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.
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 your everyday pocket change.
First, 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 a bit later in this article.
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’re still using these coins today.
So, if you’ve got old nickels from the 1930s, ’40s, or ’50s, you’re probably wondering what they’re worth.
- 1938-D — $1 and up
- 1938-S — $1.50 and up
- 1939-D — $7 and up
- 1939-S — 50 cents and up
- 1950-D — $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.
Now, About Those War Nickels…
During this time, nickel was used for critical war materials such as artillery.
To help accomplish this patriotic, and essential, objective, the U.S. government temporarily replaced the usual 75% copper, 25% nickel composition with a new wartime alloy consisting of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.
The silver Jefferson five-cent coin composition went into production on October 8, 1942 — just months before the metallic profile of Lincoln pennies changed to steel in 1943 to help ration copper for war ammunitions.
Curious on how to tell a war nickel from a “regular” Jefferson nickel? It’s simple! 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!
Here are more pictures of Jefferson war nickels.
How Much Are Jefferson War Nickels Worth?
I am just going to list a few Jefferson nickels that are worth noting…
- 1942-P — $1.25 and up
- 1942-S — $1.25 and up
- 1943-P — $1.25
- 1943-P, 3/2 — $40 and up
- 1943-P, Doubled Eye — $20 and up
- 1943-D — $1.25 and up
- 1943-S — $1.25 and up
- 1944-P — $1.25 and up
- 1944-D — $1.25 and up
- 1944-S — $1.25 and up
- 1945-P — $1.25 and up
- 1945-P Doubled Die Reverse — $15 and up
- 1945-D — $1.25 and up
- 1945-S — $1.25 and up
- Uncirculated War Nickels — $5 and up
Other Jefferson Nickels Worth Money
So, I’ve already talked about the values of war nickels and some of the early scarce dates such as the 1939-D, 1939-S, and 1950-D nickels. Are there any other nickels worth substantial money?
Check these out:
- 1939, Doubled MONTICELLO, FIVE CENTS — $70 and up
- 1942 D, Over Horizontal D — $50 and up
- 1949-D, D Over S — $100 and up
- 1954-S, S Over D — $20 and up
- 1955-D, D Over S — $25 and up
- 1971-S, No S Proof (Collectors’ Version) — $750 and up
- 1997-P, Special Uncirculated (Collectors’ Version) — $180 and up
Are Nickels Worth Collecting?
You can also find most Jefferson nickels rather easily from pocket change if you look closely and check your change. A little coin roll searching will help, too!
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 Jefferson Nickels & What They’re Worth
- Got Rare Nickels? The 25 Most Valuable Nickels & What They’re Worth
- The Scarcest Jefferson Nickels
- Historical Values Of Jefferson Nickels
- Jefferson Nickels Are Valuable And Worth Collecting
- Sleepy Jefferson Nickels Might Wake Up