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

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By Joshua

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: