BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Recycling Cash and Coins
Berkeley Parents Network >
Charity, Donations & Recycling >
Recycling Cash and Coins
My husband has managed to accumulate about ten dollars'
worth of pennies. What does one do with pennies these days?
Roll them and take them to a bank? Do schools ever do penny
drives any more?
You can take pennies to a machine in a lot of big grocery
stores, like Lucky or Safeway. You pour them in, and it gives
you a voucher you take to the cashier to get cash. The machine
takes other coins, too. You pay a small percentage to the
machine to do this, but it certainly beats counting and
rolling them and then trying to get the bank to acknowledge
that you counted correctly!
This might just be my mild OCD talking, but I roll all my
change once a year or so and find the monotony of it
incredibly cathartic. My parents used to have me do it as
a ''chore'' when I was a kid, and would then let me have the
proceeds when I was finished. If your child is old
enough, it's great practice with counting and stacking,
and putting them into the paper rolls is good motor skill
The alternative is those ''CoinStar'' machines at some
groceries. The upside is that you just toss your coins in
and the machine does all the work. The downside is that
the machine then takes a percentage of your money for its
Whichever way you go, never pay for paper coin sleeves
(some office supply stores sell them). You can always get
them free from your bank.
the School of the Madeleine in Berkeley on Berryman Street
welcomes penny collection donations, and send them to
inner-city Catholic schools--they will be collecting coins
again next school year, 2012-2013.
penny-free (for now)
Find a local school participating in Good Cents
(www.goodcentsforoakland.org) - they'll donate your pennies
to a worthy cause. Or take them to the nearest CoinStar
machine (at your grocery store, etc. - www.coinstar.com) and
turn them into gift cards for yourself or donate them to
charity through their Counts that Count program.
You can take your unrolled pennies to a grocery store that
has a Coinstar machine. It will deduct a small percentage
of the total (about 2%) but you will get the rest in cash.
Also, my credit union has a machine that accepts unrolled
coins. The machine automatically counts the coins, spits
out a receipt and I take it to the teller for the cash.
Check with your bank.
rolled coins are obsolete
Schools, churches, and other community organizations definitely do penny
drives. My son's school did Pennies for Patients, the church we attend did a
campaign to help prevent malaria in 3rd world countries, and I'm sure if you
looked around your neighborhood, you could find a similar organization doing a
similar campaign. Good luck.
The Safeway on College Ave and the one at 51st and Broadway
(possibly others as well, but I am sure about those two) have
machines where you exchange your change. You have to choose
what you'd like to exchange it for: if for a cash voucher (to
use in Safetway, I think), there is a small charge. I chose
an Amazon credit - no charge for that - and it worked just
fine. The machine will walk you through all of your options.
I turned in something like $75 worth of change!
Exchanged my Change!
Ask for penny roll paper holders at your bank. Then fill and
return to the bank for dollars. Don't bother with coinstar,
it will take a huge cut of your money. I ''earn'' about ten to
fifteen dollars a year this way.
When we moved, we took twenty-five years of collected
pennies to WellsFargo.
The teller put them into sacks and sent them off to be counted.
A deposit appeared in our WFB account: Lots-a-dollars
Easy peesy !
Sure didn't want to move those pennines !
There are Coinstar machines around town where, for 10%, you can just
exchange them for bills. There's one in the Lucky in Montclair but you might
google to find others.
Signed, Coin dumper.
What funny timing. My son's school just kicked off a ''pennies for patients''
fundraiser to support cancer research. It is a preschool and I am really
happy they are doing this both to teach about social causes and also
money basics. I'd live to take the pennies off your hands to give to my son
Alternatively, you can separate them into $1 bags and use them. I've done
this before. I wouldn't use more than a dollars worth of
pennies at a time, usually at a coffee shop. I would tell the cashier it was a
dollar and they would accept it.
My bank laughed when they saw I had put my coins in rolls. They've got the
machine to count coins, and deposit it right into my account.
I used to travel a lot for the past couple of decades and
I've collected a bin of smaller denomination bills and coins
from where I've been. I'm clearing out and I don't think I
want this anymore. What should I do with it? Throw it away?
-mail it back?
Have you thought about donating to a local elementary
school? I've got coins and bills from various countries and
my boys love to look at them and ask questions. They are a
good conversation starter about what it's like to be in
I'd be happy to donate to one of my kids classes on your
behalf if you don't have the time to do this. Contact the
moderator for my email if interested.
Give them to a child you know. People used to give me foreign coins when I was
a child, and I ended up with a wonderful, interesting collection. I still have
Or, donate them to a school.
British Airways has a program to collect change from
passengers and then uses the funds for charitable efforts
and I think Lufthansa has a similar one -- don't know if any
US airlines have such programs. You may be able to take the
collection to one of the counters at SFO and it will be put
to good use.
Have you thought about having your collection appraised at
a collectables place? There's one near the bottom of
Solano Ave, I think. I don't know if it would be worth
anything, but it might be worth looking into. If you end
up giving it away, I'd love to talk to you about the coins-
my 8-yr old collects coins from around the world (and she
has a bday coming up).
Our tooth fairy gives foreign coins. She's a world traveler, and she usually
includes a little geography/culture/time zone info/lessons in her note back.
It's a lot of fun and there's no competition for how much $ her friends get.
I'll consider buying your coins/bills if it's not too expensive!! It would help
explain away the fact that our tooth f has only been where i've been
No, throw away! Bad for environment!!! Coin and Paper
money are still a collector's dream. Below you can call
Foster's Coin Company, and they will let you know what you
have and they will tell you what they can offer for them.
Or you can sell on ebay!
Foster's Coin & Stamp Company
2189 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
If you're willing to give them away, just post them on craigslist and you will
million takers. I for one would love them! If you are not bothered by the idea
children playing with real money, I have a small school and the coins would be
great in the dramatic play area as part of a multicultural environment.
If not me, try some other schools.
The Tooth Fairy that visits my brother's house brings only
foreign coins, which I think is very nice.
I've heard of various non-profit organizations that take
random currencies, but couldn't find anything just now on
Google. (I remember collections being taken up on
international flights...) Maybe you could donate them to
Red Cross or some organization like that, that works in
I also traveled a lot and had the same situation. I put
all the bills into two giant collages (I grouped them by
country/region) and framed them. I bought some standard
LARGE poster board, then used some adhesive to attach each
bill; the frames are DIY from a frame store and I get LOTS
of compliments. The coins are more difficult -- I put
mine into a large binder, putting each coin into a pocket
of a 35mm slide sheet, but that stays in the closet. Hope
You can donate it to UNICEF: http://www.unicefusa.org/donate/other-ways-to-
You could post to the Berkeley Parents Network ''Marketplace' newsletter about
having a donation of foreign currency..in fact, just with the past 2 months I
believe someone asked for a donation of the same, for a child or classroom or
something like that.
Find a teacher at a elementary school who would like them.
Give them to Depot for Creative Reuse (great place to
donate all kinds of stuff you just know you shouldn't throw
Post them under the Free heading at BPN's Marketplace.
I'm sure lots of people collect foreign money!
My parents travel a lot and they save the coins and give them to my sister
for the tooth fairy. When her daughter loses a tooth the fairy leaves a
small amount of US Currency as well as a coin from somewhere else.
They talk about how the tooth fairy has just been to x country and then
they look it up on the map. It's a fun idea if you have kids the right age.
this page was last updated: Jun 6, 2013
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network