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So, what are your old nickels worth?
Old nickel prices range from a few cents above face value to $50 or more.
Here’s a list of the nickels you should be looking for.
Valuable Old Nickels Are Easy To Find!
Of all the denominations in circulation, nickels provide you with the best chances of finding old and valuable coins in your pocket change.
The Jefferson nickel has been in circulation since 1938, and it remained mostly unchanged until 2004. That’s when the Westward Journey nickels honoring the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition were released, bringing new obverse and reverse designs to the 5-cent coin.
Unlike Lincoln wheat pennies — which almost everyone knows about and saves from circulation — there are many old Jefferson nickels made in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that are still in circulation simply because they look much like the newer Jefferson nickels.
Even silver wartime Jefferson “nickels” look nearly identical to regular nickels, except for one distinguishing mark that I’ll tell you about in just a bit.
How To Find Old Valuable Nickels
There’s a technique I normally use when I’m looking for old nickels, and it’s called coin roll searching. Basically, instead of relying only on spare change to look for old coins, I’ll go to the local bank or nearby grocery store and ask for rolls of coins.
This puts me at an advantage, because I’ll get to look through a larger quantity of coins from a certain denomination than I might normally get to see at any one time.
If I get lucky and find any coins that I wish to keep, I can just swap those out with common pieces, and trade the roll back in for more coins.
It’s really that simple!
How To Tell Silver Wartime Nickels From Regular Nickels
It’s really simple to tell a silver wartime nickel from a regular nickel.
There are 3 mintmarks to look for on wartime nickels:
- “P” – Philadelphia
- “D” – Denver
- “S” – San Francisco
For the record, the 1942 wartime nickel was the first U.S. coin on which a “P” mintmark was ever placed.
Not all 1942 nickels have the large mintmarks over Monticello. In fact, for most of 1942, the 5-cent coin was made from nickel. In October, this changed, since nickel was needed to make artillery for troops in World War II.
Also worth noting… silver nickels aren’t made entirely from silver. In fact, the wartime nickel alloy consists of the following:
- 56% copper
- 35% silver
- 9% manganese
How much are silver wartime nickels worth? I’ve got the answer to that below!
Old Nickels Worth The Most Money
So, I know this is the part you’ve probably been waiting for — what are your old nickels worth?
Below is a list of the specific nickels you should be looking for. All are worth 10 cents or more each. Some have a value of $1 or more, and a few are even worth more than $10.
These are the 3 types of nickels you should be saving:
- Liberty Head nickels – they’re worth $2 and up
- Buffalo nickels – prices for these vary; dateless Buffalo nickels are worth 20 cents or more each, and those with dates are worth $1 and up
- Jefferson nickels made before 1960 – old Jefferson nickels made in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s have a value of 10 cents or more except for the ones listed below
Old Jefferson Nickels Worth More Than 10 Cents Each
All the Jefferson nickel values listed below are for coins in average circulated condition. Higher-grade pieces are worth more, and cleaned and damaged nickels are worth less.
- 1938 – 50 cents
- 1938-D – $1
- 1938-S – $1.50
- 1939-S – 50 cents
- 1942-D over horizontal D – $1
- 1942-P – $2
- 1942-S – $2
- 1943-P – $2
- 1943/2-P – $35
- 1943-D – $2
- 1943-S – $2
- 1944-P – $2
- 1944-D – $2
- 1944-S – $2
- 1945-P – $2
- 1945-D – $2
- 1945-S – $2
- 1949-D/S – $60
- 1949-S – 30 cents
- 1950 – 50 cents
- 1950-D – $10
- 1951 – 25 cents
- 1951-D – 25 cents
- 1951-S – 50 cents
- 1952-D – 20 cents
- 1955 – 25 cents
- 1955 D/S – $20
- 1958 – 20 cents
In addition to the old nickels listed above, here are the 25 most valuable nickels worth $50 apiece… or more!
More Old Nickel Values
- Shield Nickel Values
- Liberty Nickel Values
- Buffalo Nickel Values
- 1913 Liberty Nickel: The Most Valuable Nickel in the World
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 CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), 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 also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!