A home for “couch cushion coinage.”

In the past, I’ve dealt with my loose change by pouring my coinage into a metal savings bank, then taking that bank to Price Chopper and dumping the loose change into a CoinStar sorting machine.  Rather than paying nine cents on the dollar to CoinStar for their services, I instead change the money for full par value into an iTunes card or an Amazon gift card, with a code generated from the machine’s receipt.

A few weeks ago, instead of bringing all the loose change to the CoinStar machine, I instead brought the change to my bank.  The plan?  I figured that the bank would be able to take all the coins, dump them in a sorting machine, and immediately calculate my total.

Unfortunately, even though my bank didn’t have one of those customer-available sorting machines, the teller dutifully counted out all the change with me.  Man, I didn’t want to put the teller through all that work again.

Then I thought about whether I could simply take the coinage to a scrapyard and get spot value for the coin metals.  Uh… no.  If you’re looking for copper spot value on your pennies, the pennies must have been manufactured before 1982, and even then you’re looking the scrapyard paying $2/pound – and it takes almost 150 pennies to make a pound.  And although there are dimes and quarters and half-dollars that were made of almost pure silver, those coins were manufactured before 1963.  Good luck finding those in your loose change.  So I tossed that idea out the window.

This left me with the option of purchasing some paper coin rolls and “rolling my own.”  Yeah, that’s the joint.  I could do that, but it would be nice to have my own coin-sorting apparatus to take care of such issues.

The next time I visited the bank, I noticed that the tellers have little delineated coin trays at their desks.  “Could I buy one of those?” I asked.

“Sorry,” the teller said, “We can’t sell them.”

“Do you know where I can purchase one?”

“Sorry,” the teller said, “We get them issued to us.  We can’t sell them to you.”


I guess that’s why God invented eBay.

So here’s what I’ve acquired from the auction site.  It’s an MMF Industries coin sorting tray, and it cost me about $5.  In addition to the common coin slots – pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters – it also has a slot for modern dollar coins.  This is good; because I’ve been getting $3.25 in change when I pay $5 to get a $1.75 bottle of diet cola out of the local vending machines, and it doesn’t all come back to me in quarters.  Hello, Susan B. Anthony…

And although the photo in this blog doesn’t clearly show the markings on the sides of the coin wells, you can stack the proper amount of coinage in each tray and then slide a paper wrapper down each slot to encase the coins.  A few folds, and you have a package of rolled coin.  Nice.

So from my coin bank to this coin sorting tray… I wrapped a full roll of pennies, a full roll of dimes, two full rolls of quarters and nearly a full roll of dollar coins.  Now I could take that money and dump it in a CoinStar machine…

But as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, I’m not going to do that.  Not now.

My plan this year is to take the sums acquired from various locations – loose change, lottery scratch-off winnings, the money earned from picking the Superfecta at Belmont… and dump it into my savings account at the bank.  It’s like a loose change Christmas Club.  And come December, I’ll use that money to purchase something at B&H PhotoVideo in New York City.  Whether it’s film or a camera lens or whatever… it’ll come from the loose change and loose winnings for a single year.

So after I craft today’s blog post… it’s off to the bank for a drop-off.

This should be an interesting experiment.  Let’s see how it all adds up.

Adds up… Hee.