E-Sylum Feature Writer and
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this
article with a modern twist on his recent coin bag topic. Thanks!
Modern Plastic Coin Bags
When I worked for a coin dealer, we often bought current coins with no premium value that came
included with collections. We called these
spendies and dropped them into a plastic pail. When a few
pails had accumulated, it was my job to take them to our bank.
We did business with a commercial bank that had a coin counting machine. I poured coins into a hopper
and the machine sorted them, counted them and dropped them into clear plastic bags. Usually, one of the
bags would get full and the machine stopped so the bag could be replaced. I think there were two bags for
each denomination in the machine and a bank clerk would take out the full bags and replace them with
new empty bags.
The machine had bags for the current small sized dollars. Larger Eisenhower dollars were rejected and
dropped into a box inside the door of the machine. I learned to ask the clerk to check for these because
these were not included in the tally. The Eisenhower dollars were an annoyance for the bank because they
just accumulated and did not circulate.
The full bags were picked up by an armed security service that processed large volumes of coins for their
customers. These operate independently from the Federal Reserve System. A banker friend indicated that
their service provider was a secret operating at an undisclosed location.
The plastic coin bags held the same capacity as the older cloth bags.
Cents, 5000 pieces @ $50
Nickels, 4000 pieces @ $200
Dimes, 10,000 pieces @ $1000
Quarters, 4000 pieces @ $1000
Halves, 2000 pieces @ $1000
The bags did not need to be full and the quantity would be written on the bag. I was amused to note that
the bags were marked for
pennies and not cents.
Bags may be ordered from banking service companies in quantities at less than $1 per bag. The bags have
an adhesive strip to seal the bag. Unlike the reusable cloth bags, these bags are cut when opened and are
I am aware of these brand-named bags:
CoinLOK coin bags, 13 x 25 inches
Eco.S.T.A.T., single handle bag, 12 x 21 inches.
Fort Knox, single handle coin bag. 13 x 22 inches.
Fork Knox, dual handle coin bag, 14 x 23.5 inches.
Muscle Pak© bank deposit coin bag, 12 x 20 inches.
Surecoin, single handle coin bag. 12.5 x 19.75 inches.
My interest is in large bags similar to the old cloth bags. Since they are not reusable, the modern
plastic coin bags serve a different purpose than the vintage cloth bags. There are many kinds of
smaller plastic bags that can be sealed during transport for banking deposits.
The traditional cloth bags printed with the name of the U. S. Mint were sewn shut and used to
ship new coins from the Mint. Thus, the concept of an unsearched Mint sewn bag.
Way back in the Twentieth Century, large quantities of coins were taken out of parking meters
and collected from fare boxes on busses. These would be sent to the Federal Reserve Banks and
might be placed in cloth bags imprinted with the name of the various Federal Reserve Banks.
These bags of mixed used coins would be shipped to customers.
Thousands of local banks had their names printed on cloth bags that could be used to provide
coins for customers and for customers to send coins in for deposits. I have also seen bags printed
with the names of transit companies and casinos.
Many coin dealers had their names printed on cloth bags. Our company used imprinted cloth
bags to ship 90% silver coins, wheat cents, bulk world coins or anything similar. We also used
plastic zip-lock bags and other strong plastic bags for shipments.
All the printed cloth bags are collectable. Are the plastic bags collectible? Well, I currently have
two in my collection but I suspect that is unusual.
Here in the big city, fare boxes and parking meters have card readers. Coins may be becoming
obsolete. Perhaps some future numismatic historian will find this article and appreciate that I
documented the current usage of plastic coin bags.
Indeed - as I often say, the time to collect and document numismatic history is at the time it's being made. Thanks, Pete!
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NEWMAN PORTAL ADDS U.S. MINT COIN BAG GUIDE
MODERN BALLISTIC COIN BAGS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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