- Coin roll hunting
Coin roll hunting (often abbreviated "CRH") is the hobby of searching change pulled from circulation for collectible coins. The serious hobbyist usually obtains his coins from banks in the form of rolled coins.
Coin roll hunters obtain—in the U.S., rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and sometimes dollars. Hunters open the rolls and search for old or collectible coins to save for a collection or to sell for profit.
Prime targets of American coin roll hunters are silver dimes and quarters made before 1965, 90% silver half dollars from 1964 and earlier, and 40% silver half dollars from 1965-1970. Nickels are searched for silver "war nickels" (1942–1945) and older discontinued designs such as the Buffalo and "V" Nickel. Pennies are searched for wheat cents (1909–1958) and the rare Indian Head cent (1859–1909). Some penny searchers save copper Lincoln Memorial cents (1959–1982), for the growing value as copper bullion. An occasional dime can also be found in penny rolls, giving the collector an instant bonus. Often coin roll hunters also collect special proof coins, exonumia, and coins from other nations.
Merits as a means of making money
The merits of coin roll hunting as a means of making money are hotly debated. It is not uncommon for coin roll hunters to search through multiple boxes of coins only to find nothing of value. The amount of silver left in circulation is constantly dwindling. Many seasoned veterans of coin roll hunting have commented that in the long run they would have been better off just buying the silver coins they have found as it would have been cheaper and easier once the cost of their time has been factored in. The expected return from coin roll hunting also varies based on what denomination is searched. US quarters and dimes tend to produce the worst as most of the silver from these denominations has already been pulled from circulation. Pennies provide the best returns when collecting pre-82 copper pennies with the typical penny roll producing around 25% copper to 75% zinc pennies. However, the amount of profit from searching pennies is much lower due to the lower face value of the coin.
Tracking sorted coins
Some coin roll hunters mark, paint or deface coins in order to identify that a batch of coins has been searched. If any of that hunter's mark (or the marks of other hunters) are found in a supply of coins, this is an indicator that said batch has already been searched. However, given the large amounts of coin circulating in the United States, marking searched coins is unlikely to be effective unless done on a large scale. Furthermore, it is often considered bad etiquette in the coin roll hunting community to deface coins with marks since the marked coins may be of some collecting value to other people. Defacing of coins is also illegal in some countries, such as Canada.
Hobby Communication & Organization
While many coin roll hunters may be members of mainline coin clubs, there are no organizations for coin roll hunting.
Some bank employees are not happy with coin roll hunters, and may use tactics to discourage coin roll hunting. Some banks charge handling fees to deposit or withdraw large amounts of coins. Banks are commonly charged processing fees by coin delivery services, and these charges are passed on to customers who handle large amounts of coin. Also some bank tellers are noted for being very rude to coin roll hunters, though this tends to vary from venue to venue. Bank employees have also been known to search through coins themselves between the time it is received by the bank and the time it is issued to the customer.
Another tactic banks use to deter the expense of handling large coin deposits is to require that coins for deposit be rolled in paper first. Additionally, they may require the depositor's account number to be written on each roll.
Coin roll hunters have responded to such tactics by using alternate means of returning rejects. Many have turned to self-service coin counting machines in bank lobbies, a service highly appreciated by coin roll hunters. Some use CoinStar or CoinMaster machines to process coins for a 8.9% fee (although "free" options also exist in the form of gift cards and eCertificates). Others spend rolls of coins in everyday transactions.
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