US Coins

Searching strategies

A bank employee asked the author if he wanted a roll of half dollars the bank had just received, after learning of the author’s interests. Both the 1940-S and 1942-D Walking Liberty half dollars shown above and at right were found in that roll.

Images courtesy of Bill O'Rourke.

I often get emails from potentially new roll searchers telling me that it is difficult for them to obtain rolled coins from their local banks.

Getting coins to play with should be fun and easy. The following two questions, accompanied by my thoughts, may help you do just that.

(1) Does your bank or credit union know why you are asking them for rolled coins?

Some of you tell me that you have never shared with the management of your local financial institution the fact that you are a roll searcher.

Some also tell me that you have never expressed to anyone on the bank’s staff that you would like to look through coin rolls as a way to add, in a fun and relaxing way, collectible coins to your numismatic collection.

I understand the reluctance to share this information with the bank since, by nature, roll searchers can be very secretive people.

But I am here to tell you that if you let the bank’s staff know what you are up to, they actually become more open to the idea that they can be of service to you.

If you are not a business customer, they have already probably guessed that you are a coin collector, so why not confess and tell them in the first place?

Believe me, it can really make a difference.

(2) Do you bring your coins back to the same bank when you are done looking through them?

Some banks don’t mind you returning rolled coins to them once you’ve completed your hunt for hidden treasures.

However, other banks view the departure and subsequent return of the same coins as a bit of a nuisance. Here is the reason why:

Banks have to order coins based on their needs and the needs of their business customers. Maintaining a coin inventory costs the bank money, and roll searchers who take out and then bring back coins — sometimes large amounts of rolled coins — can foul up their systems and increase their costs of doing business.

If you can, set up accounts at several banks so that you can pick up coins from “Bank A” and deposit them at “Bank B.” Using this technique, you may find that you will have an easier time obtaining rolled coins.

Since I moved recently, I had to open new accounts at banks in my area.

While doing so I openly shared that I am a roll searcher. I also let the bank’s staff know that I am a nut for half dollar coins.

As I was transacting business, they asked me if I wanted a roll of half dollars that just came in.

Of course, I said yes!

Bingo! Two Walking Liberty half dollars became mine — a 1940-S coin and a 1942-D half dollar.

Bill O’Rourke is a collector who has spent the past several years searching coin rolls in pursuit of his hobby.

Community Comments