“Coin roll hunting” is the act of acquiring rolls of coins through banks/credit unions and going through the contents in hunt of rare/valuable coins. Coin roll hunting for silver used to be very lucrative, although these days it is slim pickings. Even up until a few years ago I could occasionally luck out getting silver half dollars at the bank. In a way, coin roll hunting is the closest thing to an irl “unlimited money glitch” out there. The cost to procure the coin rolls is face value, and the potential to score a rare coin worth anywhere from a couple of bucks to thousands is there, BUT it is a major time sink.

And although coin roll hunting is such a time sink, that is part of the appeal to me. Sorting through a massive amount of coins brings the same therapeutic benefits as doing a puzzle while simultaneously scratching the same itch as busting open a pack of trading cards. It’s a good way to just space out and put things in their place, and there’s a sense of excitement whenever you do manage to pull a cool coin.

With silver coin roll hunting feel mostly dead, I got back into the hobby by procuring $25 dollar boxes of pennies, diligently sorting through for any copper pennies or anything rare and unusual.

Sample Survey

Below is how some of my various hunts went, there are many more I haven't bothered to catalogue but the statistics here seem to serve as a good benchmark for what others can expect. Of course there are varying factors, such as where you are hunting (north east will typically have an older supply of coins in circulation) as well as if you're searching through customer rolls vs Brinks/Loomis rolls.

Round 1: 10/03 - 10/13

Date Rolls Total Coins Copper* % Copper* Wheaties % Wheaties Oldest Canadian
10/03/23 21 1050 130 12.38% 4 0.38% 1937 2
10/04/23 50 2500 372 14.88% 17 0.68% 1942 2
10/06/23 20 1000 125 12.5% 4 0.4% 1929 4
10/10/23 50 2500 453 18.12% 22 0.88% 1923 5
10/13/23 10 500 52 10.4% 3 0.6% 1926 2
Total/Average 151 7550 1132 15.03% 50 0.84% 1923 15
*Wheat pennies included in total copper count

[Left] - This counter-stamped, copper stripped penny is the most unique coin I have found thusfar
[Center] - A JFK counter-stamp, these used to be offered via mail-in catalogues
[Right] - I call this one the "prayer penny"

Round 2: 10/16 - 12/21

Date Rolls Total Coins Copper* % Copper* Wheaties % Wheaties Oldest Canadian
10/16/23 14 700 36 5.14% 1 0.14% 1948 1
10/24/23 20 1000 125 12.5% 3 0.3% 1942 2
11/07/23 58 2900 379 13.07% 12 0.41% 1942 2
12/21/23 100 5000 670 13.40% 22 0.44% 1936 11
Total/Average 192 9700 1210 11.27% 38 0.32% 1936 16
*Wheat pennies included in total copper count


Date Rolls Total Coins Copper* % Copper* Wheaties % Wheaties Oldest Canadian
Total/Average 343 17250 2342 13.15% 88 0.58% 1926 31
*Wheat pennies included in total copper count

How do you get rid of the common pennies?

You may be asking, what does one do with all the leftover pennies (aka the ones only worth face value)? There are a few options available, depending on how much time you want to spend on this. You could re-roll the pennies and deposit them at another bank or slowly spend them, but it is a lengthy process. What I have found works best is to deposit them to a Coinstar machine, but DO NOT choose the cash receipt option, as they will take around 10%-15% of the deposited amount. Your best bet is to opt-in to exchanging them for a gift card, as they do not deduct from that total. It took me a while, but I finally found one with an Amazon gift card option at Winn-Dixie. The other ones I tried to use only offered gift cards for a select few restaurants and specialty stores.

2023-P: A New Penny Error Discovered

This current hunt has yielded some annoying obstacles, but they were inevitable. The most recent $25 box of pennies I acquired only had 14 rolls that weren't brand new (2023 pennies). In any other year, I'd be trying to unload these brand new rolls; however, the 2023 Philadelphia mint pennies pose a rare opportunity. Recently, a new error variety was discovered, dubbed 'the extra V' variety by the numismatic community. There are three versions of this error with varying degrees of rarity. So when it comes to these 2023 rolls, I have two options: either go through them myself in search of the error, or keep them rolled as is in hopes that the rolls will carry a premium as people wish to hunt for the error years later. I'm still unsure which I will do, but for now, I'm just going to hold onto them and think on it.

2024: The 2-cent Bastard

I just wanted to take the time to tell a recent story you the reader may find humorous, but I find personally aggravating. So far 2024 has been a difficult year for me in terms of hunting rolls of pennies. The last few times I have gone to my bank’s branches in the area, fresh rolls have been in short supply. Instead of getting $25 boxes of pennies, I’ve been lucky to get up to $10 in loose rolls. My work schedule changed recently so I suspect I might just be getting in to the banks between shipments of coins.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is some fucking nimrod whom I have dubbed “The 2-cent Bastard” that has been ruining the entire hobby for me. At the bank closest to me, some other guy not only beats me to clearing them out of fresh penny rolls, but he has the fucking audacity to then return what he’s sorted through and short the rolls by 2 cents each. When I realized that these rolls were already sorted through I tried returning them to my “dump bank” only for the uptight teller to bust my balls about these rolls being short. The 2-cent Bastard tapes up all his rolls, so I can’t just slide in the missing pennies, I’d have to bust it open, destroy the rapper, and re-roll. It’s aggravating as all hell. Now I have had to recruit my roommate to go to his bank and get fresh boxes of pennies for me.