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Today I got a few Eisenhower dollars from my bank and it seems they worth slightly more than one dollar each as they are rarer. In general, is possible/easy to get some rare notes and/or coins that worth more than the face value? If yes, can one make a fortune this way?

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    I have received old dollars (silver certificates) and silver content coins from vending machines and bank tellers. When fortune smiles upon you, ask for all they have like that if you are dealing with a human. – Pete B. Jul 31 at 15:00
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Is it possible?

Yes. Banks don't always pull old coins or notes from circulation. (Notes are pulled based on condition, so most notes that are old enough to have any collectible value have already been pulled and destroyed. Coins last much longer, but if a coin isn't in obviously poor condition, it'll just go back into circulation unless a bank employee happens to notice it.)

Is it easy?

No. Most old coins and notes that are valuable are old enough that they've been circulated enough times that individuals or banks would have noticed them by now. It is exceptionally rare to find one in circulation.

Can one make a fortune?

Extremely unlikely. Here is a discussion of a few examples of people buying rolls of coins from banks and sorting through them. There are other examples here and here. None that I've found are reporting any success. (The ones that are successful might be keeping it a secret.) Even if you find a valuable coin once in a while, once you factor in your time, the mileage to drive to the bank, and the possible premiums and shipping costs if you buy rolls of coins elsewhere, you are likely to be making somewhere at or below minimum wage in such an endeavor. If you are going to do it, do it for the fun, not for the profit.

  • Good answer that could be made better if you discussed realizing the value of receiving a rare form of currency. So you have a circulated pre 64 quarter. How do you realize the additional value of it? It is not always easy. – Pete B. Jul 31 at 15:03
  • @PeteB. Isn't it just "sell it to a coin/note collector"? Or am I missing something? – TripeHound Aug 1 at 7:21
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A couple years ago I received a silver dime in change at a gas station. I think the clerk thought he was unloading a fake dime on me.

Most of these have been pulled out of circulation by collectors so it's atypical to put it mildly.

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Copper pennies are currently worth more in copper than their 1 cent face value. Some people (look for news stories of this online) are actively acquiring them in quantity as a metal commodity enterprise. This is not exactly the same as rare "collector's" coins, but it is an example of value exceeding the coin's denomination.

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    If you have plans to profit from the copper content of U.S. pennies, be aware that it is illegal to melt the pennies down to recover the copper. See here, here, and here. – Doug Deden Jul 31 at 22:15
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Is it possible?

Yes. However the important question is can you recognize it. This needs a deep study and one needs to be numasmat. Most people will not recognize the rare coins or notes unless it reaches the hands of a dealer or collector.

Is it easy?

No. Extremely rare event even for a collector. Most would buy it from dealers.

Can one make a fortune?

Yes. Again going to earlier point, most will not recognize it. There are stories how some one poor one fine day found a coin in cupboard worth a fortune.... However these are like winning lottery. As a business model yes quite a few dealer and collectors make a fortune.

  • Collectors and dealers make money on rare coins just as collectors and dealers make money on rare art. They're not getting rich by sorting through coins/ bills they get from a bank though which is what the poster is asking. Art dealers aren't generally driving around hitting every garage sale hoping to stumble upon a valuable painting just like coin dealers aren't going through their change looking for the occasional valuable penny. – Justin Cave Jul 31 at 21:02
  • In passing: numasmat => numismatist. – TripeHound Aug 1 at 7:24

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