Coins enter circulation in the United States via the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank gets its coins in bulk from the United States Mint in large "ballistic bags" that hold several thousand pounds of coins. In order to facilitate the handling and distribution of these coins to local banks, they are stacked into standard sizes according to denomination.
Number of Coins in a Standard Roll
The table below lists each common type of circulating U.S. coin, as well as how many coins are in the standard roll, or shotgun coin roll.
|Denomination||Number of Coins||Face Value|
|Penny or 1 Cent||50||$0.50|
|Nickel or 5 Cents||40||$2.00|
|Dime or 10 Cents||50||$5.00|
|Quarter or 25 Cents||40||$10.00|
|Half-Dollar or 50 Cents||20||$10.00|
Why Are Coins Rolled?
Coins are rolled to simplify distribution and inventory. The United States Mint produces coins first and foremost to facilitate commerce throughout the United States. After they are struck in the coining press they are placed into large bags (some as large as 4' x 4') that can weigh over 1,000 pounds. These bags are then shipped to rolling and distribution centers in order to standardize the distribution of coins.
The rolls are then packed into boxes, for example, 50 rolls of pennies with a face value of $25 are distributed to the banks. This makes counting the coins in inventory extremely fast and efficient. Additionally, when commercial customers request coins for their business, the teller does not have to count out individual coins in order to fulfill the customer's request.
Number of Roles in a Box of Coins
When a bank receives a bulk shipment from the Federal Reserve Bank or another commercial bank, the coins are delivered in standard boxes. All boxes contain fifty roles of the same denomination. The following chart lists the face value of a standard box of coins.
|Denomination||Number of Rolls||Face Value|
|Penny or 1 Cent||50||$25.00|
|Nickel or 5 Cents||50||$100.00|
|Dime or 10 Cents||50||$250.00|
|Quarter or 25 Cents||50||$500.00|
|Half-Dollar or 50 Cents||50||$500.00|
Other Types of Rolled Coin
You may encounter rolls of coins that differ from the table above. These are created by private individuals or companies that vary from the standard roll sizes listed above. These include "half rolls" (half as many coins as a standard roll) and "double rolls" (twice as many coins as a standard roll). Coins distributed in these nonstandard roles do not carry any additional value.
Some television marketing companies will take ordinary coins and package them into nonstandard rolls. The coin rolls are then placed into fancy boxes or packaging to make them look expensive. This was a common practice with the Presidential Dollar coins. They may even include a "Bank Vaults Certificate" to prove that they are authentic. This is nothing more than a marketing scheme to bilk people out of their money.
The Canadian banking system follows the same standard roll sizes as the banking system in the United States. However, foreign countries standardize the roll sizes based upon the requirements of their baking system. This can vary from country to country.
How to Obtain Rolls of Coin From Your Bank
You can purchase standard rolls of the coin from your local bank with little or no problem. However, some banks have a policy that only customers can exchange paper money for rolls of coins. Additionally, some banks may put a limit or charge you for exchanging rolls of coins. Keep in mind, banks are not a government-owned institution and are in business in order to make a profit. They must employ people to operate the coin rolling machines and pay them a living wage. All this adds to the cost of preparing coin rolls.
The easiest way to obtain rolls of coins from your bank is to create a relationship with your bank. Get to know your bank tellers and the manager. If you have your accounts and banking services spread across several different banks, this will make it harder for you to obtain rolls of coin on a regular basis. The bank may actually insist that you open up a "commercial bank account" in order to obtain a large number of coin rolls.
What to Search for in Rolls of Coins
The following list is a description of coins that you can find in common coin roles that carry a premium over face value:
- Penny: One cent coins dated 1958 or before (Wheat Pennies)
- Nickels: Jefferson Nickels dated between 1942 and 1945 (35 percent silver) look for a large mint mark letter on the reverse above the building.
- Dimes and quarters: Coins dated 1964 or before (90 percent silver)
- Half-dollars: Kennedy Half Dollars dated 1964 and before (90 percent silver) and coins dated between 1965 and 1970 (40 percent silver)