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US Cent random roll search results

You know how occasionally a scientist will take a random sample of something just to see the current state of a given thing.  I decided to take a random sample of cent rolls in my area just to see what I'd get.  We're in the Dayton, OH area, so I went to a branch of a local credit union and asked for 10 rolls.  They came back with what looked like 10 machine-wrapped rolls (very tightly wrapped paper rolls, not home-use tubes or plastic shrink, or straight-from-the-mint packaging).  Great, these will be circulated coins gathered at teller counters or coin-counting machines and could include anything.  I picked one of the 10 based on it having a couple of circulated memorial-back cents visible on the ends instead of shiny new 2019 shield-backs.  Here are the results:

1 - 1956D wheat cent in at least VF-20 condition

6 - copper Memorial cents from the 1960s-'70s

0 - 1980-82 copper Memorial cents

25 - zinc Memorial cents from the 1982-2008 era (incl. 1 1982 small date)

0 - 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial cents

15 - zinc Shield reverse cents from the 2010s

3 - Canadian small cents (1979, 1984, 1999)


At the current exchange rate the credit union made 1.5% profit on my withdrawal by including the Canadian cents.  I have potentially lost 6% though, because some stores won't accept them.  However, I am a member of the credit union, so I suppose I'll get it back as my share values increase from their profit-making... (Of course, I could scrap the 2 copper ones for maybe $0.05...)


14% of the roll was still US copper.  I was hoping to find more, but I can't say I'm surprised I didn't. I need a bunch of 1960s-'70s Memorial backs to help our coin club kids fill Whitman No. 2 folders and some other projects.  I'm not sure which is affecting the odds of finding copper Memorial backs more:  the overproduction of zinc coins since 1982; natural population reduction from loss or damage; collectors pulling them for their collections; or copper hoarders turning them in for the higher-than-face-value scrap price.

The wheat cent surprised me; I was not expecting to find any of those, especially in decent condition.  I was hoping to find a Lincoln Bicentennial for a kid I know.  Well, I still have 9 more rolls to search.  We'll see what else turns up.


I know this is just one roll, but do copper Memorial backs seem more scarce to anyone?  Feel free to search a random roll and post your results just for fun...

24 days ago

I think the continuous hoarding of cents by Americans is probably one reason for the scarcity of copper Memorial Cents, I would also assume many of them are being melted down in bulk. 

21 days ago

I have seen it on t.v. There making a fortune melting silver before 1964 and back. One pound five pound and ten pound bags. This has been going on for decades. That's were the money is. I hate the fact there melting our history every day. They search the cents and the silver for rarities before they melt anything.thanks.

21 days ago

The gentleman selling our history to be melted is all over the net with complaints. You see guys like this who think there smart always get caught

4 days ago

If no one will take the Canadians do like I do, and put them in your junk box. If you don't have a junk box yet, now a good time to start one. Someday someone will be interested in them. Not surprised at all to hear about the absence of the 2009 Lincoln bicentennials, can't find them anywhere, and I'm talking about the zinc's. 

2 days ago
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