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Do you have a 1950 nickel and want to know how much it’s worth?
You’ve come to the right place! Especially if you happen to have a 1950-D nickel!
The 1950-D nickel is the rarest regular-issue coin in the series — it’s highly valuable.
And if you have any 1950 nickels that you think look odd, they might be rare errors or varieties that are worth a lot of money, too!
We’re going to break down all of the different 1950 Jefferson nickel values and share lots of cool facts about these old nickels that are fun to look for.
- The 1950-D nickel is so rare
- Some 1950 Jefferson nickels are worth up to $17,000
- You should start looking for “mistakes” on your 1950 nickels
Why Is The 1950-D Nickel Rare?
With this coin, rarity comes down to two things: supply and demand.
Only 2,630,030 were made, and that’s a small number for any 20th-century coin — especially one made in the 1950s. Why is that?
A post-World War II recession didn’t help production, in that the economic demand for certain new coins had fallen and thus the United States Mint made fewer nickels in 1950 than it had made in some time. Even the Philadelphia mintage was far lower than typical — something we’ll examine in a minute.
But, as for the 1950-D nickel from Denver, coin collectors were well aware upon the coin’s release that it was going to be a rarity. It wound up being the series key date!
The coin was saved by the roll in uncirculated condition and traded among collectors for well above face value. Since so many were saved in pristine condition, it’s actually about as common today to find a 1950-D nickel in uncirculated condition as it is to find one with wear.
Where is the “D” mintmark on a 1950 nickel? Look on the back of the coin just to the right of Monticello. If there is a mintmark, it will be tucked just between the right side of the building and the coin’s rim.
Demand for this coin is strong today among collectors. Even though more than two million were made, it remains relatively scarce nevertheless. In reality, perhaps only half that number (or fewer) still survive in collectible condition.
Interestingly, while the 1950-D Jefferson nickel is the lowest-mintage for the series run of circulation strikes, not many folks outside the hobby are aware of this coin’s rarity. With enough searching, it’s quite realistic that you could find a 1950-D nickel in circulation even today — because to the average non-collector, it looks like all the other Jefferson nickels out there and really doesn’t register in most people’s minds as a rare date.
How Much Is A 1950 Nickel Worth?
There are 3 nickel values you should really be paying attention to:
- 1950 nickel with no mintmark
- 1950-D nickel
- 1950 proof nickel
#1 – 1950 Nickel With No Mintmark
Made at the Philadelphia Mint at a time when they weren’t putting “P” mintmarks on Philly-minted coins, the 1950 nickel is considered a scarcer coin. Only 9,796,000 were made, and these are considered better-date coins today.
An average circulated specimen is worth about $1, with typical uncirculated examples worth between $2 and $7. The record price paid for a top-condition specimen with all the steps at the base of Monticello visible took $11,500 at a 2007 auction.
#2 – 1950-D Nickel
The rare 1950-D nickel from the Denver Mint is a valuable coin with its tiny mintage of barely more than 2.6 million. Thankfully, the coin was saved in large quantities by collectors — so there are still limited but adequate supplies for coin collectors.
The 1950-D nickel is worth $10 in circulated condition and about $15 in average uncirculated grades. One of the finest examples ever known with Full Steps details fetched a whopping $17,250 at an auction in 2006.
#3 – 1950 Proof Nickel
Made exclusively for coin collectors, the 1950 proof nickel was included in 1950 proof sets. Only 51,386 were struck, and they were all issued in these special collectors-only coin sets. While it’s possible that a few escaped into circulation and were spent as money — those that are heavily worn would be virtually indistinguishable from their circulation-strike counterparts. The vast majority of identifiable 1950 proof Jefferson nickels will be found in 1950 proof sets and coin collections.
A standard 1950 proof nickel is worth about $65. One particularly nice example sold on eBay for $10,500.
More About 1950 Nickels (Including Errors And Varieties)
All 1950 Jefferson nickels are scarce — and they’re worth more than face value. So the question really comes down to how much over face value is your 1950 worth?
Hopefully, you have one in top condition that is worth hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars. But even if it isn’t worth quite that much, it’s still a neat old coin that could suit your coin collection.
Old Jefferson nickels are great collectibles, in part because you can still complete a collection of these coins from circulation!
Originally designed by Felix Schlag in 1938, the Jefferson nickel is a beloved classic coin that remained largely unchanged until 2004.
Building a set of Jefferson nickels would entail finding the 1950 nickels, which don’t turn up every day in pocket change. To significantly increase your chances of finding them, you can search through bank rolls. You could also buy the 1950 and 1950-D nickel from a coin dealer.
While you’re on the prowl for valuable nickels, don’t forget to look for errors and varieties! On 1950 nickels, unusual oddities turn up in a number of forms, including:
Such errors can be worth much more than face value, and they’re so much fun to look for and find!
Additionally, you may even discover new 1950 nickel errors and varieties that nobody else has found yet. Believe it or not, such coin discoveries happen fairly frequently and can help make the collector famous by having their name published in coin books, magazines, and blogs for making the find.
Even if fame and fortune aren’t your game, the achievement of landing a never-before-recognized nickel error or variety is a wonderful feeling. It will certainly earn you some bragging rights!
Whether you find any 1950 Jefferson nickels worth a bunch of money or not, they’re certainly old coins that are fun collectibles and are mandatory for completing any collection of Jefferson nickels.
With a little luck and some persistence, you’re sure to find both a 1950 and 1950-D nickel in circulation. Then again, there’s always the option of buying them from a coin dealer.
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!