Two years ago I blogged about the last time I tried to convert a few hundred dollars worth of change into money (link). I pointed out how at a local bank it costs 7-10 cents on the dollar to trade in pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters for paper money. On recommendation of my friend Lowell this time I tried coinstar. Which chargers 9.8 cents on the dollar for the change to paper conversion. As Lowell pointed out you could also get a gift certificate for the full amount.
My guess is that Coinstar can buy gift certificates for 90-95 cents on the dollar, since they are willing to offer the 1 to 1 conversion. As websites like GiftCardRescue.com a gift card can often be had for 90 cents on the dollar.
So I got the gift certificate through Amazon, since we've been buying a lot more stuff there lately for Sylvia or to avoid going shopping with a baby along.
Final thought with a new crawling baby who likes to put objects in her mouth I'm changing my stance on saving the penny.