Why you should examine your spare change this week

Most of us don’t give much thought to the spare change rolling around in our pockets, but for the next few days, you might want to give your coins a once-over.

Sunday marked the start of the Great American Coin Hunt, a treasure hunt intended to celebrate rare and vintage coins.

If the venture sounds niche, that’s because it is. But the hunt hopes to “spark interest in numismatics (the study or collection of currency) to a brand new demographic,” according to the press release, by putting special coins in the hands of those who probably can’t distinguish a buffalo nickel from a silver mercury dime.

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Taking place during National Coin Week, the coin hunt sees hundreds of coin dealers and collectors drop over one million collectible coins back into circulation. They can be found at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores around the country. Some have called the new event the “biggest coin drop in history.”

“In many cases, this is going to be the first time in over one hundred years that some of these coins will be brought back to their glory and used for their originally intended purposes,” said Rob Oberth, organizer of the Great American Coin Hunt, in a statement. The original purpose of the coins is, of course, spending them.

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In addition to vintage coins — many of which date to the 1800s — the organizers will also release 250 holographic medallions, to be redeemed for “numismatic rarities” at participating coin shops in the U.S. Five “Golden Tickets” will also be distributed and can be redeemed for “truly rare coins” valued up to $1,000. (You can redeem your golden ticket at www.GreatAmericanCoinHunt.com.)

Some coin distributors have begun posting the locations of their coin drops on this map. It includes five Bay Area locations.

Read Michelle Robertson’s latest stories and send her news tips at michelle.robertson@sfgate.com

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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/great-american-coin-hunt-locations-money-rare-13789297.php.

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