Beginning in 1938, the U.S. Mint changed the design of the popular five-cent piece. The Buffalo Nickel was replaced with the Jefferson Nickel. This new nickel design has been used for decades since, and is still produced today. While you may not think that a nickel has any collectable value, nothing could be further from the truth. Some editions can be quite valuable, depending on year and condition.
For a coin collector, the coin’s condition may make or break the decision to acquire the coin. Coins in top condition are not only more valuable, but they are also more visually pleasing.
For a coin of this age, the focus must be on the overall condition of the coin. While coins in lower conditions may still have some collectable value, coin collectors generally only want coins that are in perfect condition. Finding coins in this condition can be extremely difficult, however, given the amount of time that these coins have been minted.
When you are trying to judge a coin’s condition, you are actually trying to get an idea of how that coin might be graded. Although the coin grading process is performed by professional grading companies, you can use the simple guidelines below to get a feel for what a graded Jefferson Nickel might look like.
Uncirculated: Coin collectors will typically look to acquire coins that have not been used in circulation. Because these coins have not been used in circulation, they will not have the normal signs of damage and wear that circulated coins exhibit. Just looking at coins in this condition will make you think they were struck that day and are hot off the mint’s presses.
Extremely Fine: While coins in extremely fine condition may have very minor defects, these coins may still be actively sought after by coin collectors. To be given this grade, any damage must be very minor in nature, so minor that it is usually only noticed under a very close physical examination of the coin.
Fine: Coins in fine condition have been in circulation for some time, and the numerous exchanges are obvious. While the coin’s images and text remain intact, they may have serious scratches or discoloration.
Good: Most of the Jefferson Nickels on the market today are in good condition. Due to the fact that they have been widely used and circulated, often for many years, these coins may have significant scratches, discoloration or other blemishes. A collector may choose to pass on coins in good condition for coins in extremely fine or uncirculated condition.
To obtain an accurate estimate of the 1948 Jefferson Nickel’s value, you must first determine the type of coin. Mint year 1948 saw three types of coins produced. Besides the coin type, you must also assess the coin’s condition. Collectors know and understand that coins in better condition typically sell for much higher premiums than similar coins of a lower grade. Use the chart below the get an idea of what you might expect to pay for a 1948 Jefferson Nickel based on type and grade.
1948 Jefferson Nickel
|1948 Jefferson Nickel||N/A||N/A||$1.50||$3.50|
|1948 Jefferson Nickel (D)||N/A||N/A||$2||$4.75|
|1948 Jefferson Nickel (S)||N/A||N/A||$2||$4.50||Source: Red Book|