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Keep all of your 1953 nickels. They’re worth at least twice their face value!
That’s right, old Jefferson nickels are definitely worth looking for in your spare change — because some 1953 nickel values are off the charts.
For example, many 1953 nickels are worth more than $1,000 and some are over $20,000.
Do you know how to tell which Jefferson nickels are rare and valuable?
I’m going to tell you exactly what details you should be looking for on your 1953 nickels, and what you need to know about:
- Mintmarks on 1953 nickels
- Full Steps details on U.S. nickels
- Errors and varieties that are rare and valuable
1953 No Mintmark Nickel Value
1953 Jefferson nickels that were made at the Philadelphia Mint don’t have any mintmark at all.
The 1953 no mintmark nickel is the second-scarcest circulation-strike five-cent coin made that year.
With a mintage of 46,644,000 pieces, it falls behind the highest-mintage 1953 nickel from the Denver Mint (which we’ll discuss next).
How much are they worth?
- Worn 1953 nickels are worth 15 to 25 cents each.
- A typical uncirculated specimen trades for $1 to $3.
- The record price for a 1953 nickel with no mintmark goes to a specimen graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as MS65 Full Steps (FS). It sold for $8,050 in a 2004 auction.
1953-D Nickel Value
The 1953-D nickel from the Denver Mint saw the highest mintage of the 1953 Jefferson nickels — with 59,878,600 struck.
These 1953 nickels bear a “D” mintmark on the reverse (tails side) to the right of the Monticello building, just by the rim.
How much are they worth?
- Circulated examples are worth 10 to 20 cents apiece.
- Most uncirculated specimens go for 75 cents to $1.50.
- The highest price fetched by a 1953-D nickel is $15,275 — claimed during a 2016 auction by a specimen graded PCGS MS67FS.
1953-S Nickel Value
The scarcest of the 1953 nickels is the San Francisco Mint specimen bearing the “S” mintmark.
Only 19,210,900 were struck, and they’re rather scarce in circulation — good luck finding one in your loose change!
How much are they worth?
- Worn 1953-S nickels are worth 50 cents to $1
- Average uncirculated specimens trade for $1.50 to $3.50.
- The world-record price for a 1953-S nickel goes to one that was graded PCGS MS65FS. It commanded a whopping $24,000!
1953 Proof Nickel Value
In 1953, the United States Mint produced a limited number of specially struck coins just for coin collectors. Among them were 1953 proof nickels — which exhibit outstanding strike and mirror-like surfaces.
A total of 128,800 nickels were struck as proofs at the Philadelphia Mint in 1953. These are both semi-scarce and highly collectible.
How much are they worth?
- A typical 1953 proof nickel sells for around $40.
- The record price for a proof 1953 nickel is $15,275. That’s how much was paid in a 2013 auction for a specimen graded by PCGS as PR68 Deep Cameo.
A List Of 1953 Nickel Errors To Look For
Most 1953 nickels were struck exactly as they should have been. But a few that got out of the mint look just a little bit different.
The errors and varieties spotted on 1953 nickels range from minor die breaks and obscure doubled dies to full-blown off-center pieces and wild repunched mintmarks.
There are all kinds of interesting 1953 nickel errors. Let’s take a look at some of the more frequently encountered pieces and how much they’re worth…
#1 – 1953 Doubled Die Nickel
Ask a coin collector what their favorite error is and they’re likely to reply “double die coins.” Technically, there’s no such thing as a double die, since these weird error coins are called doubled dies — past tense.
A doubled die error involves a working die (the device that stamps designs onto blank coins) that was impressed twice on the coin, and at distinctly different angles or positions, by the hub.
Why do so many coin collectors know about doubled die coins? Because the ones they often hear about are quite rare and valuable! But the reality is that majority doubled dies aren’t really all that drastic in appearance or worth a ton of money. Most doubled die coins show relatively minor doubling in a couple obscure places on the coin.
That’s the case with the 1953 doubled die nickels that have been discovered to date.
Want a 1953 doubled die worth looking for?
- Keep your eye peeled on Thomas Jefferson’s eye. Many doubled die nickels are identified by spotting on doubling on Jefferson’s eye on the obverse (heads side).
- Another common place to notice a doubled die on an old Jefferson nickel is on the reverse — in the “MONTICELLO” and “FIVE CENTS” inscriptions.
Minor doubled dies on a 1953 nickel typically bring $25 to $50 — some more, some less.
#2 – 1953 Nickels With Repunched Mintmarks
Back in 1953, the United States Mint coin workers were still applying mintmarks on the dies by hand. This meant the effects of human error occasionally appeared on coins, including nickels.
Sometimes the mintmark punch would be stamped onto the coin upside down, sideways, or in the incorrect location.
Unless the error was irredeemable, the mint employee would correct the mistake by repunching the mintmark over the old one.
A typical minor repunched mintmark error might sell for $3 to $10, though drastic repunched mintmark pieces can go for well over $25!
#3 – 1953 Off-Center Nickel Errors
If a coin isn’t perfectly centered on the dies or the dies are misaligned on the presses, a strange error can occur known as an off-center strike.
This shows up as a coin missing a crescent-shaped segment of its design. It could be only 3% to 5% missing, or it might be 50% or even more.
The off-center errors that are 10% askew or less are relatively common and often sell for less than $10 to $15.
However, 50% off-center errors are worth much more. The most valuable of these are at least 50% off-center and show a complete date and mintmark (when applicable). They’re typically worth $100 or more.
#4 – 1953 Nickels With Die Breaks
As dies age, they begin to show signs of wear and tear. Sometimes it’s more tear than wear that they exhibit… Literally!
Die cracks happen as the die itself begins degrading — with the recesses of the breaks transferring to the coin as raised lines and bumps. Most die cracks and die breaks are small, insignificant, or otherwise obscure. While collectible, these types of cracks and die breaks are of little extra value — maybe $2 to $5.
But then there are the biggies — massive die cracks reaching across Jefferson’s face or peeling through Monticello. Some of these die breaks look like raised, flattish mounds attached to the rim of the coin. These latter types of die cracks are known as die cuds and are worth a lot of money — often $125 or more.
Be on the lookout, but you really can’t miss oddities like these!
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 CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), 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 also 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!