Coin Prospecting

Zombie Family Backyard Jamboree yielded some great coin finds.

What is Gorby’s Money Laundry?

It’s about getting a clean box of coins without the crud, and you’ll find out all about it at the end of this little dissertation, but let’s let that happen as it will, and meantime dive into the meat-and-potatoes of Soul Search & Rescue through Coinology Searches.

It’s not enough to just find a great coin — you must learn now how to sell your treasures, and the best way to go about that is to create your very own unique personal Coin Kiosk.

You don’t need a store — you can get a space in our gallery, or perhaps you know a local merchant who will give you some space in their shop either for a single day or sometimes permanently, with your very own spot in the shop. This is called a “Trunk Show”, and you share the profits with the store owner — a fair split would be 50% of the selling price, but some merchants will give you a better percentage just to get your additional business through their front door.

In any business, wholesale, retail or service, the whole thing rests on NEW customers, not one-offs or random customers. You want and need repeat business, and that means happy customers.

The new business model, particularly in China, is to one-off everything and abandon ship, build a different factory, do something totally different each production cycle — that way, you’re never stuck with old inventory, but the downside is that you have to reinvent your factory every couple of months, and your salespeople never know what you’ll be exporting next.

Here are the basics for your Coin Kiosk:

  • DISPLAY CASE — You’ll need the right kind of coin case, one that isn’t too heavy, has a lock on it, can be carried easily in and out of a show or shop, and will accommodate both the coins and the flip boxes, which is a rare combination of abilities.
  • TRAYS — There is a standard tray that goes into your standard size standard shape coin display case. The technology is exact, so don’t waste time and money trying to duplicate the wheel. It already exists and is far cheaper than a home-crafted unit.
  • INSERTS — These go inside your trays, and can be flat or divided — the divisions can be anywhere from an inch on the inside up to two inches or a little more, which is great for front-on displays of flip cards, pocket watches or keychains. Inserts for coins and jewelry are always black, although if you want to experiment and lose money trying to find a better solution than the classic one, go right ahead.
  • FOLDING TABLE — This has to be lightweight and easy to carry into and out of fairs and storefronts, plus STURDY, STURDY, STURDY. Coins weigh a hell of a lot, and your table mustn’t collapse in the middle of a sale, and it should be steady enough to withstand the tides of pressure from shoving and pushing crowds passing your kiosk booth.
  • TABLECLOTH — Treat this like an altar cloth and you’ll be right. It needs to be black, and you’ll actually need two of them, one for the table, and the other for when something horrible happens involving an uncapped soft drink and a melted ice cream bar.
  • SIGNS & PORTENTS — Well, maybe I meant “Signs & Posters”, but you get the idea — you’ll need some sort of visible equivalent of the busker’s call, “Hey, folks, something incredible is just about to happen right over here!!!”. The sign for the table should be a foam-core backed “poster print”, available easily from Staples. The poster can be printed by Red Bubble — the very largest they sell will cost hardly anything, and can be plastered on your outside window.

The poster or posters made for Coinology Kiosks should feature some lucky winner posing with their prize, OR a huge blowup of the mint error coin they found, or both.

For example:

1914-d Lincoln Wheat-Ear Back U.S. Cent valued at $3,200.

“I found this incredible and rare 1914-d Lincoln penny worth more than $3,200, and you can, too!!!”

When people ask, tell them about coin search, and set them down at the velvet pad to try it now.

Place a handful of coins in front of them. I have prepared rolls for this purpose, inside of which will always be a “goodie” coin that they can find.

If and when they do find it — and there’s no reason you can’t kibitz with your own helpful hints. You’re not allowed to tell, but there’s nothing that says you can’t point.

I can send packets for searching, as well as clean search bags of circulation coins. I sell a clean bag of 1,000 pennies for only $25.

You think that’s a rotten deal? I make a big fat $15 for taking a vacuum to the pile of coins. What I remove is all the junk, the stuff that, no matter what it is, is worthless.

That’s basically it. What you get is your box of pennies back, less the junk coins, the garbage, the obviously unsuitable applicants.

Think of it as a personnel service that interviews candidates for a job before they even get to the personnel director.

By the time the coins get to you, they’re 90% of the way to the market. It’s up to you how they get packaged and sold, unless you want to take some of my hints on the subject.

I can send you a packet of “for sale” coins in flips, in acrylic capsules, in enhanced capsules with packaging and much, much more, all of which promote our goals.

You can get “READY FOR SALE” packets of:

  • U.S. COINS — Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters, Halves & Dollars & more & exonumia such as Civil War Tokens and Post-Colonials.
  • TREASURE COINS — Guaranteed Authentic Pirate Treasure — these are bronze coins that date anywhere from about 1590 to 1800, and were actually found — no kidding — in shipwrecks off the coast of Florida.
  • COLONIALS & POST-COLONIALS — Rare U.S. coins that were produced at or around the time of the American Revolutionary War of Independence.
  • ANCIENT GREEK COINS — These incredible ancient treasures come in three flavors — bronze, silver and gold, and are shown only by appointment or at a coin show.
  • ROMAN COINS — Again, three flavors — bronze, silver and gold, and these are also shown only by appointment or at a specific coin show.
  • PHOENICIAN COINS — These are generally bronze coins, fairly inexpensive.
  • JEWISH COINS — These can range anywhere from $20 a coin all the way up to Leptons that can cost in the tens of thousands, of which I have zero on hand, but can get them easily from my friend in Tel-Aviv.
  • CHRISTIAN COINS — Gotta have some Christian coins on hand, if you’re going to deal coins in Amerika, and I do have a very few Byzantine coins at around $2,000 apiece, shown by appointment only.
  • KNIGHTS TEMPLAR — These are incredible bronze coins that were actually found at the Fortress of Sidon, and are available at prices anywhere from $50 apiece up to $450 for the best of the best.
  • CHINESE COINS — These I haven’t stocked up yet, but I’m likely to do so, since we get a LOT of visitors in town from China, and I have a terrific wholesale source of Chinese coins.

Things That Sell Well Alongside Coins

  • METEORITES — Meteorites are very attractive to your average coin customer, and you would do well to carry a few stony and the majority iron, because that’s what most folks expect, is iron. I have a combo of cheapo meteorites at $3 bucks a pop, plus some high-end specimens that can bring upwards of $350.
  • CRYSTALS — Oh, yes, crystals are a MUST for any Coin Kiosk, and I have a family of friends who actually mine the stuff out in Arkansas, pronounced “arkensaw”, if you’re not familiar with all the inland states. Another feature is that the land above the mine is permanently leased to a Native American tribe that uses the land for their ceremonial rituals.
  • WATCHES — Particularly pocket watches or any antique or unusual handmade or artist’s watch will do well right next to coins.
  • KEYCHAINS — A coin keychain is just the thing for that enthusiastic coin buyer at your table.
  • D&D FIGURINES — I have thousands of them, mostly dating back to the beginning of D&D, mostly from Mithril Figures, and they’re all for sale, and go great with a display of coins! They sell for an average of $3 to $10 each.
  • ANTIQUITIES — Yes, ancient stuff, Objects of Daily Use, burial items, jewelry, all sorts of ancient clutter, and I wouldn’t be without a few ancient Roman bronze belt buckles and a clasp for your toga.
  • NECKTIES & WALLETS — Right next to the coins could be neckties and wallets. The same people who want the coins will want the ties and wallets.
  • BENCH-WARMER SPORTS CARDS — Believe it, the coin buyers will want these, too.
  • CQR RADIO GEAR — In fact ANY radio gear, including spare parts for crystal radios, will do well in the company of coins.
  • MINIATURE TRAIN SETS — Tiny Z-Scale Locomotives are often smaller than a walnut, and look great next to coins and collections of coins. Some locos and train sets can run into the tens of thousands, but there are some great ones out there at less than $400 for a fabulous Marklin.
  • RARE & ANCIENT BEADS — Ancient beads are a natural with coins, and provide you with a great marketing base for both men and women.
  • ANTIQUE PHOTOS — Placing some DAGS and other early photos in your Kiosk will probably yield you some interesting sales and contacts for other items beyond the scope of coins.
  • SPORTS MEMORABILIA — I have a collection of sports items for my shop — golf balls signed by my friends Bill Shatner, Jill St. John and Don Adams and the baseballs signed by Jimmy Piersall and Robin Williams are not for sale, nor is the glove signed to me by my grandfather’s friend Sugar Ray Leonard is also clearly marked “Not For Sale”, but I have many other sports items that are very collectible and very much “For Sale”, at extremely fair prices.
  • SMALL INSTRUMENTS — Harmonicas go really, really well in the company of coins, and I’ve got some handmade kazoos and flutes and recorders to go with them.
  • GUITARS — If you hang a few rare guitars around the shop, you’ll get clients for your guitar classes, and possibly sell a few guitars, but be sure to buy the right ones, and buy them right. I have four Martins, none of which are for sale, plus 8 more guitars including an American-Made Stratocaster that is my main instrument, none of which are for sale, but I DO have some very nice guitars that are going in the shop when I have time to prepare them for sale — new strings, bridge & neck adjustments, that sort of thing.

There are a LOT more things that go well with coins, and I’ll be adding to the list as we work together toward a new frontier.

I figure you’ll probably agree to survive into the 21st century, at least a little, so you’ll want some guidelines and a way to work that gives you work results and earns you a living at the same time.

Coinology does the trick.


Of course the Mother Ship never arrives until it’s too late — ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch — a Roger Price Droodle that became a Frank Zappa hit single back in the day.

“Amazing Coin Curiosities”

That’s the notice you want to put up somewhere, but don’t expect to get their attention without the money angle, which is why the POSTER has to have the coin value clearly stated and boldly noted.

I’m planning a “Coin Prospector’s Newsletter” that specializes in oddball and mint error variants and the adventures of coin prospectors everywhere, which includes you.

If it doesn’t include you, all this is for nothing.

The whole point is not to move product, but to introduce a new way of seeing. If you can actually SEE a coin, you can see the Kingdom.

One hint while searching — slow your motions down to an almost unbearably slow crawl.

Treat each coin spread as if it were a card-hand, and each coin as if it were a card. This also works well with large groups of people, particularly if you inform them that you’re aware of their true nature — “Why, you’re nothing but a pack of cards!!!” will always get a result, sometimes a lynch mob will suddenly rise up and demand satisfaction.

Did it ever occur to you that “date rolls”, which are high-grade coins anyway, could be searched for errors?

I assure you, they haven’t been searched by me — I merely sort by date and am totally indifferent to the money values and money issues, and if I happen to see a DDO go by — and I often do — I simply ignore it and continue sorting.

It’s up to YOU to find it and take advantage of your skills to market the coin for its actual value. That value would be unrealized if not for YOUR vigilance.

In your Kiosk, you can display your greatest treasures and offer FREE coin-search classes so they can get rich, too, from their pocket change, just like YOU did, see???

It all starts with a box of Lincoln pennies, from your local bank.

You’ll find “nuggets” in those piles of coins, and those nuggets are worth actual money, and you can take that to the bank and bet it on the horses.

By the way, I should tell you how I turned my penny collection into millions of dollars.

I saved and saved and saved pennies for years, and finally took my entire penny collection to the bank and cashed them in, then I took the dollar and bought a lottery ticket, which yielded $15,220,000 which I gave to my mother, so she wouldn’t go hungry.

Seriously, I never take money for myself — I know better, and play harder when I have little or none.

You can display your “Catch O’ The Day” in your front window, and it can be for sale or not, as you wish.

Okay, you’ve stayed with me this long, you deserve a treat. Here’s the Absolute Rundown on Coin Search Technique.


  1. PRIMARY TARGET — High-Grade Oddballs. I go for MS-66 or MS-67, and the oddness has to be supportable, which means CONECO listings only.
  2. SECONDARY TARGET — Low-Grade Oddballs, which for me means anything below MS-66.
  3. TERTIARY TARGET — High-Grade Date Coins for Significant Date Jewelry.
  4. QUATERNARY TARGET — Search Rolls of “Probable Cause” coins, those that have the most likelihood of yielding mint errors common to those dates. Some dates are more likely to have errors than others, and we don’t search the fruitless ones.

My highest grade coins are my “Best Odds”, which sell for $5 apiece to students and market prices to others, generally around $35-$50 or more.

I don’t bother with medium-grade anythings.

You are welcome to market my finds as well as your own, if you wish, in your locality — I’m finding lots of market here already, and will soon have more work than I can personally do, but that’s the nature of the beast — once you start finding nugget coins, they’ll come pouring down out of Heaven.

Take the opportunity to search pennies, while you still can. If Donald Trump asks his advisors what he might do that would cause the greatest upset, they might well mention the elimination of pennies from circulating coins.

Pennies cost more than a penny to make, is the reasoning behind the penny pinchers in Congress, but of course it matters not how much they cost — they are merely markers in the marketplace.

No amount of argument will prevail.

As happened in Canada, the penny will go down in history as a “lost coin” — that is, until the next Great Depression & Bank Failures, which will bring prices back to what I call reasonable — a nickel should buy you lunch.

Come to think of it, the right nickel could get a kid through college.

Gorby’s Money Laundry

You send me a box or two of horridly foul, disgusting and filthy pennies, and I “dumpster dive” into the bank box or boxes and proceed to scour out the “bad” coins, the cruddy and obviously worthless coins, right down to the good stuff.

What you get in the end is ALL the high-grade coins with ALL the oddballs and mint errors and searchable dates and EVERYTHING, except the kitchen sink, which is a bunch of horrible coins that, even were they error coins, would be all-but-worthless.

All you get is the nice, clean laundered money, far fewer coins than started out in that box, and I dump all of those nice clean coins into a bag and ship the bag to you to figure out.

Gorby’s Valet Service

In this version of the Money Laundry, you ONLY get the high-grade and low-grade oddballs and errors, no “date” coins at all, easier for me, less complicated for you, but it does leave you out of the “dating game” loop.

If you’re ever going to need those “date” coins, say so now, not after.

Cost to have your money laundered?

A free-will donation to the Angel Fund will be thanks enough.

See You At The Top!!!