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Coin Collecting: Uncirculated Coins
( Article orginally published December 1957 )
Many collectors have been obtaining rolls of strictly uncirculated coins from all of the mints. Around 1950 this practice was so popular that many speculators and investors put hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of rolls away. Rumor has it that the entire issue of 1955 Philadelphia half dollars was absorbed by this type of investor. With such quantities being taken out of circulation, one wonders just how good an investment the rolls of coins are from 1950 up.
True some of the issues are very short, and should normally be scarce. Also true is the increased demand for such coins. Many have already risen to fabulous heights for coins so recently coined. We wonder, however, whether a good amount of this rise is due to the "holding back" of the vast hoard put away, and whether these issues can maintain their high values, or go higher when these vast hoards are released. Dealers are now asking $33.50 for a two dollar roll of 1950 Denver mint nickels, $95 for a roll of 1949 San Francisco mint dames. The 1949 Philadelphia half rolls are $100, or more.
Some of the rolls that were put away in the 1930s, are now being broken up, and the coins sold by the piece. We note such outstanding catalog valuations as: 1938 Denver half dollars $22.50 each, and the 1931 Denver half dollars $15.00 each; 1939 Denver mint cents are listed at $45.00 per roll; 1935 San Francisco or Denver mint cents $32.50 per roll; 1939 San Francisco mint nickels $6.50 per coin catalog valuation; the 1939 Denver nickels $7.00 per coin; 1931 S cents, one of the shortest coinages, are now quoted at $18 per coin. (That would make a roll worth $900.) ! Not bad for a 50¢ investment, twenty six years ago.
I feel that the rolls of coins, put away from 1940 through 1950 are about to come into their own, and if held another ten years, will equal, or go higher than the coins of the 1930's have already done. It seems that after 15 to 20 years, such rolls are broken up and the coins begin to sell by the piece. When this happens, then is the time their values skyrocket to their greatest degree, and then they seem to level off and stabilize their values.
All dates and denominatioms do not rise to great heights, only those that had short issues, or those no one saved. During the 1940's a great many of the "d" and "s" mint coins were put away, but very little of the Philadelphia mint pieces. It is therefore easy to assume that, some day, uncirculated specimens of the Philadelphia mint coins may be harder to find than the branch mints, even though the coinages at Philadelphia were much higher.
Prior to 1930 very, very few coins were put away in rolls and anyone who was, wise enough to do so then, would truly be worth a fortune in, coins today. I have figured that, if one had put away a roll of uncirculated cents from 1909 through 1930 from all mints the total investment would have been $31.50 at around 1.50 per year, and the catalog valuation today would be $42,987! A roll of each of the mint marked quarters from 1916 through 1930 an investment of $380, would have a catalog valuation today of $50,680. Half dollars from 1916 through 1930, with an investment of $2.50, would catalog at $118,600. Dimes with an investment of $190 would catalog at $61,375. Nickels from 1913 through 1930 with an investment of $102 would catalog at $64,410. A roll put away of each denomination and each mint, uncirculated, as above, would have required an investment of $953.50 over the entire time, and the current catalog valuation of uncirculated rolls would be $335,052.00; Covering a period of twenty-one years maximum an average investment of only $45.40 per year! Plus the fact that you would have been buying United States money at face value and couldn't possibly lose any part of your investment, as long as the dear old USA was in existence!