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Treasures in Your Pocket Change

Writer and Photographer - Life is there for experiencing, which I live each and every day to do!

You may have a treasure hiding in your pocket change! It only takes a moment to find out...


Treasures in your pocket change??

Pocket weighing you down? Or could there be a treasure hiding in your pants! You will never know until you take the time to get up close and personal with that change investigate it! Did you know that on average I find two or three keeper coins a week? How? Why? Well I take the time!

Many years ago I remember my beloved Grandfather, who had kept containers of his pocket change in an old, tall, well worn, black canister that was pushed back corner of his closet... I remember him emptying out his pockets onto a tray in his dresser, poking through the coins and picking out one here and there. He would then dig that treasured canister from the back of the closet and drop in his days finds to store with the other coins that he had collected through the decades.

To a small child watching him, I recall his ritual being magical. When I was a teenager it seemed like a waste of time... to me, as young adult I wanted to hold on to the minutes sitting with him as he did his dump, sort and drop. Now that he is gone I myself find my fingers sorting through my pocket change for those treasures that really do hide there and my very own daughter now perches on the edge of the bed, watching me, as I once watched my Grandfather.

Thank you Grandfather for teaching me, your memory lives on... and will carry on into the future...

Be sure to check the rims, you just never know when you will come across a 'clipped' coin

Be sure to check the rims, you just never know when you will come across a 'clipped' coin

Sort into face value piles

Sort into face value piles

Where to start... got a pocket in those pants??

Are you ready to undertake a real life treasure hunt?

When you are preparing to go through your pocket change, there are a few things that will help keep you on track such as:

  • A piece of paper to take notes on your finds (or small envelopes work great!)
  • A container for storing your collection
  • And most importantly a magnifying glass (the higher the power the better view you will get)

So what makes one coin more valuable than another? You have to take into account a few things, such as: the condition of the coin, it's age, any minting errors and how many coins were produced of that year and style (some years have multiple styles).

Here are a few steps to follow for beginners:

Step one: Sort the coins by face value -- Create a pile for your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies and toonies

Step two: Now put them year up in order of oldest to newest

Sort your coins - First into values and then into years

I always keep my 4x and 10x magnifying glasses close at hand... And the notebook where I have compiled "hot" coins to watch for...

I always keep my 4x and 10x magnifying glasses close at hand... And the notebook where I have compiled "hot" coins to watch for...


Now that you have some order to your coins you are ready to get going!

Step three: I always start with the lowest denomination (pennies) -- Pull out all of the coins that are 1969 or older -- these will most likely be worth more than their face value, unless they are in really rough shape

Step four: Next seek out coins that just "don't look normal' to your bare eye-- there is money out there in 'error coins', these are coins that contain errors at the time that they were made. Look slowly, and closely on both sides of the coin with your magnifier and don't forget the outer edge (aka: the rim).

Step five: Compare the 'maybe error' coins to coins of the same year using your magnifying glass to compare

Step six: Find a website that tells you how many coins were minted in that year -- I keep anything that has less than 30 million minted (is is not abnormal to have over 100,000,000 minted in one year!)

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Step seven: Pull out any coins that appear to be in excellent condition (they may not be worth much now, but can gain value very quickly)

Step eight: Find the values of the coins you pulled aside and spend the rest. Personally I find searching the sold listings on EBay to be a great asset!

What to toss...

There are a few coins, that no matter how unique or low mint they may be I toss them into the spend pile and keep on trucking. So which coins do I completely disregard? Anything that has corrosion is gone first. One thing I don't want is to have them contaminating my 'good' coins like an infectious virus. Second would be non-silver coins of great damage and wear. Odds are they the would only be worth their metal value, and if the metal value is worth less than the coins denomination it can go!

Magnifiers - That will make coin hunting easy

Coin hunting requires a very little investment equipment and tools. It is very important to have a really good magnifying glass, personally I have two that I use, one is a basic 4x's magnification that helps me quickly see if there is an obvious error and the other is my 10x magnifier. The 10x really gets you up close and personal to your coin and will allow you to see any errors that the coin has! Error coins are valuable and can easily be worth at least twice their face value!

Finding out the details and values of your coins is easy!

It is a very easy to do an internet search for general information on your coin(s), including on how many coins were minted in a particular year and to see if there are 'common' minting errors. After investing quite a bit of time myself doing research I jotted down a list of coins that I wanted to watch for, you can call it my 'wish list'. Such as coins that have value in the metal, low mint years and ones that have valuable errors.

An example of what I'm looking for includes:

  1. 1990 Canadian minting error: bare belly beaver nickel (the hair is missing from the abdomen). Thus far I have a half a dozen of these half-naked characters!
  2. 1991 Canadian quarter, which had an extremely low mint, making them valuable. In my collection I only have one that I found in my pocket change
  3. 2014 Canadian minting error: bare-back beaver, kind of the flip side of the bare belly. Being a fairly new error out there I am still on the hunt to find my first one

Looking to other recourses ~ like coin retailers can make looking up details and values of your coins easy! Try -- loads of great stuff all over their website!


Most of the time

You will end up coming out will a little more 'change' than you started with...

In the pocket change that I sorted today (from my purse and my husbands pants) I lucked out! There were 57 coins in total and I located four that were worth keeping! There was a 2006 nickel that was missing the mint mark (in 2006 nickels were minted with two different marks), but there were a few that went through with no mint mark!). Then there was a 2006 dime that had an error on the rim. Plus two quarters (rare finds now a days) that were worth keeping: a 1968 quarter that is in pretty good condition and could easily be worth three times it to be worth about three time the face value and a 1969 that is worth about twice the face value, in the fair condition that I found it in!

Sometimes you find nothing, and at other times you may just luck out and fine a single coin that is worth more than the entire handful of change that you are sorting! It can happen, and it does!

Store your coins - Easy, simple and organized

When I first started collecting coins I used to store them in a Tupperware container... Little did I know that I was very likely decreasing the value of my collection! Coins of any value should be stored in a manor that preserves them in their current state.

If you allow your coins to be exposed to moisture or abrasive agents, their value can easily drop! Even just rubbing against each other they can loose vale. If you use the tried, tested and true method of storing them in coin folds that are kept in coin page protectors in an album, they will be much safer... Plus, you will easily be able to organize them and view your collection with ease!

A little coin, found in your pocket could be the start of an investment!


What do you think....

Pocket change treasures are great! How about coins as an investment? After I started out with pocket changed, I moved into what is know as 'Large Cents' -- fasc

  • Large Cent Coin Collecting
    Most people think about investing in their futures by saving and investing in stocks, bonds or RRSP's. How about considering something that is proven to increase in value through the decades in coins?

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2014 Lou Cannon

What treasure have you found in your pocket change??

moonlake from America on January 19, 2016:

I don't pay much attention to my coins. My husband always did. He collected a few coins but wasn't in it real strong. I found some dimes a few weeks ago and one dime was strange so I set it aside to look at later. After I did that I heard a news report on the dime that sold for lots of money. I thought I better find that funny looking dime. Of course, I can't find it and have forgotten where I put it.

asereht1970 from Philippines on May 26, 2014:

I also keep old coins for souvenir. Great lens.

norma-holt on May 26, 2014:

The men in my family used to keep change in their rooms but I don't think they did it for the reason you state. I keep a jar of coins in the kitchen cupboard for emergencies. Nice lens and well done topic.

AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on May 23, 2014:

Great lens.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on May 19, 2014:

What an interesting hobby! I also recall my late father collecting so many coins in his wooden box.

Nurse32 on May 12, 2014:

Wow! Very interesting lens! I'm going to go sort my change now...

Lou Cannon (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2014:

@Coreena Jolene: Any 1960 quarters are a rare find these days! Great job!!!

Lou Cannon (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2014:

@Lady Lorelei: The internet is a great source of information -- but for me, and some of my other coin crazy friends... A trusted book that you know and your fav mag. glass can not compare :)

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 06, 2014:

There really are so many coins with slight flaws during their minting or other issues that increase their value. Knowing what to look for in a rare coin can net a person some super nice extra pocket change. Good advice to get a good book, a magnifying glass, and to check those coins.

Coreena Jolene on May 05, 2014:

I too found a 1968 Canadian quarter among my change the other day, and was very excited to see it. I love traditions that are shown and handed down through the family. What a great tradition to have handed down to you (and myself as well).

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