Coin roll hunting

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Coin roll hunting (often abbreviated "CRH") is the hobby of searching and sorting coinage pulled from circulation for collectible coins. This is achieved through obtaining rolled coin, boxed coin, or bagged coin from banks and credit unions. In the United States, coin roll hunters obtain rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and sometimes dollar coins.

Coin Roll Hunting in the United States[edit]

Prime targets of American coin roll hunters are silver dimes and quarters prior to 1965, 90% silver half dollars from 1964 and earlier, and 40% silver half dollars from 1965-1970. Nickels are searched for 35% silver "war nickels" (1942–1945) older discontinued designs such as the Buffalo and "V" Nickel are also collected. Pennies are searched for wheat cents (1909–1958) and Indian Head cents from 1859–1909. Some penny roll searchers save copper Lincoln cents (1959–1982 for part of the year) 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. Others attempt to find and complete a set of coins, like the America the Beautiful Quarters or 50 State Quarters.

Coin Roll Hunting in Canada[edit]

As silver coins are often pulled out by the Canadian Government, pre-1982 Nickels have become a huge target due to its pure nickel composition and its value that exceeds the nickel's face value. Pre-1997[1] pennies were also pulled out of circulation due to their copper high metal value prior to the removal of pennies from circulation.[2] Other roll hunters attempt to build sets of special quarters, loonies, and toonies.

Merits as a means of making money[edit]

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. Cents provide the best returns when collecting pre-1982 copper cents with the typical cent roll producing around 20% copper to 80% zinc cents.[3] However, the amount of profit from searching cents is much lower due to the lower face value of the coin. When the US dollar is higher than the Canadian dollar, CRH enthusiasts often pull all the American coins to exchange or spend in the USA.

In the United States, it is illegal to melt down cents and nickels, so they cannot be legally redeemed for their metal content.[4]

Tracking sorted coins[edit]

Some coin roll hunters mark, paint or deface coins in order to identify that a batch of coins has been searched. This action is often frowned upon, however. 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. In the United States countermarking (aka counter stamping) of coins is legal under 18 USC Section 331 provided it is not done for the intent of committing fraud. This is also the legal basis for elongated pennies and/or penny smashing machines.

Hobby Communication & Organization[edit]

While many coin roll hunters may be members of mainline coin clubs, there are no organizations for coin roll hunting. Several large sites on the internet that is focused on CRH are treasurenet, cointalk and, which all have active forums for CRH'er to talk and exchange ideas and results.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Eliminating the Penny". 29 March 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-04-18. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Pennies in Circulation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-02-15. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ Penny Hoarders Hope For The Day The Penny Dies : NPR