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If you’ve got any 1949 nickels, don’t spend them! They’re worth at least 2 to 3 times their face value.
Some are even worth thousands of dollars!
But, do you know the difference between rare 1949 nickels worth big bucks and those that aren’t?
I’m going to help you out…
Here’s a list of current 1949 nickel values, a list of 1949 error nickels, and the details you should be looking for on your 1949 nickels.
Current 1949 Nickel Values
Jefferson nickels from 1949 were struck at 3 different U.S. Mint locations, resulting in 3 distinct types of nickels:
- Those with no mint mark
- Those with a “D” mintmark
- Those with an “S” mint mark
Following are the current values for each type of 1949 nickel…
1949 No Mintmark Nickel Value
The most common of all 1949 nickels are those from the Philadelphia Mint. Unlike the Denver and San Francisco minted nickels, 1949 nickels from the Philadelphia Mint do not have a mintmark. (On pre-1965 Jefferson nickels, the mint mark is found on the reverse / tails side of the coin — just to the right of the Monticello building, near the rim.)
A total of 60,652,000 Jefferson nickels were made at the Philadelphia Mint in 1949, and even today these pieces are relatively common. Still, even well-worn 1949 nickels carry a small premium over face value.
- Typical, circulated 1949 nickels with average amounts of circulation wear are worth around 10 to 20 cents apiece.
- Most uncirculated 1949 Jefferson nickels have a value of $3 to $5 apiece — with nicer specimens fetching much more.
- The record price for a 1949 no mintmark nickel is $6,325. That’s how much was paid in 2011 for an MS66 Full Steps specimen graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
1949-D Nickel Value
The 1949-D nickel from the Denver Mint is somewhat scarcer than the 1949 nickel from Philadelphia.
- A circulated 1949-D Jefferson nickel has a value of 10 to 15 cents.
- In uncirculated condition, a 1949-D nickel normally trades for $1.50 to $3. So, why the lower values for a lower-mintage coin? That’s because coin collectors knew this coin was scarcer and saved it in larger quantities than they did the higher-mintage 1949 nickel from Philadelphia.
- The record price for a 1949-D nickel goes to a PCGS-certified example graded MS67 Full Steps, which sold in 2006 for $8,625.
1949-S Nickel Value
The rarest regular-issue 1949 nickel was made at the San Francisco Mint.
The 1949-S nickel saw a mintage of only 9,716,000 pieces.
It’s worth 15 to 20 cents in typical worn condition.
Average uncirculated examples are worth $1.50 to $3.50 apiece.
The all-time record price for a 1949-S nickel goes to a 1949-S graded MS67 Full Steps by PCGS. It sold for $15,275 in a 2014 auction.
A List Of 1949 Nickel Errors To Look For
There are several types of 1949 error and variety nickels you should be looking for — including a very rare and valuable 1949 nickel with an overmintmark!
Here are the most well-known 1949 error nickels (and their current value)…
1949-D D Over S Nickel Error
This variety arose when a “D” mintmark was punched over an “S” mintmark on the 1949 nickel.
This is possible because, at the time, dies for branch mints were created at the Philadelphia Mint — where all of the various mintmark punches were kept and used.
How the overmintmark occurred is up for speculation:
- A mint employee may have accidentally struck a die destined for Denver with a San Francisco mint mark punch — only to correct the error by overpunching it with an “S” mintmark.
- Another possibility is that dies already intended for San Francisco were reassigned to Denver, thus being repunched with the “S” mintmark.
Whatever the origin behind the 1949-D D Over S nickel, it is nevertheless a scarce coin worth a lot of money.
According to PCGS CoinFacts, perhaps 120,000 exist!
This error nickel is worth about $35 and up in circulated grades, with uncirculated specimens carrying a value of $150 or more. The record price for a 1949-D D Over S Jefferson nickel is $32,900 — which was paid in 2014 for a specimen graded by PCGS as MS67 Full Steps.
1949 Doubled Die Nickel
What’s the error coin everyone seems to hope they have?
It’s the doubled die!
Doubled die coins are made when a working die is impressed by a hub twice and at two distinctly different angles or positions. This results in the doubling of the design on one side of a coin — or at least parts of the design.
On nickels, the areas where you will most often find evidence of a doubled die is in Jefferson’s eye on the obverse (head’s side) or in the inscriptions “MONITCELLO” or “FIVE CENTS” on the reverse (tail’s side) of the coin.
While no significantly rare or valuable doubled dies are presently known for the 1949 nickel, keep your eyes peeled for minor doubled dies — which often trade for $25 to $50.
1949 Off-Center Nickels
Some Jefferson nickels aren’t struck perfectly on center, and this can leave a crescent-shaped portion of the coin’s design missing.
Off-center errors range in scope from tiny 3% to 5% off-center errors worth around $5 to drastic off-center pieces that are 50% or more off-center and worth $100 or more.
The most valuable 1949 off-center nickels are around 50% off-center yet still show a complete date and mintmark (if applicable).
1949 Nickels With Die Breaks & Die Cuds
Damage to the die often reveals itself by way of cracks that form across part of the die’s surface. These cracks transfer to the struck coin as raised lines or bumps.
Depending on the severity of the die break, its location, and overall prominence, values for die breaks can range from $5 or $10 on the low end to as much as $100 or more.
The most valuable type of die crack is known as a die cud — a flattish piece of raised metal stemming from or attached to the rim. Based on the size, a 1949 nickel die cud error can be worth $150 to $250 or more.
Other 1949 Nickel Errors
Of course, these types of errors are also rare — so don’t expect every 1949 nickel that doesn’t look quite right to be an error. Most odd-looking coins are really just showing signs of damage.
To increase your odds of finding error coins in circulation, consider:
- Searching bank rolls — which are circulated coins that you can buy for face value.
- Enlisting your friends and family to help you by having them check their spare change and coin jars for odd 1949 nickels and other rare or valuable error coins.
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!