Scott and I keep a big jar of loose change. We usually let it fill up and just take it to a Coinstar machine and accept the 10% charge. But this time we ignored the jar until it was overflowing and we’d moved on to just adding to the pile of change next to the jar. I suspected we had over $200 and didn’t really want to give Coinstar $20. So we counted and rolled it ourselves. I discovered that some banks (First Tech Credit Union here in Seattle) will let you hand over a big bag of coins and they’ll run through a sorting machine. But not our bank, of course. Our bank did give us as many free coin rolls as we could possibly want.
Lauren (thanks Lauren!) pointed me towards this page on the distribution of coin types in a jar that estimates mixed coins would average out to $12.96 a pound. I wanted to know how our jar compared so I kept notes. One thing, we regularly took quarters out of the jar to use for parking meters.
Total weight before sorting: about 22 pounds and 3 ounces
Number of rolled tubes (all had a few coins left over):
Quarters: 13 tubes
Dimes: 14 tubes
Nickels: 10 tubes
Pennies: 24 tubes
Number of one dollar coins: 7
Number of fifty cent pieces: 1
Canadian coins: $1.98 cents (one dollar coin, two quarters, four dimes, one nickel, three pennies)
Number of wheat pennies: 4
Oldest penny: 1936
Non-monetary: two guitar picks, two rubber bands, one small washer
Too disgusting to touch: approximately twenty pennies and one very beat up dime
Amount per pound: just over $11.27
Worth the time spent rolling the coins? Yes. A partner and a glass of wine and the exercise of counting out pennies is very satisfying.
Total bankable amount: $248.02
This will go into our sofa fund (I secretly think of it as half the cost of the matching ottoman). Our coins averaged to just a little over $11.27 per pound, less than the $12.96 average and probably the result of our poaching quarters out of the jar to use for parking. So there we go, next time we are eyeing our pile of change and trying to decide if the fee for the Coinstar is worth the convenience we can weigh things out and have a good idea.
Note: Coinstar doesn’t take the 10% if you exchange your coins for a gift certificate to a number of places, including Amazon, Starbucks and iTunes.