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Need Help Opening An Old Plastic Tube Of Lincolns

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Valued Member

United States
290 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  8:52 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add mikem007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Over time I come across 60+ year old plastic tubes where the plastic has turned yellow and shrunk. What's the problem? The tubes shrink onto the pennies making it nearly impossible to open without destroying the rims.

The role pictured is 1959 and has 100% encapsulated the role of pennies. In prior years, all my attempts destroyed the pennies.

Any ideas how to open this role?


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Australia
17901 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  9:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Deeply score a band around the middle tube to weaken it, then gently break apart with gentle bending.
Place a towel underneath, to catch coins, as they fall out.
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8096 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  9:10 pm  Show Profile   Check GrapeCollects's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GrapeCollects to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh no. I know those rolls. So. Long story short, you don't get them out. The issue with those is that the plastic shrunk to the exact diameter of the coins inside which effectively trapped them with no way out. I'm stuck with around $150 in BU 60's Lincolns that I got in a batch I ordered.
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 Posted 07/27/2020  9:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I say deeply score around the bottom of the top, pop the top off, and then bang repeatedly on the edge of the bottom until they gradually fall out on a soft surface.
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Canada
2501 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  9:43 pm  Show Profile   Check Wade's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Wade to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
if it is pliable at all, nick one end ever so gently, then blast it with a heat gun. should peel open like a banana.
if it is ridged - try freezing it and then snapping it in half like a glow-stick
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Edited by Wade
07/27/2020 9:44 pm
New Member
United States
26 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  10:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SwmpOwl011 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had a couple of those rolls a little while back and I was instructed to slowly heat roll with a heat gun which makes tubing expand and become pliable for you to remove the coins or boil coins to heat theplastic, I chose the former and worked fine for me.
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United States
290 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  11:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mikem007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The issue with those is that the plastic shrunk to the exact diameter of the coins


That is 100% correct. The plastic is actually stuck to the coin rim or vise versa. There is no sliding them out. It's going to be peel it like a banana kind of thing.

The heat gun idea doesn't sound so bad. I'm currently scraping paint off old furniture via heat gun method so I'm familiar with how hot those things can make a surface. This ain't gonna be easy.

With this coin shortage, I thought about just spending the whole role and watch the cashier struggle with opening it.
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Australia
17901 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2020  11:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If they are still stuck in the tube after breaking it in half, try
deep score along the length, and gently prize along the score with a table knife, until the tube cracks open.
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 Posted 07/28/2020  01:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Zurie to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had several BU cent rolls like that from the 1950's, and I figured out the perfect solution. I sold them as is, and let someone else deal with the problem.
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 Posted 07/28/2020  07:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh yes , a roll collectors nightmare . It's a painstaking long process but I've been just removing the cap and tap on the tube at a 45 degree angle .They'll come out slowly one or two at a time . Ugh ! I found out that by scoring the tube vertically then twist ,turn and lightly hit the tube you will have better results . But be careful not to cut your hand or fingers .
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United States
1267 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2020  3:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Big-Kingdom to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My idea.... plastic pipe cutters. You'd want to remove the top and bottom of the tube, slowly tightening to drop both off, then, one that you can pass though sideways, it's like an electric cable jacket stripper where you can set it so the blade just cuts the plastic and doesn't hit the coins, then a little tappy tap. and it should fracture with minimal damage and come apart like a clam shell.

Might not be the cheapest if you don't have these tools laying around though,
so, probably could score the tube lengthwise a few times with a razor knife without getting to the coins and then I dunno, pry at it to complete the cut?

Then there's "Hot knife". A dull edge so it doesn't scratch the rims, but hot enough to melt the plastic... a wood burning soldering iron type thing maybe?

oh and Patience. the best tool doing anything annoying and frustrating is to be patient and put it down until you are clear and calm again, the Tortoise beats the Hare.
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94433 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2020  3:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Two ideas, try at your own risk... Place in an oven on the warm setting or put inside a parked car on a hot sunny day. I think some time in either would be enough to loosen up the plastic.
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United States
2390 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2020  5:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ijn1944 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Heat gently applied--slow and easy.

Wondering... Some plastics get soft in pure acetone.

Keep us posted!
Edited by ijn1944
07/28/2020 5:10 pm
Valued Member
United States
85 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2020  9:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tnt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So I have a related question. I store a lot of nickels in tubes. Will the problem that the OP had with his pennies eventually happen with my tubes? Or is the problem more related to the type of tube originally used to store the pennies? The tubes I use were purchased within the last couple of years.
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United States
290 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2020  10:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mikem007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
or put inside a parked car on a hot sunny day


I am so doing this tomorrow. We're having 95 degree days right now in NJ. Very hot inside parked cars. I'll put that roll right on my dash, in the direct sun. If I can bust this thing open, will post an update, maybe photo tomorrow night.
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United States
223 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2020  11:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MSI2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had this problem once. My solution,. I would place the roll on dry ice. The cold should not hurt the coin. This makes the plastic very brittle. I then placed the tube on it's side and carefully hit the tube with a rubber mallet. The plastic usually shatters and the coins are free.
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