Coin Roll Hunting: How to Find Collectible Coins in Circulation

Coin Roll Hunting Tips

There are many different ways you can go treasure hunting, and today I wanted to share a little bit about coin roll hunting. This can be a fun and easy way to find collectible coins still in circulation.

If you’re interested in getting started with coin collecting but don’t have a huge budget, coinroll hunting lets you get started with practically zero investment.

What is Coin Roll Hunting?

Coin roll hunting is the process of searching through rolls of coins still in circulation in hopes of finding rare or collectible coins.

Searching through rolls of coins is a fun and easy way to find collectible coins, most notably half dollars, wheat pennies, silver quarters and error coins.

The nice thing about this is you will only ever pay face value for the coins that are still in circulation.

If you go to a bank and ask for 10 rolls of pennies, it’s only going to cost you $5…and you can always trade those pennies back in for the five dollars in cash, or just spend the pennies like you would spend any kind of money at the store.

Where Do You Get Rolls of Coins?

You can get coin rolls from almost any bank. It makes sense to start at the local branches where you have an account. Some banks are friendlier than others towards coin collectors.

If you really love this hobby, you can also always open up accounts at multiple banks. This gives you more options to choose from, but there’s not really any specific strategy, like “buy your coins at XYZ bank on Tuesdays”.

I suppose you could try to trace patterns like that, but it’d probably drive you crazy. You’re better off thinking of it as a free way to play the lottery. You never lose more than you spend, but you might find something good!

You can also buy rolls of coins from a dealer online. Some people have had success with this, but other people are a little wary of whether it’s really worth the time or not.

How do you know if a coin roll is really “unsearched” and why on earth would anybody who collects coins sell them if they didn’t search them first?

Either way, getting coins in circulation is pretty easy to do. You can buy a single roll, you can buy a whole box. If you’re embarrassed about buying rolls of coins, just tell them you are volunteering to run the church’s bake sale Sunday morning or going to the flea market or need to do laundry.

Are Circulated Coins Valuable?

The only downfall of coin roll hunting is the coins are technically circulated. This means the coins are being used every single day by banks, stores, shoppers, etc.

Obviously, mint condition coins and uncirculated coins are going to be worth a lot more than coins that are all beat up from jingling around in someone’s pocket all day long.

Where it can be useful however is if you search for coins that are relatively rare yet still common. Coin roll hunting is especially popular with penny collectors like myself because even if you find a wheat penny, it’s still worth 1-3 cents and it’s just fun and relaxing.

Another advantage to coin roll hunting is you can sometimes quite often find error coins. In today’s world of automation, not too many machines are able to spot errors or even sort the coins by mint or year.

Coins that weigh what they are supposed to weigh and aren’t significantly damaged always end up back in circulation.

My favorite thing about searching coin rolls is it doesn’t really take up that much time, and it’s relaxing to do. You don’t really have to have any special skills, just a willingness to look at things and do a little research.

how to start coin roll hunting

How to Find Rare Coins While Coin Roll Hunting

I have had some success searching through coin rolls, but I think a lot of that success comes from knowing what I want to find and what I’m looking for.

Step 1: Research the Coins You Want to Look For

Before you start looking through rolls of coins, it’s very helpful to research the types of things you personally find interesting and want to collect.

There are all sorts of different coins in circulation, even if they aren’t ones we necessarily use all that often. You can get dollar coins and half dollar pretty easily at almost any bank.

Most coin roll hunters stick with specific types of coins that interest them. For example, let’s say you want to look for error coins. Do you want to search pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters for errors?

If you want to find error coins, getting a good guide on the subject is essential. There’s a LOT to learn and it’s easy to miss some of the most valuable coins that are still in circulation.

The book Getting Rich With Pocket Change is a must read for anybody who likes to search for error coins!

I personally like to get rolls of quarters and pennies. These are my two favorite kinds of everyday circulated coins to collect.

I love looking through them for different error coins, as well as different variations and older coins that are worth more than face value.


Step 2: Start Searching

Searching is the fun part! Every coin collector has a different method of searching.

I like to carefully open up the rolls onto a soft surface that won’t scratch or dent them and look at the coins underneath my USB microscope camera.

I can’t recommend getting a digital microscope for coin collecting enough. Seriously, it is life-changing!

You will be able to see all your favorite coins easily for the first time ever…and since it plugs right into your laptop or computer you can even enjoy searching for stuff while you look at the same time.

When I search my penny coin rolls, I usually start with the basics of sorting into piles by date. Quarters I usually sort in “before 1964”, “normal quarters” and “state quarters”.

Quarters aren’t as easy for me to sort as pennies because there are so many different ones, but I enjoy it all the same!

This helps me streamline the research process a bit if I notice anything and know I’m looking for specific years. Everybody is different though, so I encourage you to do what you enjoy and works best for you!


Step 3: Organize & Keep Good Records

If you haven’t already started organizing your coin collection, you’ll definitely want to invest in some sort of decent way to store and protect the coins you find while searching the rolls.

What good is a collectible coin if you don’t know where it is and can’t find it later? Coin flips are an easy way to keep them labeled and together without taking up too much space.

I like to place the coin flips in these 2×2 pocket page protectors in a binder. Makes it super easy to move everything easily and keep it all organized. Best of all, standard 3-ring binders fit perfectly on my office book shelves!

Not all coins you will find will be ones you want to keep, so after awhile you’ll want to trade them in for either more coin rolls to search through or deposit them into the bank. 

It’s also a VERY good idea to have paper coin wrappers on hand so you can easily turn them back in.

Lastly, I like to keep a record of everything I find and everything I’m looking for. If you don’t already have a good record keeping system in place, at the very least you should download my free coin collecting tracker printable!

It’s super quick and simple way to keep track of what coins you find and where!


Coin roll hunting can be a fun way to find collectible coins in circulation. Finding collectible coins in circulation is easier than you might think!

Knowing what you’re looking for can help you sort and organize the coins you search. It can also help you quickly be able to spot errors and other things of interest.

Want to spot all the best error coins? Don’t forget to read Getting Rich With Pocket Change – it seriously will change the way you look at every coin you come in contact with!


I hope this post is helpful for you – and of course if you have any tips for coin roll hunting, share your best secrets for searching rolls of coins with us in the comments section below! What do you collect? What do you look for when you search coin rolls?

1 thought on “Coin Roll Hunting: How to Find Collectible Coins in Circulation”

  1. You made a good point that trading is also a viable way to get some value off of unwanted coins in a collection. Three years ago, I inherited my grandfather’s coin collection and it fascinated me enough that I wanted to continue collecting on his behalf. I hope that I can find a coin collection dealer in my local area so that I wouldn’t need to travel far to get some good transactions.

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