp for its age.

I also found a few foreign coins as well. At the grocery store I saw a coin under a machine used to exchange coins for cash. When I picked it up, it was a 1966 Canadian nickel, the second one I’ve ever found.

Other finds included a 1982 Canadian cent and a 2007 Italian euro cent. The design on the euro cent features the Castel del Monte, an old castle located in Andria, Italy.

There are still all sorts of interesting coins and paper money out there, and it’s nice to write about them in “Coin Finds.”

James Caldwell
Tyler, Texas

I’ve been collecting coins since I was a young boy in the 1950s. I started with Lincoln cents.

In 2011, while I was showing my collection (which has expanded to nickels, dimes, quarters, etc.) to my three girls and their kids, I explained to them what a star note was and why they are printed. I had found several $1 notes, three $2 notes, and one $5 note over the years.

Later in 2011 one of my daughters gave me a new crisp $20 star note she had gotten from an ATM machine in Bend, Ore.

For Christmas, in 2011, my son-in-law gave me a $50 star note he had received at the bank when he cashed his paycheck.

My daughters have found several $1 star notes during the last year and find it exciting to look for them. Several of the grandchildren have started cent and nickel collections. They have some neat stories to share with grandpa now with their coin finds.

It has been fun to start them on the coin collecting trail and I hope they enjoy it as much as I have.

Gary Knudsen
Nauvoo, Ill.

Going through my weekly box of pennies, I found a 1909 in About Good and I thought, oh well, it’s just another old penny. I flipped it over and there it was, the V.D.B. I now have six.

Kaye Munshower
Wayne, Pa.

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Golden in my memory are those halcyon times in the early 1960s looking through bank rolls while sipping an Orange Crush soda in my grandfather’s cafe in a small Mississippi town and finding cents in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. In this manner, as well as searching full bank bags of cents after school, I put together a nearly complete set of Lincolns and a complete set of Jeffersons, including a 1913-D cent in Extremely Fine, 1931-S Fine and a 1914-D Very Good cent (altered from a 1944-D). I enjoy showing the last of these to collectors as being a real 1914-D, then I would show them my real deal.

Other finds included an EF 1939-D Jefferson, 1938-D half and a 1932-D quarter in Good.

Back in pre-1965, although the possibility of finding a 1909-S or -S V.D.B., 1914-D, 1922 “no-D,” 1931-S, and 1955 doubled-die Lincoln was a hope and a prayer, some were still out there. Today it takes a similar prayerful hope, but it is possible to find valuable Memorial cents like the 1960-D/D large/small date; 1969-S doubled-die obverse, 1972 doubled-die obverse, 1983 and 1984 doubled dies, 1992-D “close AM” and 1999 “wide AM.”

While I have not found any of these rarities, I have discovered that other great finds are still out there, including putting together complete sets with About Uncirculated and Brilliant Uncirculated coins of the current series.

In the 1960s, any 10 rolls of cents would yield a few Lincolns all the way back to their first year of issue, 1909, and even the occasional 70- or 80-year-old Indian Head. Today, in any 10 bank rolls I am finding the occasional 60- or 70-year-old wheat cent, as well as beautiful, near full blazing mint-state Lincoln Memorials all the way back to 1959, their first year of issue.

A 1965 cent is “older” today than was a 1915 cent in 1960, as is a wheatie from the 1950s or 1940s as old as an 1890s Indian Head in the 1960s.

And while in the 1960s the occasional Liberty Head nickel or Barber dime 60 or 70 years old turned up, so today do I find 60- or 70-year-old nickels back to 1938 (including a very nice 1938-D Jefferson in strong EF), and frequent Jeffersons in the 1990s with beautiful golden toning.

Give it a try and create your own collecting memories, along with the special pride and enjoyment in completing a nice set from circulation that simply does not exist with a collection of coins you have bought.

G. Monroe
Address withheld

Before retirement, my work took me all over the world for extended periods of time. To pass the time, I would try to collect local coins by getting as many as I could and making a collection.

In 1975, I spent about three months in Germany. This was quite a challenge since Germany, at that time, had four mints.

I could get the higher denomination coins in restaurants, stores and change machines. The one- and two-pfennig coins were hard to come by since they were only given out in grocery store, which I seldom frequented.

One day, sitting at a bar and having a beer, I saw the cash register loaded with the copper-colored coins. I asked the proprietor if I could look through them and buy what I needed. His reply was that he would not sell me the coins, but would give them to me if I promised to dump them in the Atlantic on my way home.

Of course, I agreed and ended up with a bag full of copper. I looked through the coins and ended up with a fairly comprehensive collection of all four mints. Unfortunately, the airplane windows would not open so that I could not dump the remainder of the coins. I still have them in the original brown bag.

Ray Korzonas
Homer Glen, Ill.

After the passing of my mother-in-law in 2011, my wife and her brother were sorting through the many things remaining.

Previously, her mother, Lena Murrow, had shown me a gold $5 piece she had received as a young girl and had kept all these years. I told my wife, after being asked if there was anything I felt emotional about keeping, that the only thing I could think I would like to have and eventually pass along to our children and subsequent grandchildren was the gold $5 piece.

All of us looked high and low for that piece and never found it, surmising it had been stolen along with other jewelry and pieces by agency reps that had been sent to help her during a recent illness. But to our surprise, we discovered a small royal blue drawstring pouch put away with other personal collectibles deep in a dresser drawer.

Inside the pouch was an 1847 one-cent piece and an 1865 two-cent piece. Both were heavily worn, but the full dates were visible.

I only estimate that they were Good to Very Good and valued around $20 or so each, but worth much more to us as keepsakes.

Neither my wife or her brother can ever remember seeing either of the coins and had no idea they were there. My father-in-law, Lou Murrow, who passed away in 1999, had been a Western Union messenger boy in Louisville on his bicycle in the late 1920s or early 1930s and we can only guess that he got them back then and held onto them.

There’s no way to substantiate exactly where they came from now, but I know where they’re going—eventually to Lou’s grandchildren and hopefully on to his great grandchildren.

Larry McCoskey
Louisville, Ky.

I read “Coin Finds” all the time and have been going to write, but never did until now. My find was not from bank rolls or change from a purchase, and it happened quite a few years ago.

My son needed a rear seat for his Chevy Nova, so I went to a local salvage yard to see what they had. I asked a worker there if he knew if there was a car similar to what I needed and he didn’t know, but I could look for myself. If I found one, it would be $5.

It didn’t take long to find what I wanted. I took the seat out and saw quite a bit of change on the floor, so I scooped up what looked like $2 worth. I paid the guy and left.

Being a coin collector for years (since 1962), I got home and the first order of business was to look at the change. One of the Lincoln cents was of all things a 1909-S V.D.B. Needless to say, it was worth the $5 I paid for the seat.

I already had this coin in Fine condition. The coin I found was in EF.

A few weeks after, I sold the coin in F condition.

Name and address withheld

“Coin Finds” letters wanted!

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