Silver Diving Part II: The $500 Half Dollar Experiment

I’m at it again!! Round two of looking for silver in coin rolls :) Only this time I’m raising the stakes a bit and trying a new route. ‘Cuz if you recall from my last shot at this, I failed pretty miserably, haha… But who knew coins from 50 years ago wouldn’t be in circulation anymore? Especially those worth 10x-40x their value? ;)

Yup, last time we tried searching through $40+ worth of quarters, dimes and nickels for this elusive silver metal content (coins minted before 1965, except for nickels which are in the 1942 – 1945 range), and when the hour was over I swore I wouldn’t do it again. I had a major headache and I lost interest after scouring my first hundred coins…

But now, 3 months later, and after working on filling all my Whitman blue books of modern coins (to help me learn more and appreciate the “sport” of coin collecting), I’ve gotten MUCH better at sorting and now I even enjoy it! Imagine that?

Here’s what my new Friday nights now consist of, haha:

coin collecting rolls and beer
Anyways, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a TON over the months, and now I want to take it a step further and see what happens if I go after bigger, more easily found (in my opinion) silver coins instead. I’ve probably searched through another $300 worth of quarters/dimes/nickels since my first go at it too – mainly to fill up those books, not look for silver – and it’s safe to say the odds are extremely against you. I have literally found only TWO coins made of silver the entire time, and they were both nickels worth about $2 each. So all those hours spent clearly don’t equate to the $4 of profit. Or really the $3.50 if you were to “cash it in” at a pawn broker/coin dealer.

So how do you do it bigger? You go after larger denominations of coins! In bigger chunks! :)

One day I saw rolls of half dollars for sale on eBay – which is funny cuz it’s like you’re paying money for MONEY – and people were marketing ’em out as “un-searched rolls with the possibility of finding silver” in them. And of course marking up the costs from $10.00 a roll (which is what each one is inherently worth), to $12.50-$15.00. A nice little premium for the chance of finding something worth $8-$15/ea. (depending on silver content), or even better – a rare coin worth more by collectors.

Against my better judgement I bought two rolls at $12.50 a pop + shipping just to see what the deal was. And while I didn’t find anything spectacular (big shock), the adrenaline rush I got made up for it. Somewhat similar to when I used to pick up lottery tickets all the time, only in this case I was left with a pile of coins in the end instead of nothing ;) And again, since I was now collecting all the dates of modern coins anyways, I needed to start searching for them in order to complete my collection.

Where To Get Boxes of Half Dollar Rolls

And then I got to thinking…. Where are these guys finding all these half dollar rolls? Not at their banks right? ‘Cuz every time I ask for half dollars or silver dollars or whatever (while picking up my $2 bills, of course), they rarely have any. Especially during the holidays ‘cuz everyone picks them up for stocking stuffers!! A great idea, btw ;)

So the next time I went to my bank, I just flat out asked if I could get a roll of half dollars, knowing they’ll say no. And that they didn’t have any. And sure enough that happened. Only THIS time I asked if I could *order* any from them? Thinking maybe that will do the trick? And yet again I got shot down.

“Sorry, we don’t order them for customers anymore. Everyone kept getting them to search for silver, and then cashing them back in our coin machine and costing us money! So now there’s a company wide policy that only business account holders can order them.”

“Woahhh… what a great idea, I hadn’t even though of that! (Lie) People are crazy…. (truth). But actually, I *do* happen to run my business accounts through you all, and would love to pick up a few rolls for it. Can you hook me up?”

“Oh, that’s right – sorry. Well, we only do them in $500 batches I’m afraid as the orders come in boxes of 50 rolls each. You probably don’t want that… (Goes to help the next customer in line…)”

“Wait! That’s fine! I can actually use a lot of them for my flea marketing business I’ve started (90% lie, and 10% truth. I will be setting up shop at my fave flea market, but that doesn’t start until the Spring and I surely don’t need hundreds of half dollars for it). Order me a box!”

“Ummm… okay sure. Come back next Thursday and it’ll be here waiting for you. (Leaves with a confused look on his face…)”

“I love you!” (Okay, I didn’t really say that but I wanted to.)

And that, my friends, is how you get your hands on some half-dollar rolls ;) Not that I necessarily wanted 1,000 coins for my next silver test, haha, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. And again – it’s still REAL money so I can use it/cash them in anytime! Just not at *my* bank, obviously, for fear of  drawing suspicion and ruining my hook up ;)

And sure enough, after the two weeks passed, I went in and grabbed my new (deceptively heavy) box of 50 un-searched wrapped half dollars! Which is currently on my counter right now looking like this:

half dollar rolls

And before, this – when I was trying to be clever:

clever coin pictures

And now we unwrap! First searching for any halves made before 1970 (those under ’64 are mostly silver, while those between ’64 and ’70 are silver clad), and then concurrently for missing years in my Kennedy books. It’s safe to say that after this huge undertaking that we’ll know once and for all if it’s worth pursuing or not ;) At least until the next cockamaimy experiment…

And if you REALLY wanted to, you could order up a box and then sell them individually on eBay too – just like those others are doing! It takes a butt-load of time and patience, but you’d be guaranteed at least 25% in profit as there’s no shortage of buyers out there… For what it’s worth. (Too much for me)

What do you think of all this? Fun? Stupid? How many do you guess I’ll find? I’m 0 for 2 so far from my eBay purchases, but we’ve got 50 new ones to go now and I’m anxious to start. WISH ME LUCK! :) Praying it doesn’t do as poorly as my $100 Lottery Ticket Experiment from back in the day, haha… I’ll keep ya updated no matter what. It might take a while though…

UPDATE: Click here to see what I found :)

UPDATE 2: I now have a coin blog! Check out all my latest adventures here:

PS: You know what would be funnier than dropping them into a coin machine later? Buying groceries with them ;) Can you imagine the look on the cashiers’ face when you hand over 200+ coins?

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  1. December 17, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    My dad has also recently started collecting money (although he’s more on the paper money side of thing…) and I helped him search through his coins last time I was home. I went through almost $1,000 in half dollars and nothing! I think the bank is onto something; so many people have done this now that we just kept getting already marked rolls, because that’s what’s left in circulation. I hope your search goes better than ours did!

  2. Jeremy December 17, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    I liked this post; it was interesting. I don’t collect coins, but kept thinking that the best place to try and find old silver coins may be in regular people’s biggy banks. If you there were some way that you could buy the contents of folks biggy bank, possibily by paying them +5% more than the value of the contents, you’d likely find more older coins that have been out of circulations for years. Good luck.

    1. Robert January 31, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      What is a biggy bank? Did you mean piggy bank?

  3. Brian December 17, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    I used to search rolls. The trick was start a nice relationship with one bank to order the rolls and then deposit them at another bank. Rinse and repeat. I have since stopped because my success rate was basically zero (I ran into a couple other roll searchers in the area). From what I have heard, small banks in the middle of nowhere have higher success rates (less people looking) but even those are drying up. Good luck and I hope you find something good!

    I’m not trying to be a downer, I just know my neck of the woods is pretty much used up. the other problem with “junk” silver is storage. We leave more of it out than we should because the safe holds some of the more valuable items. I guess I could do what my grandfater did and seal them up, place them in a PVC pipe and bury then in the crawl space, but that’s a little too extreme for me!

  4. Brian December 17, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Oh also, if you really want to have a high success rate, search rolls of pennys and take out all the pre-1982 ones (they are actually copper). Of course you can’t melt pennys but hey someday you might be able to. They also are worth twice face value…

  5. Lance @ Money Life and More December 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    That’s pretty funny J! I think you can order $2 bills as well… they shouldn’t have any complaint against that.

  6. Anne @ Unique Gifter December 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    These are fascinating… I know zero about coin collecting. That said, the most appealing part of the first picture, to me, is the Pabst! Even that’s a stretch though, haha.

  7. tom December 17, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    I now put into question everything you write because you drink PBR from a can.

    Everyone knows that the only way to drink PBR is from a 40 in a brown paper bag.

    /shakes head in shame

    PS… being real now… These money hack experiments are a pretty cool deviation from normal PF content… keep them coming!

  8. David Hunter December 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Hurry up and un-roll those coins!!

    Well…. What did you find?? Hello? Are you there? **dial tone**

  9. Johnny @ Our Freaking Budget December 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I probably should have avoided reading this post.

    “And while I didn’t find anything spectacular (big shock), the adrenaline rush I got made up for it.”

    That same rush fueled my childhood/adolescent/young adult obsession with baseball cards. Methodically diving through a box of wrapped packs of cards to choose “the one” from the middle of the box, holding it in your hands and KNOWING this one had the Joe Schmoe rookie card, carefully peeling back the pressed edges, and diving in…

    And now you’ve given me an adult-version of that same adrenaline rush drug. Look forward to seeing the follow-up post. For my wife’s sake, I hope you don’t find anything. ;) Good luck.

  10. daveM December 17, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Where I live, the merchant going into the bank and asking for a roll of coin has to pay a fee. I have no idea if you are exposed to that but what I am thinking is that you could be the person that people get their coins from, they give you their excess coin in exchange for whatever they need and you have their coins to scan in return. You could offer to deliver their batch of coins in exchange for a lunch. LOL

  11. Christopher @ This that and the MBA December 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    My wifes brother goes to all the banks around where we live and takes out $400-500 and does the same thing you do. He has been doing it for a few years now and has found quite a few. He enjoys doing it and now at the bank they don’t think anything of it.

    As an aside…PBR??? I wouldn’t have pictured you as a PBR kinda guy.

  12. Talley December 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I have searched for silver in this exact method in the past. I would get a $500 box from my local credit union, sort through it, and then cash them back in for free at a local casino. I usually found silver in every case, usually in the form of 65-70 Kennedys, and an occasional 64. Never found anything older than that.

    1. mateen August 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      hey ,i have 50 old silver coins ,are u interested for colletion coins

      1. J. Money August 31, 2013 at 7:45 AM

        I’d be interested depending on what kinds they are exactly, and how much you’re asking :) I’ll shoot you an email.

  13. J. Money December 17, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Hah! I’m surprised to see so many comments here today – I honestly thought only a few of you would like this one ;) But hooray! – Oh wow, that’s no fun! I’m sure you’re right though – most banks know about it since it’s been going on for over 50 years, haha, but I guess we just pray for those who don’t so our odds get better :)
    @Jeremy – Yeah, there you go! Especially those who have been collecting for yearrrrrrrs too. And who are probably too lazy to go in and cash them all out because it would take forever and/or they don’t know exactly how at least for free :) But if I stopped by and gave them 5% more to do it all FOR them? Shoooot… I’d take that deal myself! Glad you enjoyed the post :)
    @Brian – Hah! I’m addicted, but not THAT addicted yet for copper ;) Good to know though…And I hear ya on the roll searching too – So far the best luck I’ve had was at a smaller community bank 15 miles away from my house, though I rarely have an excuse to go over there. The last two nickel rolls I picked up there I found silver in them!
    @Lance @ Money Life and More – True, but there’s DEF no fun in that, haha… I like picking those up in small amts here and there since they’re not worth anything over the $2 unless you get REAL lucky and handed super old ones.
    @Anne @ Unique Gifter – Haha… It only tastes different when you switch from another beer :) If you just stick to Pabst for a few hours you don’t know the difference!
    @tom – Thanks man! Glad you like them :) I teeter back and forth whether to do more or less article on them, just ‘cuz they’re kinda niche, but since I get such a kick out of them I can’t help but to leak some every now and then :) So I’m sure there will be more around the corner!
    @David Hunter – I will be now that I’m back from the NC trip! And I’m crazy excited!!
    @Johnny @ Our Freaking Budget – HAH! I remember doing that too w/ baseball cards! Although more so with Basketball ones… And when you actuallY DO find something good in it you only get more obsessed! :) I once found an autographed Karl Malone card in a pack worth $150 (which, to a kid, is like a million dollars!) and from that point on I just dumped cash into them looking for more gems, haha… But that’s the thing with gems – you only ever find them once or twice! :)
    @daveM – Believe me, that sounds tempting!
    @Christopher @ This that and the MBA – Your wife’s brother is a PIMP – and you can tell him that from me too :) And what’s wrong with PBR?
    @Talley – Nice! And even more so that you can just dump them at the casino! That would solve alot of my “not getting caught” problems, haha… nice trick :)

  14. Alexa @ travelmiamor December 17, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    using them to buy stuff is always amusing to me…every now and then I’ll use a $2 bill, half dollar or Sacagawea and the cashiers always look at me like its fake money. HAHA

  15. J. Money December 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Yes!! And people have been arrested too, actually, if you can believe it :) Cuz some people really DO think they’re fake!

  16. Jay @ effumoney December 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    J$ – There are high speed coin count and sort machines, they go for anywhere between $3k and $5k depending on your needs, they are used by businesses that deal in large volumes of coins (vending machines, casinos, banks etc…). You can buy a machine that can sort through hundreds to thousands of coins per minute, they can be programmed to sort for metal content and pick out the silver coins for you instantly.

    Now I know what you are thinking spending a few thousand to make the search effortless for possibly not finding anything may not sound so logical, if you set up a standing order with your bank for coins every 2 weeks on a $3k investment based on your $8 to $15 per coin found you would need between 200 and 375 coins to break even, maybe you do that maybe not, so probably not the best return on investment.

    Obviously the more types of coins that you sort through you have more opportunities to break even just searching for coins.

    Since you can get these counters to re-roll your coins, it is a bit shady but you can then sell them on eBay for a nice 25% return even though you know they have no silver in them, after selling $12k worth of rolled half dollars you pay for the counting machine.

    Forgetting about the shady side of things, you can find plenty of uses for a coin counter as side hustles, exchanging coin denominations for businesses, or converting coins to currency, banks generally do this for free or low fees, but it requires a trip to the bank, that cost small business owners time and money, you going to them could be worth a few bucks. Coinstar charges 9.8% to covert coins for cash and no fee for eGiftcards, it is available in supermarkets across the country, TD Bank charges 6% to non-customers, and PNC Bank charges either 4% or 5% to non-customers and both charge no fee for customers, you can exchange coins for currency for 2% or 3% undercut the rate and carve out a nice local market.

    You can also sell the coin counter on eBay or craigslist if it doesn’t work out…

    It is kind of like playing the lotto the likelihood of really making a lot money is very slim, but if it does payoff it’s huge.

  17. debtgirl December 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I love it! I did this with pennies this weekend and I found 3 wheatbacks. One 1946. Worth a whole 3 cents. I had lots in the 60s, 70s and 80s I just could not part with. Maybe if I keep them long enough.
    I guess I should start looking at the silver too huh? Find my first Million dollar coin! What should I look for!?

  18. Sue D December 17, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    My late husband bought some half dollar rolls from the bank once, after he went through them he sent me back to the bank to cash them in, not telling me how much was there, the bank ended up screwing us out of money! The bank manager admitted the machine was not working up to snuff (count your money somehow). It was a real fiasco and we stopped doing that practice.

    I do recall he did find some silver, but this was over 8 years ago.

    I still have all sorts of old coins and paper money he purchased through on line auctions etc, wanna buy some J$? Or I would at least trust YOU to sort through them!

  19. Scott December 18, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    I did this for about a year straight 2-4 $500 boxes a week. It was certainly more for a hobby but at the time (2008-2010) I was still finding some decent stuff. The trick is to continually go after it systematically and have a good place to dispose (dump) them. THAT is the really difficult part.

    Bank branches will only be SO happy after you drop off $4,000 in half dollars into their vault.

    Earliest I found was a 1930s half. Also some neat foreign stuff like Canadian silver halves etc. It was all purely luck of the draw. Sometimes Id go weeks without anything and others I could get almost 2 rolls of 40% halves out of a $500 box. I know that many more people have been searching since then, so the return rates are probably way worse now.

  20. Phil December 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM


    I work at a bank and the only way the manager would let me order a box of .50’s was if I promised to drop them off at a different location. Needless to say my wife was not very happy when I came home with our project for the night. It didnt take us too long to go through the box, I would say probably about 30 minutes or so. We didnt find any silver, but we had fun and I ended up dropping off the coins at a different branch the next day. I dont think they recognized me as a fellow employee, but I could tell they werent exactly thrilled with the idea of working through all those coins.

  21. J. Money December 18, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    @Jay @ effumoney – HAH! That is so awesome!!! And if I were a single man I must might try it too, haha… but there’s no way the wife would agree w/ that one ;) Not to mention how much room I’m sure it would take. But man… what an idea… Thanks for sharing it bro, you really got me thinking there for a bit :)

    @debtgirl – Haha… I have a ton of wheat pennies too now from all my searching through rolls – if you find any that have duplicated dates on them that kinda look 3-D those are worth a pretty… umm… penny! ;) Some in the hundreds/thousands of dollars even! Or coins with big mistakes on them – collectors love that stuff.

    @Brian – Oooh really? I never knew that! Though I haven’t ever come across PBR in a bottle either, for that matter… Hmm… might have to go on a little search here later :)

    @Sue D – Oh jeez. Yeah, gotta know how much is in there as tellers make mistakes too! And heck yeah I’d be interested in seeing what you’ve got over there if you really do want to part with them?! I went through my mother-in-law’s stash too just the other day (she’s older as my wife is the youngest of the brood), and she had a handful of coins worth $20-$30 each. Always fun to find and use your skills to see what people are holding :) I’ll shoot you an email back in here in a few…

    @Scott – WOW! That sounds like great odds man! I can only *hope* to find a roll or so in total of 40% coins! Awesome you got a 30’s half too, man… What made you stop playing? Just got tired of it after a while? Wanna trade/sell any of your coins? :)

    @Phil – HAH! Awesome! I bet you can find all sorts of good stuff too just taking money in every day yeah? At least if you’re a teller? That’s still a dream of mine one day… working as a teller part time just to sort through all the bills/coins for gems ;) I can’t even imagine the stuff that comes across those counters over time, jeez…

  22. Brent Pittman December 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    I bet you can’t wait till your little one can help! Great tip about business accounts for exchanging coins. I bet they’ll shut you down if you abuse it though.

  23. J. Money December 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Yeah, I’m gonna see how this round goes and then tread lightly from there. If this idea pays off (pardon the pun) then I’ll try and get on some sort of nice rotation where maybe it’s like 1 month on and then one month off or something, I dunno. But if we find squat, then I’ll move on to another hopeful hack ;) Either way it’s all stuff that’s fun!

  24. J. Money December 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    WOWWWWWW look at that! Talk about a nice shock – thanks! Totally tweeting/facebooking/linking to that in my future roundup – you rock :) Happy Holidays!

  25. JT December 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    My wife was in 2 different banks last week and while there someone came in and offered to buy all the 50 cent pieces they had. I bet they were looking for silver (which I knew about) but also going to sell them on eBay for a profit from those less informed and willing to take the chance.

  26. J. Money December 24, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Hah! Awesome… Either for the silver, or for stocking stuffers as a lot of parents/grandparents do for kids :) I’ll be doing the same once mine get older!

  27. Justin June 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    i’ve searchd through THOUSANDS of dollars of halves and you really have to love it – the odds aren’t that good. i can tell you that i’ve gone darn near $4k dollars worth (~8 THOUSAND halves) with NO SILVER! BUT I still go back and keep trying – like i said you have to love it!

    1. J. Money June 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      haha amen brotha! you’ve got more patience than me at this stage too – i’m not ordering another batch for quite some time ;)

  28. hill July 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    i tried the bank box business and after $4000. worth, it just wasn’t happening. what you need to do is find the ones that people bring in wrapped in the old rolls…. good luck finding them at any of your banks, because the tellers go thru all those first before they re-wrap them.

  29. J. Money July 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    I believe it! At least the smart ones do :) I’ve since stopped hustling these too… though every now and then I get an itch and will jump in with hopes I’ll hit the lottery. Just so fun!

  30. Steve July 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    It is a matter of patience and luck. I’ve been a coin collector for maybe 50 years (great memories of searching through rolls of pennies with my father), and have only recently gotten into CRH (Coin Roll Hunting). Typically I will get a box of pennies and half dollars, although I randomly get boxes of other coins to fill the empty holes in my folders. I’m still finding pennies from the 1930s, and even found a 1895 Indian Head penny; not to mention all of the copper pennies (before 1982). Since January 2013 I’ve gone through about 20 boxes of $500 (about 20,000 coins). To date I have found 21 silver half dollars. Not only Kennedy halves, but Franklin, Liberty, and Barber halves. While the average may be 1 coin per box, they tend to appear in groups. Most boxes have none, but others may have 3, 4 or 5 silver halves in them. I check the coins while watching TV, so I don’t even think about my return on time ‘investment’. One advantage of checking half dollars is that the dates on the coins are large enough that I just need to glance at them to read them – unlike the dates on dimes (which are my least favorite!). Hope this info helps, and that it encourages someone to get into collecting coins! BTW, when I return my rolled pennies to the bank, I will sometimes throw in some surplus pennies from the early Lincoln penny years. I remember my excitement when I found a coin from decades before I was born, and would like to give that same thrill to someone else – hopefully a youngster – who may become interested in this great hobby!

    1. J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      Awww love that!! I should do that too – throw in my doubles of stuff that are super old – good idea :) And you’re right – it’s a numbers game. And dimes suck to look through, haha… though it probably doesn’t help that I usually sort with a beer in my hand ;) it’s a pretty odd visual actually, and one my wife likes to make fun of me for: “What 30 y/o drinks beer and SORTS THROUGH COINS on a Friday night???”

      The kind that appreciates the history of our country :) (and who likes free money!)

  31. Bigeasy August 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Hey J Money!
    You ‘re quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs!
    Here’s a laugh for you….
    Yesterday I received an email from one of the investment groups I “subscribe” to. It’s one of the biggies that touts “they have ALWAYS been right in their predictions….” (Yeah, yeah I’ve heard it all before!) Anyway they make you listen and sit through one of these 20 minute “white board” automation’s with some guy talking over what is being written. Know who I mean?
    This one is entitled “The Five Words To Use To Get Free Silver From Your Bank!”
    They make it sound like every day your going to get $600.00! That it’s so easy even a rube like me can do it! They say saying these words is NEXT TO STEALING it’s so lucrative!
    And in the end … they’ll tell you the 5 words …. but you have to sign up for a $39.00 report that’ll give you the entire “can’t miss” strategy!!
    What a rip!
    Here’s a hint to their identity ….. They don’t tell you you need to buy so many halves – you need a PORTER STANding by, or you’ll be BURYed under the weight!!
    Happy Hunting Brother!

    1. Steve August 7, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      Hi Bigeasy –
      I’ve been getting “free silver” since around the beginning of this year (see my July 26 post above). I don’t think a person can get rich by doing it, but I find going through a box of 1000 halves while I’m watching TV or doing something else mindless to be fun! And there is a rush when you find one with silver in it. So I guess I’m doing it for the fun (and what little profit comes from doing that). I also get customer-rolled rolls of pennies from my local bank. In my last $25 box, I found 5 partial rolls of Indian Head cents – more than 230 of them! No super rare dates, but 3 or 4 worth $20 to $35 depending on the grading (condition) of the coin. So I guess that one box of pennies was more ‘profitable’ that all the boxes of halves I have gone through. Glad I’m not doing this for the money, but for the fun of collecting coins…

      1. J. Money August 8, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Nice work! I need to get back into it again – have pretty much hit pause since moving recently but my fingers are getting itchy :)

      2. dave January 24, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        i have bin serching have’s for three years early on it was very good i was doing 5000.00 a week my first run of them i found over 100 peace’s talk about a rush recently its bin poor i think the the people that roll the the coins up graded the micheins to pull out the silver coins
        good luck DAVE

        1. J. Money January 25, 2014 at 7:27 AM

          I’d be in heaven if I came across 100 Peace dollars!! Congrats!

    2. J. Money August 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Haha… best comment of the day, Bigeasy ;) Glad you’re enjoying the site and having fun here – it’s all about hustlin’ and making that money!

  32. MICHAEL CORDEIRA January 1, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Here’s the scoop on half dollars, the reason why banks will not sell you rolls is because when our government defaults on all of the loans we have with other countries, paper money will be useless and no longer be the world currency. Clad coins will be legal tender so the banks are holding onto half dollars, easy to use everyone recognizes it, the same for quarters, dimes and nickels. So you better start getting with the program and save as much coinage as possible. Remember when the banks close, they won’t open because you need some cash to buy food. Too bad your money is now owned by the government, forget about those safety deposit boxes as well-GONE. Buy US SILVER/GOLD coinage accepted worldwide!!!

    1. J. Money January 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      That’s definitely one way of looking at it, I’ll give you that :)

    2. Steve January 2, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      I have no problems buying boxes of rolls of half dollars or any other US coins at my local Chase Bank. Many banks will require an account with them to order little used coins like the half dollars, but they will sell them. Perhaps you should try a different bank – many don’t like to go through the extra paperwork of ordering half dollars. Plus, the tellers don’t like to handle them since they are heavy (about 25 pounds for a box of 1000 halves).

      Most clad coins are backed by the same thing that our currency is backed up by – a promise to pay (the exceptions being the clad halves that have a silver content).

      I have invested in US silver coins, since they are recognizable and have a known silver content…

      1. J. Money January 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        Oh yeah – there are still tons of coins out there with silver in them. And honestly it’s the thrill of the hunt that makes it the most fun :)

        1. Steve January 5, 2014 at 6:47 PM

          The thrill of the hunt for silver is fun, but I’ve also found some odd things in rolls of half dollars. Tokens from the “Tennessee Aquarium & IMAX 3D Theater” are very close in size to a half dollar. I found one with a sea turtle on the back; apparently 1 of a set of 6 tokens one can buy there! I also found 2 US half dollars that I had never seen before, issued in 1993, commemorating the 50th anniversary of WW2. The obverse shows three portraits, plane above, large V in background, and the reverse shows a Pacific island battle scene. I showed the commemorative half to the staff at the bank I get my half dollars form (really nice people!), and none of them had ever seen one either!

          In a roll of pennies, just last week I found a 2 cent coin from South Africa! No telling what goodies one may find in a roll of coins. A great hobby to introduce to children, grandchildren, etc.

          Thanks, J. Money for providing this forum! :)

          1. J. Money January 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

            Awesome!!! Love hearing stories like that :) It’s similar to that “coin finds” section or whatever it’s called in that one coin mag. I’ve found some pretty interesting stuff at banks too this year. Including a 25 c piece from Panama and a guardian angel token! Haha… The teller handed it to me as a Sacajewea and I was like, umm… this is NOT that, but I’ll take it! :) Here’s the post I did on it if interested:


            Crazy how much stuff doesn’t get filtered at banks… Better for us!

            1. Steve January 7, 2014 at 1:02 AM

              Those were pretty cool finds! IMHO, it is better than the lottery because you really can’t lose (well, not too much at a time). Tomorrow I visit my bank with a ‘hunted’ box of halves to swap for a different box of halves. One roll was short by 2 halves, so I didn’t open it. I want to see how they’ll handle my being shorted by $1 from a sealed box. In the past the boxes had the right number of coins; even if 1 or 2 rolls were short, other rolls would have extras. I suspected that they weigh the boxes, but that wouldn’t explain this box by being about 22 grams light…

              BTW, how did the Balboa coin necklace turn out?

              Unfortunately, no mom and pop banks in my area – all big chain branches. :-(

              1. Silverton December 6, 2017 at 8:48 PM

                I once got 20 rolls of halves and all 400 were 1968d 40 percent. Sold em that day… For a huge profit

  33. Steve January 7, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Very nice looking necklace!

    The bank had no problem taking back the partial roll as though it was a full roll; they didn’t even bother opening the box to check it out. All is well that ends well! :)

  34. Jaynelson April 8, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    I’ve been doing this for a couple months now I usually buy $20 each in qtrs, dimes, nickels and penny’s I’ve found 148 wheat penny’s I’ve kept them all I started a wheats collection getting them all from 1909 to 1958 I’ve only found 1 war nickel and all the state qtrs n national park qtrs so far but my wife n I enjoy doing it

    1. J. Money April 9, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      I’m glad you enjoy the adventure of it all :) Perhaps one of these days you’ll find a rarity!

  35. John April 19, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    Great email thread 2012 to present
    I’ve been searching $500 half dollar boxes as well as penny & quarter rolls for past 4 years
    Success rate on half boxes isn’t great but did land a few 90% silver kennedys right from tellers loose change as well as a few in the soil after the rain walking my dog
    Good to love that
    Yes the time isn’t lucrative but the hunt is fun

    1. J. Money April 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      In the soil?? Nice! If only that were easy to reproduce every time it rained :) Seems like dogs are good luck too, just like with that gold hoard out in California!

  36. J.R. May 15, 2014 at 3:22 AM

    read about searching rolls of half dollars last week and decided to give it a try. My bank had $100 on hand and another bank a few blocks away had $200 a 3rd bank had $3.50 a fourth bank 10 miles away had $13.50. After searching these my bank with $100 had one 1967 40% clad coin. I will return these to my bank next week as they have a coin counter and said it wouldn’t be a problem as long as i didn’t mind waiting between customers. When i do the return i will also pick up a $500 box that i had them order when i was buying the $100 they had on hand. Hopefully the next $500 will be better.

    1. J. Money May 17, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Well you did better than me on my first try! :) And now my bank just took away all coin counters and require us to roll them up ourselves to make the deposits, ugh… That’s already got me to slow down a little – though I’ll never stop all the way cuz it’s just so fun!

  37. Travis July 19, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    You suck because you didn’t post your results. I hope your fingernail rots off.

  38. Joe September 13, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Back in the 70s my Dad was the manager of a mobile bank (think Winnebago) that travelled between two towns. I was a jr. coin collector and he would bring home all of the silver coins he encountered throughout the day (he paid for them of course). I still have them – Mercury dimes, wartime nickles, Franklin half dollars, etc. A lot more silver back then compared to now.

    1. J. Money September 13, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Nice! That’s a dream for a collector – have someone out there (with connections) hooking you up as time goes on :) It is tough these days finding anything of silver (out of all my searches I’ve found exactly zero silver pieces, and then randomly once in my change I get a silver dime – hah!) so I can only imagine what it was like in the heyday of everyone snatching ’em up. I imagine some people have buckets and safes full of silver stashed away from back then – what a dream!

  39. Nathan October 7, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    I just got done reading most of this here, a lot of interesting stories. I just recently, about a year ago, got into coin collecting. So far, it has been a lot of fun and profitable. My girlfriend works at a bank, and i bank at a different one. She has brought me home about three 1964 %90 silver half dollars, 10 1965-1970 %40 silver half dollars, and a couple non-silver ike dollars. From my bank, i have ordered 1 box of half dollars so far. I found 1 1964 %90 silver half dollar, 3 1965-1970 %40 silver half dollar, and a 2000 something s-mint proof coin. When my girlfriend got most of those coins, it was from a local store cashing in there change. Crazy huh? I’ll be getting another box soon and then the hunt will continue! =D

    1. J. Money October 7, 2014 at 9:18 PM

      Nice! You’re a lot luckier than I :) Gonna have to hint that my wife starts working at a bank, haha….

      Also, if you’re interested, check out my newish coin blog:

      I’ve been sharing all my recent coin adventures there – love this stuff!

  40. Steve March 26, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    Just realize it has been about a year since I last posted something here. I’m still doing the boxes of halves every week, and recently ran into a coin dealer who buys some of his halves from a guy who goes through ten boxes of halves per week (10,000 coins). That takes a bit more time than I’m willing to spend! One of the managers at my favorite local bank asked me how I organize my coins. So the next time there I showed him the blue folders (Waldman, I think) with the cutouts for each coin produced during a given span of years. He was really impressed by the folders. He may have been thinking that I have loose piles of coins sitting on all of my tables! I think my claim to be a coin collector has now been legitimized in his eyes, since he could see my efforts. I’ll be picking up another box tonight; can’t wait to see what I might find in it! :)
    Happy Hunting to all!

    1. J. Money March 27, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      Rock on!

      I haven’t touched a roll since this first experiment more or less – hah.

      I have, however, received BOXES of old coins from people attics to help sort through and value so they can liquidate :) And THAT has been immensely more fun. Especially since I get to keep the coins I like and/or $$ too!

      Happy hunting, indeed!

  41. Broadws August 11, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    Only silver I found was a mint condition mercury dime that was in a small envelope that I found in an antique desk I bought. When I removed a drawer there it was.

    1. J. Money August 12, 2015 at 4:08 PM


      Those are the finds us collectors just drool over :)

  42. JACK ROGERS August 19, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    I just went through my 1000 half dollars I picked up at the Bank this afternoon, out of 1000 coins not one under 1971. I do believe the Bank must sort these half dollars. I just walked into my local credit union and ask for half dollars and out of the 10 coins I received 7 were 90 percent silver. It seems like if you had a regular route of about 5 Banks a person would do much better. That’s just what I will try for a month or two and will keep you up to date and find out if it pays off. On another subject the new liberty $100.00 dollar gold coin might be a good investment. While watching TV late one night I saw where they were selling this coin for a little over $2500.00 and sold out. The next day I called the U S MINT.COM, and sure enough there it was you can see it on line. The price a little over $1400.00 same coin. This one just might be a winner. I just started playing with the coins. SMITH CO

    1. J. Money August 21, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      Ooooh good tip on the credit union vs bank! I’m not sure if they do actually sort or not, but I imagine more people scour banks than they do unions, so seems like the odds are in your favor there. I’ve never ONCE found any silver half dollars yet in the past 3 years of collecting, so you crushed me in your one visit there! Haha…

      As for the US Mint coin – I stay away from most of that as they’re always overpriced and come with tons of unnecessary packaging. You do get lucky with certain coins of course due to rarity or when something really new comes out like that curved baseball coin, but outside of that I feel like you always pay more than they’re worth. The late night commercial doesn’t sway that because they always need to sell stuff higher for that profit! :)

      Just my opinion, anyway.

  43. Austin Fuqua September 7, 2015 at 6:22 PM

    I’ve recently got in to the half dollars. My first week I brought home three $10 dollar rolls. I’ve already found two 1969 halves a 65, two 66, an 1 64! I’m addicted lol. I’ve also found some Eisenhower’s at my bank but no luck with silver ones!

    1. J. Money September 9, 2015 at 3:21 PM

      Keep on searching! Hopefully you’ll get luckier than I as I still have yet to find a silver half dollar EVER in circulation or at the bank, haha.. Though I did find a 1962 dime in change the other day – woo!

  44. Dave November 20, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    Got 200$ worth half dollars today at a local bank found 2 1968 kennedy coins 1 64 kennedy and a 62 Ben Franklin, but starting to think i just got VERY lucky

    1. J. Money November 23, 2015 at 7:46 AM

      Holy crap – well done! You found more in that one sitting than I have in my whole life haha… I’d go back to that same bank and try again :) (I do hear that local banks – esp in smaller towns – are the best for this stuff)

  45. markuzvnt March 10, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    hi, I just started half dollar hunting a couple of weeks ago, and so far, I think I’ve been pretty lucky! got about 7 pre-1964 and around 15 post 1965 half dollars. I must have gone through at least $3000 worth of coins.

    1. J. Money March 12, 2016 at 3:48 PM

      Nice! That’s 22 more silver half dollars than I’ve ever found :)

  46. asad shah April 11, 2016 at 5:55 AM

    l got the collection of vintade coin from the golden era of 1118-2000 if anyone is interested in buyind those vintage collection kindly contact me

  47. Ryan July 18, 2016 at 9:11 PM

    Ok so I’m not into collecting money, but I work at a hotel, and we use lots of change. I ALWAYS check rolls of quarters for pre 1964 ones. Someone JUST turned in 2 50cent piece rolls for 20 U$D bills. I went ahead and looked through them, One is pre-1962, and 2 are pre-1975. The rest are all older, lots of 1990+. :(

    1. J. Money July 19, 2016 at 9:18 AM

      Not a bad pull, actually! 1 silver in two rolls is great odds :)

      I feel like what you should really be looking after is older high-denomination bills – like $50’s and $100’s (and ESPECIALLY $1,000’s!). Not sure how much cash is used these days, but if it’s a nice hotel I’m sure there are high rollers coming through there.. And older large bills def. carry a premium.

  48. shotgung April 29, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    I ordered a box of $500 half dollars, and found a 1982 P without the “FG”. Oldest coin was around 1970 or 71, nothing older. I’m wrapping them now and will order another 1000 coins this week.

    1. J. Money May 1, 2017 at 11:16 AM

      Interesting.. hadn’t heard of a 1982 P without FG. Now wondering I missed any since I wasn’t looking for ’em, d’oh!

      1. shotgung May 4, 2017 at 1:39 PM

        Just finished another $500 last night in 4 hours. Didn’t find anything of value. I figured if nothing was older than 1971, I might as well start looking for the non-FG coins. I look at the back of everyone, no matter the year or mint. I’ll keep churning my $500 until something shows up. Can’t believe out of 2000 coins, nothing older than 1971!

        1. J. Money May 21, 2017 at 5:14 PM

          That’s pretty incredible!

          Good thing we thrive off the searching :)

  49. meagan carmack November 18, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    I recently lost my coin collection to the hurricane. Along with everything else. This breaks my heart to know I may not be able to do it again.:(

    1. J. Money November 20, 2017 at 11:02 AM

      ugh, sorry to hear that :(

  50. Mark Witcher May 25, 2018 at 6:45 PM

    Nice blog, i enjoyed reading some of your stuff, even the non-coin info was entertaining.

    Just wanted to ask – the 2 photos of half dollars you posted…I get the first one is a question mark. What was the 2nd photo?

    Happy hunting. I asked at my credit union about dollar coins and half dollars and they said they’d be happy to order boxes if I wished, plus they have a free coin machine in the lobby for members. I’m more into the old coin vs silver content.

    1. J. Money May 29, 2018 at 1:09 PM

      Same here these days – I’ve since stopped coin hunting just cuz it takes up so much time and I prefer older 19th and 18th century coins way more. Was fun experimenting back in the day though :) Also have a blog on coin collecting if you’re interested in checking it out:

      That 2nd pic: it was a smiley face! :)

  51. Doug Menke July 28, 2018 at 11:57 PM

    I have documented all my silver coins found in the last $20,000 of half dollars searched (40 boxes of $500 each), and here are my results: 8 90% silver halves (7 1964 Kennedy’s and 1 Franklin), and 42 40% silver halves, dated between 1965 and 1969. So for me it was 1 90% per 5000 coins, and a little over 1 40% per 1000 coins. I’m not going to get rich at it, but I do enjoy the feeling when I do strike silver! I know I find a higher percentage of silver in the loose halves I occasionally find and buy from bank tellers (not documented), but you can’t get nearly as high a volume of coins there.

    1. J. Money July 30, 2018 at 9:46 AM

      HAH – love that you track it all!! And wholeheartedly agree – much more fun as a hobby than trying to make a living off of it :) Cool you found a Franklin amidst the mix too!

  52. MeanPuppyDog December 6, 2018 at 10:50 PM

    I hate to tell you this, but the odds of getting SILVER half dollars is almost nil.
    This is why.
    Many years ago, the COINS STAR machines that took your change and charged you 11.9 cents per 1.00 to do this for you accepted ALL U.S.A. coins.
    Now, the coins start machines REJECT silver coins and they go in the reject bin that you have to collect.
    The same with the machines at the Federal Reserve.
    They get millions of coins that they auto roll. SILVER coins are rejected and the mint takes those coins, and they do not go back out.
    The Mint Sorters go through them, and I bet a million dollars, they keep the VALUABLE Silver coins.
    Hence, all boxes of half dollars, for example that go back out to banks will not have anything of value for the coin collector. Now, if you go to a old, hick town, you MAY find a box of half dollars that was distributed before the new machines sorted them, but that is going to be rare.
    Old Hick towns do now like a box of half dollars collecting dust in their vault either.

  53. Kevin Shinn March 8, 2019 at 4:40 PM

    Hey mar 8 2019
    Just went to bank this morning and it was my first time asking for full boxes of half. They had 1 I paid 500 for it took it out to my truck, opened it up, it wasn’t sealed but it was full of bank rolls. I looked at all the enders, didn’t see 1 silver year. You are right could have filled 80% of my books with most of the enders dates, but no silver, so took it back into the back and got my 500 back. All was still in orginal rolls

    1. J. Money March 11, 2019 at 6:47 AM

      Bet you had fun searching, though :)

  54. Kevin Shinn March 8, 2019 at 4:43 PM

    Oh I seen this post half way through my endeavor, was a good thing


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