Check your change! You may find historic and potentially valuable old money when hundreds of rare coin dealers across the country deliberately put into circulation tens of thousands of collectible coins, some a century old.

The “Great American Coin Hunt is one of the activities planned during the 96th annual National Coin Week on April 21-27, 2019. The theme of this year’s National Coin Week is “Discover the Past, Envision the Future.”

National Coin Week is sponsored by the nonprofit American Numismatic Association to celebrate the historical, cultural, artistic, and economic importance of money as well as the enjoyment of coin and paper money collecting, according to the National Coin Week coordinator Andy Dickes. 

“The designs, denominations, and metallic content of coins tell us a great deal about civilizations, past and present, such as famous and not-so-famous political and historical figures, important events and landmarks,” said Gary Adkins, president of the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based American Numismatic Association.

The association, along with hundreds of local coin clubs and individual collectors, will be setting up exhibits across the country to promote coin collecting and the collection of related items such as paper money, tokens, and medals. Historic, old money will be deliberately placed into circulation by more than 200 members of the group Coin Dealers Helping Coin Dealers to encourage people to closely look at their money.

“There will be tens of thousands of old coins, from century-old Indian Head and early Lincoln cents to vintage silver dimes and quarters, as well as older paper money going into circulation,” said Rob Oberth, coordinator of the Great American Coin Hunt. “Even ‘common’ silver dimes have more than a dollar’s worth of silver, and each silver quarter-dollar is worth at least $2.50. Some of the rare coins going into circulation may have a collector value of $100 or more.”

No silver has been used for dimes and quarters struck for circulation since 1965 and for circulating half dollars since 1971.

National Coin Week, observed every third week of April, was established in 1923 to attract the general public to the hobby of coin collecting. For additional information about National Coin Week, visit NationalCoinWeek.org