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Did you know that a 1948 nickel is worth more than face value?
It’s true! In fact, some 1948 nickels are worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
See which 1948 Jefferson nickels are worth the big bucks…
1948 Jefferson Nickel Values
There are 3 different types of circulating 1948 nickels — they were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.
Any 1948 Jefferson nickel that was struck at the Denver or San Francisco Mint will show a little “D” (Denver) or “S” (San Francisco) mintmark. The mint mark is located to the right of the Monticello building on the reverse (back side) of the coin near the rim.
Here are the values for these 3 types of 1948 Jefferson nickels…
1948 No Mintmark Nickel Value (Philly)
This is the most common of the 3 different 1948 Jefferson nickels — with a mintage of 89,348,000 specimens. They’re still common enough that plenty exist for collectors, yet they are relatively scarce in circulation and carry a small premium over face value.
Circulated 1948 nickels are worth 10 to 20 cents each. Uncirculated specimens have a value of 80 cents to $1.50.
The most valuable 1948 Jefferson nickel was graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) as an MS67 with Full Steps and sold for $3,736.25.
1948-D Nickel Value (Denver)
The 1948-D nickel was struck at the Denver Mint and has a mintage of 44,734,000. While scarcer than the Philadelphia issue, the 1944-D Jefferson nickel isn’t considered rare. However, it’s scarce enough that it’s difficult to find in pocket change and does have some additional value beyond its five-cent face value.
Worn 1948-D Jefferson nickels are worth 15 to 50 cents, while uncirculated examples trade for $1.25 to $2.50.
The record price for a 1948-D nickel is $6,325, and it was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as an MS67 Full Steps.
1948-S Nickel Value (San Francisco)
The rarest of the 3 Jefferson nickels is the 1948-S from the San Francisco Mint. Only 11,300,000 were minted — and these are very challenging to find in circulation.
Circulated 1948-S nickels have a value ranging from 20 to 75 cents, and uncirculated pieces are worth $1.30 to $3.
The all-time record price for a 1948-S Jefferson nickel is $8,225 and is graded MS67 Full Steps by Professional Coin Grading Service.
A List Of 1948 Nickel Errors To Look For
There are many cool errors and varieties that you may find on your 1948 nickels — and some of these oddities are worth big bucks!
Here are the 1948 error nickels that are definitely worth looking for…
1948 Nickels With Cuds & Die Breaks
A coin is created when the blank round of metal is struck by a die, which contains the coin’s design. When dies begin deteriorating, cracks or breaks may form on the surface. These die cracks and die breaks will appear as raised lines or bumps on the coin’s surface, and these interesting errors are worth some money.
Depending on how large the die break is and where on the coin it occurs, such errors can range in value from $3 to more than $100. Normally, minor die cracks in obscure parts of the design are worth on the lower side of that spectrum. Major die breaks in prominent locations on the coin bring higher values. Meanwhile, one of the most valuable types of die breaks is known as a die cud, which is seen as a large raised, flattish bump attached to the coin’s rim. Die cuds can be worth around $100 or more.
Doubled Die 1948 Nickels
When dies are created, the design is occasionally and inadvertently impressed twice at slightly different angles or positions, creating doubling on certain parts of the design. Based on how rare and dramatic the particular form of doubling is, a doubled die can be worth up to several thousand dollars.
There aren’t any significant 1948 doubled die nickels, but minor errors have been spotted. In most cases, these involve doubling of the Jefferson’s eye or the inscriptions “FIVE CENTS” or “MONTICELLO.” Such doubled dies typically range in value from $25 to $50.
1948 Nickels With Off-Center Errors
When a coin or the dies striking it aren’t correctly centered, part of the design will also be missing. Off-center errors aren’t categorically rare, but some types are rarer than others.
Off-center errors missing 5% to 10% of the design are rather common as such oddities go and retail for $3 to $10. However, more significant off-center errors can take more than $75. The most valuable off-center errors are those that are missing around 50% of the design yet still show the coin’s full date and, if applicable, its mintmark.
Repunched Mintmarks On 1948 Nickels
Back in the late 1940s, United States Mint employees still struck mintmarks by hand individually onto the dies, and this often resulted in some interesting varieties. If the die was mispunched, such as the letter was struck in the wrong position or incorrect location, it would be punched onto the die again. In some cases, mintmarks have been repunched 2 times, 3 times, or even more.
The more dramatic the repunched mintmark, usually the more valuable the variety. Many repunched mintmark varieties are worth $7 to $15, and some much more than that.
3 Tips For Finding Valuable 1948 Nickels In Circulation
It’s possible to complete an entire set of Jefferson nickels from pocket change! It’s not necessarily easy these days…. but it can be done.
Here are some tips for finding valuable nickels in circulation:
- Search bank rolls — You can make your coin searching adventure much easier and more successful if you start looking for old Jefferson nickels in bank rolls. For the face value of $2, you can get a roll of 40 nickels — many more nickels in one fell swoop than you’d receive in your spare change over the course of days… or even weeks!
- Check estate sales — To increase your chances of finding old nickels at or near face value, try visiting some local neighborhood rummage sales. A lot of folks sell jars of loose change and old coin collections at yard sales. And these usually sell for a little over face value — which is typically much less than what the coins are worth! Searching garage sales can be a source of excellent finds for relatively little money.
- Ask friends and family — You might be able to score some 1948 nickels and other old coins from the people in your circle who know you’re a coin collector. Offer to reimburse them the face value of their coins or, if you want to sweeten the deal a bit — suggest paying 2 or 3 times face value!
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!