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Jefferson nickel errors and varieties are widely collected alongside regular Jefferson nickels.
These cool error nickels and varieties are not only valuable, but many are also quite rare.
One of the great things about collecting these rare and valuable Jefferson nickels is they can be found in circulation!
That’s right, you don’t need to go spend lots of money to obtain most of these cool Jefferson nickels for your collection. But you will need to be persistent — and lucky.
You’re probably wondering…
What Jefferson nickel errors are worth looking for?
Which nickel varieties are rare and worth the big bucks?
Here are the most valuable Jefferson nickel errors and varieties along with their values…
12 Jefferson Nickel Errors & Varieties Worth Money
There are many different types of Jefferson nickels with significant errors and varieties.
Some are rarer than others. And many aren’t necessarily super valuable — but nevertheless make excellent additions to a Jefferson nickel collection!
1939 Doubled Monticello, Five Cents
The earliest major known Jefferson nickel error variety is this doubled die.
It’s readily detectable by looking at the reverse (tails side) of the coin — where you’ll find a depiction of President Thomas Jefferson‘s sprawling home Charlottesville, Virginia home called Monticello.
On doubled die versions of the 1939 nickel, strong doubling can be detected in the word “MONTICELLO” and in the denomination “FIVE CENTS.”
Values range from about $50 for a well-worn specimen up to $500 or more for an uncirculated example.
1942-D D Over Horizontal D
This variety is an example of repunched mintmark.
Here, the “D” was hand-punched into the die just to the right of Monticello. However, an error happened on the first attempt of the “D” — so a second “D” was punched over it. This resulted in the “D over D” variety.
The 1942-D D over D Jefferson nickel is worth at least $50 in circulated grades, with uncirculated examples selling for more than $2,000.
1943-P 3 Over 2
This cool overdate variety shows the faint hint of the numeral “2” below the “3” in the date on the obverse (heads side). Such overdates are rather unusual on 20th-century coins — but this error nickel shows anything is possible!
This nickel is unusual in another way, as well. It’s made from silver! That’s right… all Jefferson nickels made from late 1942 through 1945 were made from a 35% silver composition to save nickel for artillery production during World War II. These silver war nickels are distinctive for their large “P,” “D,” and “S” mintmarks over the dome of Monticello.
The 1943-P 3 over 2 variety is worth $50 in circulated grades and around $300 or more in uncirculated grades.
1943-P Doubled Eye
This is a weird doubled die.
If you look closely at the eye of Thomas Jefferson, you will see a second eye peering to the left just below Jefferson’s “main” eye!
This popular error is widely collected by Jefferson nickel error enthusiasts and is worth $20 and up in worn grades; uncirculated specimens take $100 and up.
1945-P Doubled Die Reverse
This is yet another doubled die variety!
Like the 1939 doubled Monticello and Five Cents nickel error, the doubled die action here is found on the reverse. The bulk of the doubled die is perceptible in the words “MONTICELLO,” “CENTS,” “STATES OF AMERICA.”
This 1945 doubled die nickel is worth about $15 and up in circulated grades and fetches $100 or more in uncirculated grades.
1949-D D Over S
A series of interesting overmintmark Jefferson nickel errors happened during this period.
Of the most popular, the 1949-D D over S variety is among the earliest. Look carefully for signs of the “D” mintmark under the “S.”
This 1949 error variety nickel is a scarce coin worth at least $50 in worn condition and more than $150 in uncirculated condition.
1954-S S Over D
This next overmintmark error coin is much more common than the 1949-D D over S and is also more widely collected. Even so, the 1954-S S over D can be a tricky coin to spot…
As with all error variety nickels like this, you’ve got to look closely for hints of the original mintmark under the more visible one.
The 1954-S S over D Jefferson nickel is worth about $10 in circulated condition and $30 or more in uncirculated grades.
1955-D D Over S
The 1955-D D over S Jefferson nickel is yet another overmintmark variety that arose during this era of coin production.
As with its earlier counterparts, the 1955-D D over S requires close and careful attention to the details immediately surrounding the “D” mintmark. A faint hint of the “S” mintmark appears below the “D” on this 1955 error nickel.
The 1955-D D over S nickel is worth around $25 and up in worn grades and $45 or more in uncirculated grades.
1971 No S
This rare 1971 no-S proof Jefferson nickel is easily one of the most sought-after nickel error varieties. It’s certainly among the rarest of Jefferson nickels.
Found only in collector proof sets, the 1971 no S Jefferson nickel is considered a holy grail among those who collect modern nickels.
The 1971 no-S Jefferson nickel is worth about $1,000 and up.
1975-D High D Mintmark
Until the early 1990s, mintmarks were individually hand-punched onto the dies that strike coins. This means that the mintmark on any given random selection of mintmarked coins from a given series and date will show the little letter (or letters) in slightly various locations.
But apparently whoever punched the “D” mintmark into the die that struck the 1975-D high D mintmark nickel was off the mark — just a little. While the mintmark on most 1975 nickels appears below the date, this one appears to the left of the “5” numeral in the date!
The 1975 high D mintmark Jefferson nickel is very rare and so far known only in worn grades. The 1975-D high D mintmark value ranges anywhere from $50 to $250 or more for circulated specimens.
1979-S Type II Proof
The United States Mint redefined the “S” mintmark on its proof coins in 1979.
The “S” mintmark on most 1979-S proofs has a very mushy, blobby appearance. So, mint engravers retooled the “S” mintmark late in the year with a clearer “S” mintmark. While the “blobby S” mintmark (Type I) is the more common version, the “clear S” (Type II) is relatively scarce.
The 1979-S Type II proof Jefferson nickel is worth approximately $4 and up.
1981-S Type II Proof
The last of the well-known Jefferson nickel error varieties is the 1981-S Type II. It arose for similar reasons as its 1979-S Type II counterpart. In fact, the “S” mintmark used on the 1979-S Type II proofs serves as the 1981-S Type I mintmark.
Late in 1981, U.S. Mint officials decided to further retool the “S” mintmark so it looked perfectly clear — an enhancement over the blobby looking Type I that appears almost like the numeral “8.” The 1981-S Type II proof Jefferson nickel is distinct from the Type I, as the latter mintmark shows an “S” with bulbous serifs.
The 1981-S Type II proof Jefferson nickel is worth $4 or more.
Tips For Finding Jefferson Nickel Error Varieties
One of the many advantages to searching for rare Jefferson nickels is they can be easier to find than rare coins from other series! That’s because far fewer people look for and collect Jefferson nickels than, say, Lincoln pennies or Washington quarters.
Here are some tips for finding rare and valuable Jefferson nickels in pocket change and other typical places:
- Search through bank rolls and boxes. Obtainable at face value, bank rolls of Jefferson nickels are where many collectors have found awesome rare Jefferson nickels worth money — including errors and varieties.
- Look through yard sales and estate sales. It’s safe to say most non-collectors have no clue what Jefferson nickel values are — and they certainly don’t think to look for errors and varieties like doubled dies, overmintmarks, overdates, and repunched mintmarks! Rummage sales and community sales are great places to find rare coins that many others think are common.
- Cherrypick at the coin shop. Believe it or not, some coin dealers don’t know all about the different Jefferson nickel error varieties out there and may label such valuable coins as regular pieces. Savvy collectors in the know like you can look for and potentially pluck out such errors for “regular” price.
- Look through all of your Jefferson nickels for oddities. While this guide highlights many of the most popular Jefferson nickel error varieties, it is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many more varieties and errors out there and others just waiting to be discovered — perhaps by you!
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!