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Heads up! There’s a very rare and valuable 1975 nickel error worth hundreds of dollars… or more.
This is a legit error involving the “D” mint letter stamp (or mintmark).
If you find this 1975-D nickel error, it could be worth as much as (or even more than) $500.
Let’s do a deep dive on one of the most valuable Jefferson nickel errors around…
What Makes The 1975-D Nickel So Valuable?
Okay, just so everyone is clear… not all 1975-D nickels are rare and valuable.
In fact, the vast majority of 1975-D nickels you’ll find in pocket change are pretty common and worth only their face value of 5 cents.
The same goes for the 1975 no mintmark nickel — which was made at the Philadelphia Mint and is generally worth only its face value of 5 cents.
With exceptions of rare errors and varieties, only uncirculated examples of the 1975 nickel without a mintmark and the 1975-D nickel are worth more than face value — maybe 20 to 50 cents on average.
So, the most valuable and rare Jefferson nickel error that we’re talking about here is a very specific kind of 1975-D nickel — not just any 1975-D nickel, of which 410,875,300 were made. I hope I’m making this point clear…
I’d hate to disappoint you should you find a bunch of 1975-D nickels and think that you’ve hit the jackpot just because you have 1975-D nickels in your possession!
What, Exactly, Is The 1975-D Nickel Error?
The 1975-D Jefferson nickel error that we’re discussing here is the 1975-D High D nickel.
The 1975-D High D Jefferson nickel is a rare and valuable error that is sought by many coin collectors.
However, it’s the kind of error that may not catch the eye of the casual collector — unless they know what to look for!
On the 1975-D High-D nickel error, the “D” mintmark is errantly placed between the back of Thomas Jefferson’s head and the “5” digit of the “1975” date.
This is significantly higher than the usual position of the “D” mintmark on the 1975-D nickel — it is typically located below and to the left of the “5.”
Why Is The Mintmark So High On This 1975 Nickel Error?
What’s the mintmark doing so high up on the 1975-D High D nickel?
It’s an aberration totally caused by human error. You see, in the mid-1970s, coiners at the United States Mint was still punching mintmarks onto individual working dies (not individual coins but the devices that strike images onto blank coins) by hand.
There was a guideline as to where these mintmarks were supposed to be placed on each coin, and in general most mintmarks appear where they should be — within the given variance of physical location on the coin.
However, there are known outliers as to the location or orientation of a mintmark between dies — and this is why some coins with mintmarks of the same denomination, date, and mint origin may show mintmarks in slightly different spots. This is totally normal on U.S. Mint coins struck as recently as the 1980s and 1990s.
That said, sometimes wonky things happen… and this includes the 1975-D High D nickel error!
How Rare Is The 1975-D High D Error Nickel?
There is no known mintage figure relating exactly how many 1975-D High D nickels may have been struck.
It’s often the case that tens of thousands of coins may be struck by a single die before it reaches the end of its service life. Even if a few thousand of these coins existed, it would still make for a rare nickel error.
But the amazing thing about this coin is that only a handful are known. It is estimated that just 5 to 10 of these nickel error coins exist.
Making this nickel even tougher to find is the strong demand for it.
Therefore, lots of people are looking for this coin, which is considered at the very least a minor variety.
How Much Is The 1975-D Nickel Error Worth?
This 1975-D error nickel isn’t just rare, it’s also very valuable!
Most examples of this coin are known in circulated grades and sell for anywhere from $250 to $750, depending on condition.
In 2015, coin expert and book author Q. David Bowers offered a reward of $1,000 for the first person who turned in an uncirculated specimen of the coin (which, when the numismatic luminary made this grand offer, had not been publicly known).
Nobody seemed to take the bait, though at least one or two of these 1975 high D nickel errors have been graded in recent years.
Auction records are spotty for this coin — because so few exist and they rarely come up for sale. However, an example graded Extremely Fine-40 by Numismatic Guaranty Company sold for $1,080 in a May 2022 auction.
Here’s how to determine the grade of your nickel.
Where To Find 1975-D Nickels
If you want to land some valuable Jefferson nickels of your own, including one of these rare 1975-D nickels with high D mintmarks worth big money, your best bet is to search through rolls of nickels. You may find all kinds of Jefferson nickel errors looking through bank rolls of nickels!
Looking through rolls of coins to find valuable Jefferson nickel errors is very popular with coin collectors.
While I can’t guarantee that you’re going to make some cool discoveries searching coin rolls, it seems that collectors generally have far better luck finding valuable coins in rolls versus just looking through random pocket change.
You can buy a roll of nickels from any bank for $2, and for that tiny investment you will receive 40 nickels.
You might also consider buying a box of nickels, which contains 50 rolls of nickels worth a total of $100 — that’s a whopping 2,000 nickels!
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!