Would You Pick Up a Penny?  It Could be Worth $100

Depending on which generation you are from, you may or may not bend over and pick up a penny laying in the road. If you grew up in the 1920’s all the way up through the 1960’s you would most likely pick up any coin you found on the ground. Children that grew up in this modern age are so focused on their phones its not likely they would realize they had stepped over a coin of any value, but Hollis Pinnock wants to change that.

Owner of CH Coins in Burley, Idaho, Hollis Pinnock has been in the business of coin collecting for the better point of five decades. His store in Burley is a treasure trove of coins old and new, and if you are looking for a specific coin to add to or to complete a set, there is a good chance Pinnock has it.

Recently Pinnock heard of some fellow coin collectors taking prized coins out of their collections and putting them into circulation. The thought of a rare and valuable coin being put right under your nose was too much fun not to get in on, so Pinnock followed suit.

In the past two weeks, Pinnock took three pennies, each with a value of $80 to $100 , and paid for products in Burley area stores. His hope was that someone would find one of them and realize that the hobby of coin collecting is not only entertaining, it can be downright profitable.

The pennies are a 1909 s, a 1914 d and a 1931 s. The first two have a collector’s value of $100 each and the third has a value of $80, though if you don’t know that you have one in your own pocket you could mistakenly pay for your McDonalds hamburger with it, giving away $99.99.

Pinnock said the characteristics of the coins are different from modern pennies in a few ways. First thing you can look for is the wheat back on the flip side of the coin. Another dead giveaway is that the penny will be darker in color than a modern penny. Beyond that you’ll need to look at the date on the front side of the coin along with the mint mark. An “S” denotes a coin minted in San Francisco and a “D” represents a coin minted in Denver. These are coins that have been in circulation for more than 100 years and likely changed hands tens of thousands of times over the years.

The key to any coin’s value is when and where it was minted, how many were minted and the condition of the coin. The highest values are placed on uncirculated coins but coins in every condition can be valuable.

Pinnock won’t say if he will continue to sneak valuable coins into circulation locally, but there’s a good chance it could happen.

Coins don’t have to be old to have a value worth keeping or collecting. Pennies, dimes and quarters minted in 1982 could have a value many times their face value because fewer of the coins were minted that year. A 1983 p quarter could have a collector’s value of $8 if it is in pristine condition. A 2019 w quarter is worth $50 because of the rare “W” mint mark

One coin collector who was shopping for coins when Pinnock was interviewed for this story said that he caught the coin collecting bug early in life, but now that he is retired he can spend more time filling in the blanks in his coin collectors sets. He said he takes great joy in sending his great nieces and nephews rolls of half dollars or other coins to help them start their collections. One great niece refers to this money as her treasure collection.

Even coins with flaws from the mint can be great collectors’ treasures with the flaw making the coin much more valuable. How do you know if the coin you are holding has any value beyond the face value? The best way is to take it to CH Coins where Mr. Pinnock can look up the value.

It’s never too early or too late to begin collecting coins, especially since stumbling onto any one of the three pennies Pinnock has seeded the town with could make a great beginning. There is a local coin collectors club in Mini-Cassia called the Empty Pockets Coin Club and they are always looking for members. They meet every third Wednesday at the Paul City Hall, located immediately across from West Minico Junior High. The club meets at 7:30 p.m. All visitors are welcome to come and share in the fun of coin collecting.

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