Jefferson Nickels

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Jefferson Nickels are a cornerstone of American numismatics and a staple in the collections of many coin enthusiasts. These nickel coins, featuring the likeness of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, have been in circulation since 1938 and have seen various changes in design and composition over the decades.

Overview of Nickel Coins and Their Types

Nickel coins are primarily composed of a mix of nickel and copper, making them more resistant to wear and corrosion than other metals. In the United States, the nickel has historically taken several forms:

  • Shield Nickel (1866-1883): The first five-cent coin made of nickel and copper.
  • Liberty Head Nickel (1883-1913): Also known as the "V" nickel for the Roman numeral "V" on the reverse.
  • Buffalo Nickel (1913-1938): Features a Native American on the obverse and a buffalo on the reverse.
  • Jefferson Nickel (1938-present): The current design, featuring Thomas Jefferson on the obverse

The Jefferson nickel is our current nickel used in circulation today. Th Jefferson Nickel was minted from 1938- present day. When the Jefferson Nickel was first released into circulation it was barely seen because people hoarded them away. The Jefferson nickel was minted during World War II and from 1942-1945 it was minted in 35% silver. Due to its mintage time collectors nowadays refer to these coins as War nickels. The Jefferson nickel’s design consists of a left-facing portrait of Thomas Jefferson, and the reverse depicted Thomas Jefferson’s plantation “Monticello”. The nickel has had many designs since its initial mintage. The original design was created by Felix Schlag.

Jefferson Nickel Value

There many kinds of Jefferson nickels with many different designs, some of them contain silver, some of them are just simply rarer than others, and others are just well kept. Throughout U.S. history the nickel has been minted in abundance. Some of the rarer Jefferson nickels are 1939-D, 1939-S, and the 1942-D. The coins minted from 1942-1945 are slightly more valuable due to the silver content. The nickels minted from 1942-1945 are composed of 35% silver, 56% copper, and 9% manganese. Often Jefferson Nickels can be found in uncirculated condition for $10-$20, however some of the key dates in the series can be thousands of dollars in higher mint state condition.

Jefferson Nickels for Sale

There are multiple ways to purchase Jefferson nickels, you can buy them individually, graded and protected from third-party grading services, rolls, or even albums. You can get Jefferson nickels anyway you want at Bullion shark, via online or from a phone call.

Jefferson Nickel Value The value of Jefferson Nickels can vary widely. Common modern pieces are generally worth their face value of five cents. However, certain key dates, error coins, and specially minted examples (like wartime nickels from 1942 to 1945, which contain silver) can be highly valuable. Coins from specific years that had lower mintages or those in exceptionally high grades (as assessed by coin grading services) can also be collectors' treasures.

Mintage and History The Jefferson Nickel was introduced in 1938, replacing the Buffalo Nickel. Its initial design was the result of a public competition won by Felix Schlag, whose portrayal of Jefferson on the obverse and Monticello, Jefferson's Virginia estate, on the reverse, became iconic. Notably, from 1942 to 1945, the composition of the nickel was modified to include silver, a response to nickel being a critical war material during World War II. These "war nickels" are 35% silver, making them particularly popular among collectors.

In 2004 and 2005, the Mint issued the Westward Journey series, which featured new designs on the reverse to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. This series included the "Peace Medal," "Keelboat," "American Bison," and "Ocean in View" designs, which added diversity to the collection of Jefferson Nickels and celebrated significant American historical events.

The Jefferson Nickel continues to be a symbol of America's rich history and evolution in coinage. Its long run in production offers collectors the opportunity to explore a variety of designs and compositions, each reflecting different eras and values. Whether for the novice collector or the seasoned numismatist, Jefferson Nickels hold a special place in the world of collecting due to their affordability and the stories they tell of American progress and culture.


Jefferson Nickel Coins FAQ

5 grams of composed of .750 copper and .250
1942-1945 WW2
56% copper 35% copper and 9% manganese.
This was done to save copper and nickel for the war effort.
Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco.
Felix Schlag.