Counting and Organizing Coin Currency

A coin is a piece of metal or, less commonly, some other material (such as leather or porcelain) certified by a mark or marks upon it as having a specific intrinsic or exchange value. Coins have been prized, hoarded and buried for safekeeping throughout history and their discovery has often revealed interesting information about economic and social history.

In modern times, currency is minted by governments for circulation and used as legal tender in transactions. It is also widely collected as a hobby and an investment. A coin is typically circular, but it can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some coins are shaped like nuts, acorns and other objects. Others are square or polygonal and still others have wavy edges.

Coins that are minted for general use have a nominal (face) value of a specific amount of money, while those issued as collectibles or for other purposes are usually valued more by their precious metal content than by their face value. The value of a coin may also vary by its weight and the metals it contains. For example, when copper prices rose, some one-cent coins became worth more for their raw metal value than their monetary value.

Counting and organizing a collection of coin currency can be difficult and time-consuming, but there are several tricks to help the process go more smoothly. For example, it is helpful to sort and count the coins by type before banding them together. This makes it easier to see what you have and eliminates mistakes. It’s also a good idea to double-check the stacks once they are bundled and ready to be banded to make sure you counted everything correctly.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has caused fewer people to shop and bank, there has been a shortage of circulating coin. Businesses have been having trouble making change, and some low-income families that rely on cash payments are struggling. The Federal Reserve is trying to increase the availability of coin by capping the number of coins that are ordered and encouraging people to bring their spare change to banks and other depositories. It has also called on consumers to help by using exact change for purchases, depositing coins at their banks and turning them in at coin kiosks. The St Louis Fed is committed to helping the country get back to normal as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is advising people to use debit and credit cards rather than cash as much as possible. This will reduce the demand for coins and help alleviate some of the problems that could result from a slowdown in the economy. We hope you find this information useful. Please share it with others if you found it useful, and consider subscribing to the blog so you can receive updates as they are posted. Heather Hennerich is a senior editor with the External Engagement and Corporate Communications division of the St Louis Fed. Her blog, Consumer Matters, explores everyday economics and consumer topics.