A mainstay of consumer pockets all across America, the Jefferson Nickel is a very popular five-cent piece that was first produced by the U.S. Mint in 1938. The mint has kept production of these nickels going since that time, and they are still produced today. While a nickel may not strike you as a coin that has any collectable value, some Jefferson Nickels can have significant value over their $.05 face value.
If a Jefferson Nickel is not in excellent physical shape, a serious coin collector will likely not bother with it. Not only are coins in excellent shape worth the most money, they are also often the most enjoyable to look at.
For any type of coin that was minted decades earlier, you have to pay close attention to the coin’s physical condition. Even though a coin in poor or even lousy condition can have some collectable value, coin collectors normally focus their efforts on coins in tip-top shape. Finding coins that remain in great condition can prove challenging, however, especially as the coin gets older.
When you are looking at a coin, the idea is to get an idea of how that coin might be judged by a professional numismatist. You can use the brief guide below to get an idea of what a Jefferson Nickel may look like in various states.
Uncirculated: Uncirculated coins are often the target for the serious coin collector. These coins have never been used for any type of exchange and have not been handled. They are in near-pristine condition, with their original details and sometimes even original luster fully intact and clean. These coins will appear as if they were freshly minted, and it may hard to believe that they are decades old.
Extremely Fine: The next best thing for a coin collector is a coin in extremely fine condition. These coins appear at a glance to be brand new, and one will likely not notice any scratches or defects. Under a closer inspection, however, these coins may have extremely minor blemishes.
Fine: Coins that are assigned a grade of fine have seen their share of action over the years. These coins have likely been a part of millions of transactions, and have surface damage from use. The coin’s images and details should still be robust enough to clearly identify, however.
Good: Most of the Jefferson Nickels and other coins of any age on the market today would likely be assigned a grade of good. These coins have clearly seen lots of action, and they may have serious defects such as deep scratches, dents or discoloration. Coin collectors may simply avoid coins in this condition in favor of coins in extremely fine or uncirculated condition.
If you want to get an idea of what your coin might be worth on the open market, the first step is to accurately determine the type of nickel you have. For example, there were three distinct editions of the Jefferson Nickel produced in 1957. The second issue to consider is the coin’s physical condition. Coins that are in superior condition may have significantly higher value than similar coins in poor or even good condition. The chart below will give you a good idea of what these coins may trade for today based on their type and physical condition.
1957 Jefferson Nickel
|1957 Jefferson Nickel||N/A||N/A||$0.75||$1|
|1957 Jefferson Nickel (D)||N/A||N/A||$0.70||$1||Source: Red Book|