The nickel has been in the pockets of American consumers for decades. Beginning in 1938, the Jefferson Nickel took over for the Buffalo Nickel as the popular U.S. Mint five-cent piece. These coins have stood the test of time, and are still in production to this day. While you might think that a nickel cannot possibly have any collectable value, you are incorrect. Nickels can have premiums far above their small face value depending on year, type and grade.
A coin collector will not likely pursue a Jefferson Nickel, however, unless the coin is in excellent overall condition. Such coins tend to be the most valuable in addition to being the most pleasant to look at.
When you are looking at a coin of this age, it is imperative that you examine the coin’s overall condition. Coin collectors will usually focus on coins in tip-top shape, although coins in a lesser condition can still have some collectable value. Acquiring these coins may be very hard, however, given how long they have existed.
An inspection of the coin is really to accomplish one goal: To determine how that coin might be graded by a professional coin grading company. You can use the guidelines below to get a basic idea of how your coin might be graded based on its condition.
Uncirculated: Uncirculated coins are considered to be top-tier by coin collectors. These coins have not been subjected to years and years of exchanges, and have been handled only minimally. Because of this, these coins will appear to be brand new, hot off the mint’s presses. It is difficult to believe looking at these coins that they were minted over a half century ago.
Extremely Fine: Just a step below on the trading ladder, coins assigned a grade of extremely fine will have only very minimal imperfections. Collectors may pursue coins in this condition as well. Any damage to these coins is, in fact, usually so minimal that it is not noticeable unless a very close inspection is performed.
Fine: Another step down the grading scale, coins in fine condition will still have their images and any text or details fully intact. They may, however, have some noticeable scratches or surface blemishes.
Good: Chances are that any nickels in your pocket would be assigned a grade of good. These coins have been subjected to many years of wear and tear, and they show their age and degree of use. Coin collectors tend to stay away from coins in this condition, favoring coins in superior condition and of superior grade.
There are two major components when it comes to trying to value a coin. The first is determining the type of coin. Some mint years, like the 1959, will have multiple types that were produced. In addition to the coin type, you must also determine the coin’s condition and possible grade. The chart below will give you an idea as to what a 1959 Jefferson Nickel might be valued at depending on its type and grade.
1959 Jefferson Nickel
|1959 Jefferson Nickel||N/A||N/A||$0.50||$1|
|1959 Jefferson Nickel (D)||N/A||N/A||$0.50||$1||Source: Red Book|