How To Turn a Penny Into Dollars

Okay, you have a bag of “wheaties”, which means a bag of Lincoln Wheat-Ear Back One Cent pieces from one of three U.S. mints — Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco.

Of the three, you could always count on the mint in San Francisco to develop lots of mint errors, notably involving the mint-mark.

In the Philadelphia coins, there are no mint-marks, but on the other hand, there are lots of opportunities to strike it rich with DDOs, which is to say, “Doubled-Die Obverse” errors, which means that the die got struck twice during the creation of the die from the HUB — it’s all very complicated, but you can find out about the process by reading the Mega Red coin book, which I think you’ll find surprisingly good reading, if you’re at all interested in the history of the coins and the mints that made them AND the horses they rode in on!

You’re dealing here with circulation coins, not special coins issued by the mint to make money for the politicians, such as the “proof sets” and “eagles” and special issue “collectible” gold coins, and other equally miserable excuses for collectibles.

If you mark something as “collectible” and everybody collects them and keeps them totally intact and pristine and mint-condition, guess what? They’re not collectible at all, because scarcity is a powerful driver in the collectibles market, and that’s just not there when everybody has one.

You’re only interested in “Circulation” pennies — they’ve been around a while, been handled a lot, traveled a lot and seen a lot.

Those are what are going to give you the greatest psychic hit, and as you handle them in a particular way, you’ll set up an energy pattern through time that can cause a time-tunnel effect, giving you a shield against time-flow, and sometimes gravity.

The overall effect is eerie, if you become aware of it and, as you’d expect, most people ignore it or have no recollection of anything unusual happening while performing a hunt or simple coin search.

Coin Search is a way to open the gateways. Wake up.

So, it’s circulation coins, meaning coins that have been handled in public for the carrying out of trade and commerce — in short, to make change for a dollar.

Circulating coins are different. How are they different? Well, unlike the pristine mint issues, these coins actually develop very individual personalities, just like your pet, your car, your guitar, your plants and your fuzzy toys.


Meaning, let’s get back on track, on subject, thusly:

There are a  number of types of coins and varieties and of course denominations, but we’ll be concentrating on only one of them, the Lincoln “Wheatie” — or should it be “Wheaty” in the singular???

I’ll let the scholars who come afterward work that one out, if they’ve the inclination — meanwhile, let’s get back on topic, shall we???

I’ve selected Lincoln Wheat-Backs, or “wheaties” as the coin of choice because it is far and away the EASIEST grading to learn and use, and it offers a ton of opportunities in the ERROR COIN department, which is where the NUGGETS are.

Pay no attention to the nuggets — they’re fun to find and fun to market, but they’re NOT the cash cow. The little crummy G4 “common” coins are where the real paydirt can be found.

So you’ve got a pile of unknown value coins sitting before you, and you make some into a short stack, about ten coins and, using your Magic In The Mirror moves, you spread the coins out in a fan in front of you.

Using your magic moves, flip all the coins so they’re tails-up — you should see the words “ONE CENT” in the middle, and two inwardly curved ears of wheat on either side of the ONE CENT designation.

If you can’t see the wheat ears, you might be looking at a dime. Check to see.

Now, using your OPTI-VISOR over your glasses if you wear glasses, scan the line of pennies specifically for WHOLE WHEATS only, and DON’T FUDGE IT.

Either it’s a whole wheats coin or it’s not.

Really, really, don’t give in to the urge to see coins pile up on the left in the “better coins” category.

You have to come to believe that the G4 “GOOD” coins, the ones that don’t have ANY wheat on them at all, meaning the wheat’s been ground down to totally flat and even shiny surfaces, will be the money coins, the cash cow.

Trust is not necessary. I’ll soon tell you — just a few paragraphs from now — how to prove this thesis to yourself.

You want to separate the coins immediately into two definite categories — whole wheats and not-quite or not-at-all whole wheats, meaning the wheats are anywhere from totally flat to ALMOST whole, but not quite there.

Those “almost” coins can be put into a separate category, but it’s generally not worth the extra effort.

Believe it or not, the lesser quality coins are where the money is. I’ll explain as we go. Meanwhile, let’s get those “Whole Wheats” wheaties out of there and into their own pile, shall we???

Whole wheats are easy to spot. They have both ears of wheat totally — and I mean TOTALLY — intact.

Look carefully at the wheats, particularly the ear of wheat on the left. If that ear is clean and clear, and the cut lines are crisp, you have a FULL WHEAT wheatie, and you’re good to go.

Put that whole wheats penny on a pile to your left, away from the other coins. This pile is intended for whole wheats ONLY.

Now go through the line of coins, pulling all whole wheats out of the line and stacking them with the “whole wheats” coins on the left of your workbench.

Having looked for “quality” or “whole wheats”, you’ll now use your MiM — Magic in the Mirror — moves to flip the coins over one at a time from left to right if you’re right-handed, right to left if you’re left-handed, if you prefer.

One by one, you’ll evaluate each coin on the face, or obverse, to determine where it goes.

You’ll start a line of coins across the top of your workbench, which goes from lower to higher, like the octave scale on a piano.

To illustrate, if you were searching the thirties, you’d have a line of coins from 1930 and 1934 on the left, then two piles next to each other — that’d be 1935 and 1936.

Then a third grouping of two piles side-by-side, the 1936 and 1937, then to the right of those, 1938 and 1939.

You’ll put a little space in-between the groupings of two, two, two and two, in order to easily determine which pile to set the coin you’re looking at.

You don’t want to have to count out the dates every single time.

Normally, without help, you wouldn’t think of that for a couple of years, by which time, it’s far too late to set up good work habits and practices.

As you’re sorting these lower-quality coins into piles, you’ll take note of any unusual things, and if you find a coin that deserves special treatment, you’ll toss it into that little papier-mache box at this time.

If you come across a mint-mark, put it in a separate pile, to be sorted and graded later. Mint-marks are where you’ll find the RPMs — Re-Punched Mint-Marks, which is where a lot of the money is to be made.

The best dates for DDOs in the 1930s pile would be 1934, 1935,1936 and 1939, all of which have good and easy to find DDOs.

So now you’ve checked each coin with your jeweler’s eye-loupe for any signs of doubled-die activity, and now you’re facing a huge pile of junk coins, right?


Now is where the fun begins, and the cash cow line forms to the right,  meaning at the junk coin side of the workbench.

You can do this operation as you examine the coins, as indicated above, or organize them later, into separate and distinct piles — for example, from left to right:

1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, etc. up through 1939, and then you’ll start collecting them as they come up in your search.

Oh, good luck on finding ANY 1931, 1932 or 1933 pennies in any normal search bag.

They run about $1 buck apiece — or more, even in G4 grade — so don’t be standing there with a melted ice cream cone in your hand waiting for someone to come along with those ’31, ’32 and ’33 pennies.

You’ll have to BUY a roll of each of those dates if you really want them, but you don’t have to do that at all, because you don’t actually need those coins to fulfill your destiny.

One thing you’ll discover, if you’re in the game long enough to play in the HELL levels, which is definitely where I play the game, even without a lot of money, it’s possible to play there, is that it’s far cheaper to just buy the coin than to try to find it.

Having said that, I did just find FIVE 1909-s DVBs in M-1, which is a new grade I’ve just invented, called “Miserable”. You can barely see the mint-marks and you have to scroonch down your eyeballs to see the “VDB” initials on the backs of these poor abused critters, but it IS THERE, and they’re still worth $700 in spite of their condition.

If you want to offer a complete “book” or “album” set of thirties coins, you can buy the 1931, 1932 and 1933 in ROLL PRICES, which makes them about a dollar each, or a bit more, so plan on spending around $200 to acquire those three rolls, if that’s what you want to do.

Myself, I’d much rather offer them as flipped coins in a separate transaction, so I offer the thirties as “1934-1939” for $5 bucks for the bag of six wheaties, not bad for both sides.

The way the LINCOLN SET COLLECTION goes is that you build the collection in a FOLDER first, meaning the paper type folder, which costs a whalloping $3 retail on the open book market.

For that price, you can afford to give them away to anyone who buys three or more coin sets from you, right?

There is a definite game here, but like all games, people need to be DRAWN INTO THEM, because unless a friend or group of friends is playing the game, they don’t and won’t want to join.

People like to go where other people are, wear what other people are wearing, and do what other people do.

If given their choice of doing anything they want to do, they will generally copy one another.

If you hand a person a piece of paper and a pencil, but do not give any instructions, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will write their own name over and over again on the paper.

… and I DO mean your bottom dollar.

So once you’ve organized your crap coins into piles of dates, you’ll notice a distribution pattern that could actually form a visual graph on your workbench.

In the case of the thirties coins, you’ll note that you have a LOT of 1930, one or two 1931 pennies, NO 1932 coins, a few 1933 pennies maybe, and then a whole lot of 1934, 1935, 1936, and a whole bingy-bongy bunch of 1937, slightly less of the 1938, and a lot of the 1939.

What you can do is, offer the more expensive coins in flips at a slight premium, to account for your search time, expertise and the cost of the damn flip, which you should calculate at a dollar minimum, or tell them to “go fish” in the fishbowl with all the loose raw coins.

They can have all they want at ten coins for a dollar, from the fishbowl, meaning coins that aren’t worth the trouble AND COST of packaging up either in a flip or in a display package.

You’ve gotta consider the cost of the flip, about 20 cents a pop with the shipping. It adds up fast when you’ve got a whole collection to sort out and notate and evaluate, which is all handled on the front of the flip.

Information about the coin is sometimes very important. Never wait until later to put that information on the flip, because you’re sure to forget what you saw when you bagged the coin into the flip, and the more you’re convinced you couldn’t possibly miss it, the more likely it is that you will.

Avoid that pitfall if you can.

Other pitfalls include making more selling packages than you can possibly sell in a single day, as well as not making enough of them to cover the run on the things at the local fair.

You can put these coins up in clear bags or zip-lock bags or even pop them into a tiny MUSLIN DRAW-STRING bag, which is what you put in the search line to find them wholesale — they should run about $10 a hundred, if you really get a wholesale source.

Ebay has pretty good sellers for these, if you don’t mind dealing with Hong Kong and his brother King. Me, I deal strictly with local vendors, with whom I have recourse.

By the way, I NEVER use legal means to enforce any business arrangements or contractual obligations. I simply send Max and Bud over there, and they take care of the details.

In case you’re humor and lactose intolerant, I’ll take a moment to explain that that was in the nature of a joke — don’t you get it???

October 31st — Halloween. 1938. Orson Wells’ radio broadcast of War of the Worlds caused a worldwide panic in the streets.

Yeah, because people didn’t take a moment to stop and LISTEN to the radio broadcast, or they’d have heard the explanation THREE TIMES DURING THE BROADCAST and twice afterward, that they were listening to a radio dramatization of the famous H.G. Welles early sci-fi novel.

Shouldn’t that be pronounced “NUVEL”, to rhyme with “SHOVEL”??? Or perhaps “shovel” should be pronouned “shahvel”.

These are the kinds of considerations that enter into the calculations for the next game level — I knew you’d want to know.

Back on subject, back on subject — we need to know how to make these piles of coins into cash cows, right?

Okay, let’s take one coin off each of the stacks of junk coins — one from the 1934 stack, one from the ’35, one from the ’36, one from the ’37, one from the ’38 and one from the ’39, and we’ll carefully dump them into a clear bag or zip-lock bag for sale at $5 for the set.

They’ll have to buy the ’30, ’31, ’32 and ’33 separately — a la carte, as it were. You could add the 1930 if you like — there’ll be plenty of them — but now it’s harder to write an understandable tag that tells the customer that you included the ’31, but not the ’32 or ’33, see???

So to avoid complications, I don’t mention the ’31, but then I always throw it in at the last minute as “a little present for you”.

People love to get presents, and presents and attention are the whole point of The Work, are they not???

If it’s attention and presents you want, there’s no better way to get it than to give the gift of a COINOLOGY STOCKING-STUFFER GIFT PACK at only $5 a pop for the common dates, and $10 a pack for the more exalted higher condition coins and the mint-mark collection.

Searching and selling the 1920s pennies, you’ll find a far different set of circumstances.

You’ll find fewer higher grade coins. You might not find any “FULL WHEATS” at all, but “ALMOST FULL” may just be the best you see out of that particular bag, and every bag is different, because they’re made up from bought-up collections, or rather, the remains of thoroughly plundered collections.

Your job, if you decide to accept it, is to pull QUALITY out of junk, meaning “find the higher grade coins in this pile of junk”, and with the right skills and correct attentions, you CAN do it, and I can help you prove it to yourself that you can!

Think of yourself as a Soul Searcher, a Weigher of Souls, a Judge of Souls.

Oh, don’t go giving yourself airs. It just means you sort the coins by their grade, and you’d do the same if you sorted souls — they get assigned by grade, not by appearance.

The front of the coin is nothing. It’s all in the wheats.

You’re sorting souls into different pathways, different karma, variations of personal and impersonal fate, and doing this dispassionately, with the grace of impartiality.

You’re ignoring the prettiness of the coin as seen from the portrait side. The back of the coin contains the soul of the coin, the jewel in the heart of the lotus.

It’s inexorable, the Rule of Law in the higher sense — a coin is judged by its grade.

Heart? You want heart?

There’s plenty of room for “heart” in the “Oddballs” box for those misfits that you find.

What happens next to a coin is determined by which pile they end up in through your eyes, your vision and your hands.

If you were weighing and judging souls, you’d have to go by the same rules. Think of the double wheats as angel wings, and the condition of the wings reflects the condition or “grade” of the soul.

You’ll see thousands and thousands of degraded souls go through your hands and, short of a melt-down and remake, there’s little or no hope for them.

They are doomed to return to circulation, or find a home in a folder or an album, which is your job to make happen.

You can turn a worthless piece of junk metal into a legacy collectible, and what’s more, you can help others to do the same.

When you can read a coin, you can read a person, place or situation like a book, and when you perform COINOLOGY STANDARD coin searches, you open the door to perception and knowledge, clarity and understanding, heart and mind and soul and body.

Not bad for a practice that can earn you a living at the same time, eh?

So the twenties, lessee:

Lots of 1920, 1921, but NO 1922, about which you’ll hear a lot more later. You’ll see a plentiful pile of 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929.

In fact, with the singular exception of the 1922, the twenties are easy to make into a beginner’s COMMON COINS set, meaning low grade, easy-to-find coins, if such a thing is possible, like being a disgrace to the name “Wagstaff”.

Hell, I’d horse-whip you, if I only had a horse!

That’s a Groucho line, from their hit movie, “Horse Feathers”, which refers to the roofing tile on 19th century and early 20th century Sears Catalog houses, which you’ll see being built by Laurel & Hardy in one of their 20-minute “Two-Reeler” sound “shorts”, or “short films”.

Chocolate. Back on subject.

It’s only fair to mention to your client that the 1922 NO D will cost in the thousands, and even the 1922-d is going to set them back $22 in G4 condition, but they have to have it to complete the set, so at some point, they must buy one, and they’ll end up buying it from you, in a flip, and that’s what you’re betting on.

You’ll help them get started building their album, and don’t forget that it’s a chase-game and an “improvement” game.

You’ll get them started, get their album ALMOST all filled up for a moderate — some would say “too cheap” price, and then one coin at a time, they’ll upgrade the collection from a “G4-6” collection of junk coins to a nice collection of EXTRA-FINE, EF-40 grade coins, which will be something worth writing home about.

Now, THAT’S a wonderful legacy to leave a child or grandchild — an EF-40 full collection.

Now, of course, it’s time to migrate the collection into a DANSCO album, which will cost a whole big fat $35 plus $10 bucks for the cover-case, if you want it, and I do use them to protect the book and keep it nice on the shelf.

You can store a million dollars on a bookshelf, and nobody but a coin collector or dealer will ever know.

You can carry a million dollar coin in your pocket across a border and nobody would know what you have in your pocketses.

In the TEENS collection of junk coins, you’ll have a distribution that goes something like this:

You’ll see a TON of 1910, then a moderate number of 1911,1912, and 1913, then a smaller number perhaps of 1914, then a larger  number of 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919.

Notably, the best dates to look for DDOs in that bunch will be the mint-marks for TONS of doubled and tripled RPMs, but also make it a point to do as many searches through the 1917-p NO MINT MARK coins for that “TRUST”  doubled die — can’t miss it.

The 1917 DDO is a very popular coin and a very popular and easy search, so there are a LOT of folks standing in line ahead of you — don’t expect to see tons of these, but they can be found relatively easily compared to other DDOs.

In VF grade, the variant DDO is worth about $10, while in EF-40 it brings in $1,000, and in AU-57 it can fetch $2,000. If you happen to stumble across one in MS-65 condition, and good luck on that one, it’s valued at $15,000.

The 1927 Doubled Die is worth $5 over the $1 value of the normal, and at EF-40, it’s not much better — only $15 for that, so you might as well search the lower grade if you do look for this coin, unless you happen to have a huge stack of 1927s around the house, which some folks apparently do.

The 1934 DDO is worth a big fat $50 bucks in G4 condition, and not a whole lot more in EF-40, at $75, and $100 at AU-57, and the 1935 DDO is even worse, at a lousy $10 for the variant in G4, and $50 for the AU-57.

The 1936 “LIBERTY” DDO might be worth going through all that trouble to find — it runs at about $75 on the low grade end to about $1250 on the high end, which as I said, you’ll never see come out of a search bag, box or roll, not these days.

You might see a few “GOD WE TRUST” DDOs from that same stack of 1936 coins, but it’s not very likely. If one does manage to pop out at you, it will fetch typically about $35 for the G4 grade, and $100 for the AU-57 if you can find one that sharp and clean — it needn’t be RED to qualify as a quality coin.

There’s another “GOD” DDO on the 1936, and this variety brings a little less, about $25 on the lower grade to about $75 on the AU-57 grade.

The 1939 is more scarce and much harder to spot, but it doesn’t bring as much as the others, at least, not yet — about $10 bucks for the G4 variety, up to about $12 for the EF-40, which doesn’t put it in the top of my list for searches.

If you’re looking for a cash-cow, Double Die is not the way to go.

Please believe me, it’s the sale of hundreds and thousands of little TEENS, TWENTIES, THIRTIES, FORTIES and FIFTIES Penny Collections that will make the cash register go “ka-ching, ka-ching” a million times.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention what I do with the higher grade coins.

I divide them up into “desirable” and “common” — the desirables are generally the mint-marks and the commons are in general the “straight dates”, no mint-marks, but there are exceptions, especially with the “error coin” crowd.

I put the desirables up for sale in a case, straight up, with a price-tag they can see and ready easily.

The common dates can be sold sight-unseen — actually only from the back, revealing little about the coin’s actual value, but showing off the higher grade quite clearly.

These “Mystery Coins” will be coins that customers wouldn’t typically be attracted to — they may decide to keep the coin, or they can spend it as cash in my shop — pay $1 for a “Mystery Coin” that can be worth anywhere from a minimum of $1 up to $10.

They have to apply the coin as a coupon when they win it — can’t bring it back in later, to avoid all sorts of abuses, so they pay part of their shopping bill with the coin/coupon they won on the Money Tree.

It’s a game.

The common dates in higher grade make great prizes as “Mystery Coins” for my “Money Tree” customers, or should I say, “numismatic gamers”?

Coin Hunting is a GAME, but most people don’t know that and don’t recognize it as a game even when it’s pointed out to them. It just doesn’t look anything like the games with which people are familiar.

You’ll have to use a packaging technique like I’ve done, to make it LOOK like a game, or you can use my packaging by sending for my coins and selling them in your local area.

Right now, most people don’t know that coin collecting is, and can be played like, a game.

If you want to get into the game, you can do it now, while the gates are open.

You don’t even have to search the bags. You can order the completed sets from me at true wholesale prices, actually slightly LESS THAN I PAY, and I do all the searches and identification and grading for you!


The sets listed below all come packaged and ready for resale in a hanger style or basket style system, with color insert card Certificate of Authenticity.

  • 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919 for only $2.50 for the whole set.
  • 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1929 for only $2.50 a set!!!
  • 1930, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939 for only $2.50 a set.
  • 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949 for only $2.50!
  • 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 for only $2.50!

I know, it sounds too good to be true. It’s clear that I’m selling SOME coins for less than I paid for them, but that’d be impossible to maintain for very long.

So — how can I do that?

Idiot. Haven’t you paid attention the past few decades?

I make it up in volume.

See You At The Top!!!