1. Home

Secret Insider Tips to Get Rolled Coins From Banks

How to Find Bank Wrapped Rolls of Coins

By

Close-up of Nickels in a Coin Roll Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images
One of the most rewarding types of coin collecting is finding your rare coins right in normal circulating coinage. You simply can't go wrong with searching bank wrapped rolls of coins! You buy the coins at face value, search them for errors, varieties, and rare coins, and then sell the rejects back to the bank to get more coins to search! Sounds like a dream come true, right?

Most Bank Wrapped Coins Come From the Federal Reserve

Unfortunately, there's a hitch. Most banks don't like to sell rolled coins to their customers, and getting them to carry mint fresh coins is tough. Part of the problem lies in the way that the Federal Reserve System distributes coinage to the banks. The Fed charges banks fees to place special orders for coin and currency unless the coin qualifies as a "Commemorative Issue" and has a designated Special Ordering Period. (The Statehood Quarters and the Presidential Dollars both qualify under this designation when they're first released.)

However, even if you can get your local bank to special-order the wrapped coins, unless they qualify as Commemorative Issues, there is no guarantee that the Fed will send the banks mint-state coins anyway! The Fed isn't required to honor requests for mint-state (what they call "new") coins, but they say they do when inventory levels allow. The Fed always sends out "mixed" (used) coinage first.

The point here is that even if you found a bank willing to cooperate and order new coins for you, they might not even get them! The result is that the bank fills out special request forms, possbily pays fees, and then doesn't get what you wanted anyhow, resulting in unhappy customers. The banks' solution to this problem is typically to avoid doing any special ordering for coins at all.

How to Crack the Bank's Refusal to Sell Rolled Coins

Now that you understand the reasons why banks are reluctant to order and provide rolled coins, you can learn to work with them to get what you need, whether it's mint-state rolls of Sacagawea Dollars or heavily circulated pennies so you can sort out the copper from the zinc. The first step is to define your goal.

If your goal is to get mint-state coins of non "Commemorative" coins (as defined above,) your best bet is a smaller, full-service bank that doesn't usually deal with a lot of merchant accounts. Such banks are usually marketed as higher end "enterprise banks," and generally don't have the free types of checking accounts, but if you're a hard-core coin searcher or like to lay up a lot of mint-state rolls, a bank of this sort will be the type most likely to order and get "new" coins. They will probably pass the fees along to you, too, and having an account there will be mandatory.

Ordering Circulated Coinage is Easy

If your goal is to buy rolls of circulated coins, your best bank type is the big name, broad appeal banks where average small businesspeople do their banking. These banks typically deal in very large amounts of circulated coinage, as some business types take in more than they need, and thus deposit it, whereas other business types use vast amounts of mixed coinage to give to their customers in change. Banks that do a steady merchant business almost always have plenty of circulated coinage on hand, and will often sell it to non-account holders. If you want to get this type of coinage regularly, though, especially in large amounts (such as boxes of rolls, rather than just a few rolls themselves,) it's a good idea to open an account there.

Dealing With Difficult Bank Tellers

Regardless of the type of bank you go to, you may encounter tellers that are difficult, stubborn, or obtuse. Some of them simply need some genuine hand-holding, but others seem to be contrary just because they can. When you encounter difficult tellers, take a moment to explain things. Tell them that they can order the coins directly from the Fed for you, and if they claim they can't, get the head teller or supervisor. Sometimes even the supervisors need some teaching!

Always be courteous but firm. If banks claim they "don't carry" the Presidential Dollars, for example, let them know that all they need to do is order them. Go up the management chain if you have to. If they keep insisting they just won't order them, ask if there's another branch of the bank that will. Get them to call around for you to find what you need. After all, you're the customer!

Advanced Planning For Bank Wrapped Rolls

When you know a certain coin type is being released, call ahead and ask your bank to order the quantity you want, and hold it for you. If you like to put away rolls of mint-state coins of types that are hard to find in full rolls, such as nickels and dimes, call your bank every couple of days and check to see if any mint rolls came in. Find out what day they usually get their Fed orders, and call that day. When they get some mint-state coins in, ask them to hold them for you.

By far, the best way to ensure a steady supply of bank wrapped rolls is to develop a relationship with a certain bank. Become friendly with the head teller or manager. Ask them to call you if someone deposits unusual items, like rolls of half dollars or large size dollars (such as Eisenhower Dollars.) In fact, make it a habit to always ask the teller to check the vault for rolls and partial rolls of these coin types, because the banks would love to clear out these oddments (they can't send them to the Fed until they acquire a certain amount) and these two coin types, among all types of currently circulating coins, are most likely to produce silver or valuable varieties!

Other Sources of Rolls of Coins

One of my juciest sources of circulated coins is the company that services the CoinStar machines in my area. People dump all kinds of old coins into those things! Another great source is convenience store clerks. Sometimes people bring in whole rolls of wheat cents or silver coins to buy cigarettes and liquor. Develop a rapport with likely sources of great coins in your neighborhood, and let them know you collect! Pass out a business card and ask them to call you when interesting rolls show up. I get great coins this way!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.