U.S. Nickels Value: See How Much Jefferson Nickels (1938-Present) Are Worth Today



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Now that we’ve covered the Westward Journey nickels, we might as well cover the rest of the Jefferson nickels — including the ever-popular war nickels.

Here, I will show you how to tell a war nickel from a regular Jefferson nickel.

I’ll talk more about those silver war nickels in just a moment.

Let’s start with a basic rundown on the Jefferson design, which you can find in everyday pocket change.

 

Facts About Old Jefferson Nickels

U.S. nickels are made of a composition consisting of 75% copper and 25% nickel — with the exception of war nickels (which I will get to in a minute).

The Jefferson nickel was designed by Felix Schlag, who won a $1,000 award for his design in a competition of nearly 400 artists.

The first Jefferson nickels were made in 1938, and we are still using these coins today!

 

Old Jefferson Nickels Worth Money

So, if you’ve got old nickels from the 1930s, ’40s, or ’50s, you’re probably wondering what they’re worth.

For starters, some old Jefferson nickels are worth more than face value, including:

  • 1938-D nickel — $1 and up
  • 1938-S nickel — $1.50 and up
  • 1939-D nickel — $7 and up
  • 1939-S nickel — 50 cents and up
  • 1950-D nickel — $10 and up

Other nickels from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s are worth anywhere from 10 cents each to $1 or more, depending on the date and condition of the coin.

Worn nickels from the 1960s and later are generally worth face value, unless they exhibit errors or die varieties such as doubled dies.

Are there any other nickels worth substantial money? Yes! You’ll want to look for these valuable nickels:

  • 1939, Doubled MONTICELLO, FIVE CENTS nickel — $70 and up
  • 1942 D, Over Horizontal D nickel — $50 and up
  • 1949-D, D Over S nickel — $100 and up
  • 1954-S, S Over D nickel — $20 and up
  • 1955-D, D Over S nickel — $25 and up
  • 1971-S, No S Proof (Collectors’ Version) nickel — $750 and up
  • 1997-P, Special Uncirculated (Collectors’ Version) nickel — $180 and up

 

Now, About Those War Nickels…

Here’s how to tell a war nickel from a “regular” Jefferson nickel…

All war nickels (which were made from 1942 through 1945) have a large “P,” “D,” or “S” mintmark over the dome of Monticello on the reverse of the coin!

In fact, the 1942 Jefferson war nickel marks the first time the Philadelphia Mint ever used a “P” mintmark on a United States coin.

A U.S. war nickel - notice the large D over the dome of Monticello?

Here’s how much Jefferson war nickels are worth.

 

Are U.S. Nickels Worth Collecting?

If you’re going to collect nickels, a collection of Jefferson nickels can be completed pretty inexpensively by simply buying them from a coin dealer.

You can also find most Jefferson nickels rather easily in your loose change, if you look closely.

A little coin roll searching will help, too!

Here’s a list of Jefferson nickels 1938 to the present.

If you’re hoping to assemble a high-grade set of Jefferson nickels, you’ll need to buy them from a coin dealer. Thankfully for those who want affordable options, even uncirculated and proof Jefferson nickels are still budget-friendly.

As for other types of nickels — such as Buffalo nickels, Liberty Head nickels, or Shield nickels — you’ll definitely need to check with a coin dealer since these coins are rarely ever found in circulation. And you’ll need to pay more for many of those old nickels, too. But that’s an article for another time…

 

More About U.S. Nickels & What They’re Worth

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you learn more about your nickels:

Joshua

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!

28 thoughts on “U.S. Nickels Value: See How Much Jefferson Nickels (1938-Present) Are Worth Today

  1. i actually have a question i have a nickle thats 1943, but the back side is upside down its an error whats the worth of that ?????

  2. I have two war nickels without mint marks. One is a 1944 and the other is a 1945. I tried to find out about them, and one article mentioned the 1944 as a counterfeit, but not the 1945. Do you know anything about these? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Craig —

      Francis Henning infamously made thousands of counterfeit coins, including 1944 nickels without the mintmark over Monticello. I found an article for you that briefly describes the story about him and some of the coins he counterfeited: http://www.numismaticenquirer.com/TNE/Henning%20Counterfeit%20Nickel.html

      There’s no mention in the article, however, of a 1945 Jefferson nickel without the mintmark ovr Monticello, nor have I myself ever heard of such a piece.

    2. Hi, Craig —

      Francis Henning infamously made thousands of counterfeit coins, including 1944 nickels without the mintmark over Monticello. I found an article for you that briefly describes the story about him and some of the coins he counterfeited: http://www.numismaticenquirer.com/TNE/Henning%20Counterfeit%20Nickel.html

      There’s no mention in the article, however, of a 1945 Jefferson nickel without the mintmark ovr Monticello, nor have I myself ever heard of such a piece.

  3. I have two war nickels without mint marks. One is a 1944 and the other is a 1945. I tried to find out about them, and one article mentioned the 1944 as a counterfeit, but not the 1945. Do you know anything about these? Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the explanation on war nickels. l have a 9 year old son who is hooked on these nickels.  I plan on getting several rolls.  We want them for the silver value.

  5. I have recently come across a set of coins my mother had..it is in an 8X10 frame with a title WARTIME COINAGE…it includes 9 pennies- 1944-S,D,P..1943-p,D,S..1945-P,D,S….11 nickels- 1942-P,S..1943-P,D,S..1944-P,D,S..1945 P,D,S…any idea of what they could be worth??

  6. I received a 1943 P Double Eye at work today, I new the second I saw it that is was a war mint by the prominent P on it. When I got home and inspected it I found the double eye. Very stoked! Its circulated in good condition. The lady must of found it in her dads coin collection and didnt think it was anything.

  7. I am a veteran collector almost 40 yrs now. I still love the Jefferson Nickel as it is the one true american coin that can be collected just out of pocket change. I have completed and sold over the years 2 complete roll sets from 1938-1964. (no 1950-d roll) all coins having come from circulation. In recent years I have found that the coins are still out there just not as many, but you can still put together a complete set from circulation, including the war nickels. The only coins you will probably not find is the 1950-D. Recently a new rarity has come on the market. The 2009-P (extremely hard to find (so far have searched over $2000.00 worth of nickels and found none. The 2009-D (Is also hard to find in the same number only 3 have been found) all other dates I was able to complete in full rolls from 1965-2012. So you can still have fun as a novest or a veteran collector with Jefferson Nickels. Enjoy.

    1. Great point, Coinrat –

      Jefferson nickels still lend a lot of opportunities in terms of circulation finds, especially for those who enjoy coin roll searching.

      Thanks for sharing your insight and knowledge with the rest of us.

    2. There are war nickels out there, but they are extremely rare. I’ve been a clerk for almost a year and I have looked through thousands of dollars worth of nickels, but I’ve only found two war nickels, both 1943-P. They were in two back to back rolls, which was strange. I’ve found 1 buffalo nickel and 1 V nickel since I’ve worked there.

      1. Lex, those are all really great finds! I have checked a multitude of Jefferson nickels over my 20+ years in the hobby and have only found 2 wartime nickels (1943-P, too!) and one Buffalo nickel in change while working at a cash register. Great work!

  8. I have a roll of 1943 P Jefferson nickels. Unsure how to check for double die or eye or the 3 over 2 variety. Hard to see.

    1. Hi, Karen —

      It can be difficult to distinguish a 1943-P doubled die from a regular 1943-P five-cent coin. In addition to doubling of the eye detail on Jefferson’s bust, you will also see signs of doubling in the lettering of “IN GOD” and “LIBERTY” as well as the “4” digit in the date.

      I hope this helps!

      Best,
      Josh

  9. Hi Joshua, Can you tell me if this is worth investing in. My limited research shows that this is kind of rare and valued over $800.00 Is this true? I appreciate your help and input as usual. 🙂

    Thank you,

    Steven

    1. Hi, Soaring Eagle,

      While I don’t provide investment advice or suggestions, I can tell you that the 1937-D 3 Legged Buffalo nickel is indeed a scarce coin with a market value of between $900 and $1,000 in Extremely Fine to Choice Extremely Fine grades, as PCGS graded this piece.

      Good luck!
      Josh

  10. Good Morning Joshua,

    Thank you for your reply. I actually was able to get this for just a little over $700.00 I am am buying this for my grandson to have in the future. However I don’t think I will be spending that much any more! LOL I was eyeing this and did a little research and was hoping I was making the right decision. This is definitely one I will hold on to and pass along to my grandson! Thank you again for your review. I really enjoy reading your responses from all the posts you receive. You are extremely knowledgeable!!

    1. Hello, Soaring Eagle!

      I am so happy you’re satisfied with your purchase. The 1937 3-Legged Buffalo nickel is one of the most popular die variety errors among 20th-century U.S. coins and is something I am sure your grandson will appreciate in the years ahead. Do be sure you educate him on the fun of the hobby and the importance of treasuring that coin, if he isn’t already inclined!

      Wishing you the best of luck,
      Josh

      P.S. Thank you for your kind words, too!

  11. Hey Josh!

    I was wondering how much this maybe Full step??jefferson war nickel was worth. I was excited to find this but all the coin dealers said it was only worth about 90 cents. Any info would be appreciated!

    -Gulinky https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c1a0eaf0835c11a1fb14143969897b680e38afb45fc2693880028041411f4a08.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ea30ddf2514cb6c455e8673efdf6892919b035904245fc0f8f2b6eec1f1a650.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a5f509afa53a410b218720a74e8c7ebc145db59036c12d6c6a21e43b7938a6c3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f92501933ba232dffae61b1607f339db5880463cc383499f0da11b2d35635f98.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15574ea613cb123103c0706b4cf2d5dc6f5cb6f6edd0351bbb94e424f0ae13ea.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f92501933ba232dffae61b1607f339db5880463cc383499f0da11b2d35635f98.jpg

    1. Hi there, Lu! It’s great to hear from you. It’s hard to tell in these photos if this is a full-step piece, but looking at the value of this 1943 silver five-cent coin on the basis of its date and apparent condition, I think 90 cents to $1 is a low-end fair offer for a circulated wartime five-cent coin — if the coin is uncirculated, it should net at least $2 or $3. Due to lighting I really can’t tell for certain what this coin would grade, though it appears to be at least only lightly circulated, if not better.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

  12. I have a double 1976 1976 Qaurter and so do I have a Indian Head with buffalo on the back Year is1936 and I have a 1949 Nickel and a 1939 Nickel plus I have a half of a half dollar coin.So now can u tell me about them please and what are they might be worth.

    1. Hello, Mary —

      You have some great American coins there that form the backbone of a neat U.S. collection.

      The 1776-1976 quarters were made in 1975 and 1976 to honor the Bicentennial — America’s 200th birthday. These coins are actually very common, in that more than 1.5 billion 1776-1976 quarters were struck. They’re worth face value if worn, but are getting harder to find in circulation these days.

      Your 1936 Buffalo nickel has one of the most popular U.S. designs ever made. In worn condition, a 1936 Buffalo nickel is worth about $1.

      1939 Jefferson nickels with a “D” mintmark on the right side of Monticello (the building on the back) are worth about $2. Those with an “S” mintmark are worth around 75 cents. A no-mintmark 1939 Jefferson nickel is worth around 10 cents.

      What’s the “half or a half dollar coin” you’re asking about? May I see a photo of it

      Thank you,
      Josh

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