Tag Archives: coins

Tips For Finding Loose Change

Geek!This is submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Are you a coin geek like me? Or are you saving up for a new gadget? Finding money that people have left, forgotten, or lost is really quite fun, and it can quickly become a habit. So, whether you’re looking for some loose change to help you get just a bit closer to being able to buy your next new gadget, you’re trying to find some money so you can keep your home, or just because the ride home can be really boring, here is my how-to guide for finding lost money.

When you are riding home from work in a bus or train, check under the seats, where change can be dropped while loading baggage or sitting down. Also check between the seats, as it is really easy for a few quarters to fall out without you even knowing.

When in public, check the not-so-obvious places. I’m talking about really not obvious places, like at furniture stores. Pretend you are looking at the rocking mechanism of the chair out for demo, while you really scour the ground under the chair for change lost by people who have sat in the chair. Also check similar places like under movie theater seats and park benches. Another one of my recently-discovered places is on top of phone booths. Yes, the return drawer is pretty common, but sometimes unknowing victims will place their change on top of the machine and simply forget to pick it up when they’re finished. Another place that usually has a good turnout is in a parking lot. When entering and exiting a vehicle, the angle sometimes causes change to fall from the pocket to the asphalt.

Then of course, there are the just plain strange (and sometimes, gross) places. When at a drive thru for a fast food restaurant, look under the window where you pay the cashier. If you don’t really want to appear to be exiting your car for no apparent reason, drop a coin of your own and retrieve your coin and your newfound treasure. But, be very careful, because there are all sorts of items that can be found under these windows. Check in storm drains and in places where puddles of water form in parking lots, as it’s easy for a coin to be washed into the crated in a hard rain.

If you are a student, check your cafeteria. While eating and being distracted, it fairly easy for that dollar or dime to slip out of your pocket. If your school has drink machines, go up to them and press the change return button, people commonly forget to take their change. Also, if your school has lockers, check under them. If a person has recently put some money in their pocket, it can slide out, especially if it’s a dollar bill. Then of course, there are field trips. After everyone has moved on to other places, snoop around the gift shop or other places requiring money to enter or use.

I hope you are successful in finding loose money, so you can do whatever you want, and enjoy your new hobby!

Collectors Collect Collectables

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Do you hoard things in the hopes that someday they might be worth something? Here are some tips sent in by a reader to help you decide what is worth keeping… and what isn’t.

  • Figure out what will have more value in the future. If you are trying to collect something that can be easily reproduced in the future, chances are the value will be less than what it is now. Most media, such as music, movies and games won’t have high resale value in the future. Also, anything technology-related that will have newer and better versions in the future likely won’t be worth much, either. However, if something cannot easily be reproduced, it should have much higher value. Things in this area would be things like stamps and coins. In fifty years’ time, those current state quarters will be worth much more than just 25 cents.
  • Know where to check prices. For movies, games and things of this nature… check eBay to see what similar items are currently being sold for. For coins or stamps, try checking out a local dealer in your area, or do a Google search for a reputable site online that will give you approximate values.
  • Cars made today will not gain the popularity (and resale value!) of the old muscles cars. This is due to the freaky obsession that “car people” have with older models. When you think of a ‘gear head’, it’s generally someone who is tuning a souped-up engine, with a muscle car chassis. Most of the popluar cars will be the ones that were features in tv shows and movies. Newer cars just don’t have that “driving a monster” feel that classic cars had.
  • Technology makes for bad investments. Even though a Mac might have a better resale value than a PC, it too will dwindle down when the newest OS no longer supports it. Ask yourself this question: when is the last time you saw an old tv, computer or CD player sell for a large amount ten or twenty years after it was replaced by something newer and better? There’s your answer.
  • Keep your items in good condition. Time is the enemy of everything. It wears our bodies down, and it will wear down the items you’re trying to collect. If you take good care of your items and store them properly, they will be worth much more money down the road.

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Coins: Money in the Bank

Gabor Bognar submitted further feedback on collecting coins:

Chris, I’ve spent some time looking at this issue, though I’m not myself a numismatist. For the avoidance of doubt I’m not expressing an opinion on the attractiveness of this asset class, just sharing some of the information I’ve found:

Robert Brown wrote a study on the long-term rate of return on rare coins in the Journal of Financial Planning in August 2005.The Professional Coin Grading Service (a division of Collectors Universe, Inc.) publishes various coin price indexes, including historical data back to 1970. The US Coin Values Advisor website, maintained by Daniel J. Goevert, publishes price and rate of return tables for individual coins by grade starting from 1950.

As an economist, I’d say that price indexes of the type presented above may overstate the rate of return available to investors even if the underlying data and the index calculation methodologies are correct. This is due to the fact that price indexes do not capture some expenses a coin investor will inevitably incur: transaction costs, insurance, storage. However, in the absence of available data I cannot quantify the impact of these expenses.

And so did Jim Parker, responsible for Product Marketing & Management for Samsung’s CDMA, UMTS & Mobile WiMAX Wireless Infrastructure product lines:

No, in my opinion is a bad investment as the bid & ask spreads are too high! You can buy: stocks, bonds, real estate and even gold w/o incurring the high bid & ask spreads that you have in collectables. If you want to collect coins, so be it — just do not do it as an “investment” as you will not likely make any money,