US Nickel Five-Cent Pieces: 1913 to Date

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This page describes all types of the US Buffalo and Jefferson Nickels minted from 1913 to date, and includes their specifics, mintage records, key dates with coin values (in G-4 and EF-40 conditions) and images of a few types (not all) that were recovered at various locations in the North-East USA.

BUFFALO NICKELS 1913 - 1938

1938 D Buffalo Nickel Variety 2

These pieces are known as Buffalo, Bison or Indian Head nickels. James E. Fraser designed the composite American Indian profile from models Chief John Big Tree, a Seneca, Chief Two Moons, a Cheyenne, and Chief Iron Tail, a Sioux. Fraser's initial F is beneath the date. The bison was modeled after "Black Diamond" in the New York Zoological Gardens.

In the first year of issue, 1913, there were two distinct varieties, the first showing the bison on a mound, and the second with base redesigned to a thinner, straight line.


VARIETY 1 - FIVE CENTS on Raised Ground, 1913

Buffalo Nickel Variety 1

Specifics:

Diameter: 21.2 mm
Weight: 5 grams or 77.16 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Quantity minted: 38,435,520
Proofs minted: 3,034
Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
Mint marks: S and D
Designers: James E. Fraser

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1913S Variety 1; G-4: $16.00, EF-40: $50.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $9.50, EF-40 - $20.00

VARIETY 2 - FIVE CENTS in Recess

1937 Buffalo Nickel variety 2

Specifics:

Diameter: 21.2 mm
Weight: 5 grams or 77.16 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Quantity minted: 1,174,084,709
Proofs minted: 13,114
Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
Mint marks: S and D
Designers: James E. Fraser

Mint Mark Location

Mint Mark Location on Buffalo Nickel

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1913D Variety 2; G-4: $48.00, EF-40: $90.00
• 1913S Variety 2; G-4: $110.00, EF-40: $265.00
• 1914, 4 over 3; F-12: $375.00, EF-40: $875.00
• 1914D; G-4: $45.00, EF-40: $145.00
• 1915S; G-4: $18.00, EF-40: $155.00
• 1916 Double die obverse; G-4: $1,850, EF-40: $10,000
• 1917S; G-4: $9.00, EF-40: $125.00
• 1918D,8 over 7; G-4: $355.00, EF-40: $4,800
• 1918D; G-4: $9.00.00, EF-40: $165.00
• 1918S; G-4: $8.00, EF-40: $155.00
• 1919D; G-4: $9.00.00, EF-40: $180.00
• 1919S; G-4: $7.00, EF-40: $175.00
• 1920D; G-4: $6.50, EF-40: $225.00
• 1920S; G-4: $5.00, EF-40: $155.00
• 1921S; G-4: $28.00, EF-40: $680.00
• 1923S; G-4: $5.00, EF-40: $230.00
• 1924D; G-4: $5.00, EF-40: $155.00
• 1924S; G-4: $8.00, EF-40: $1,000
• 1925D; G-4: $7.00, EF-40: $155.00
• 1925S; G-4: $5.00, EF-40: $145.00
• 1926D; G-4: $5.00, EF-40: $125.00
• 1926S; G-4: $9.00, EF-40: $650.00
• 1935 Double die reverse; F-12: $80.00, EF-40: $355.00
• 1936D 3-1/2 legs; F-12: $355.00, EF-40: $855.00
• 1937D 3 Legged; G-4: $155.00, EF-40: $455.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $1.50, EF-40 - $7.00

3-Legged Variety for 1936D and 1937D

3-Legged Variety for 1936D and 1937D


JEFFERSON TYPE, 1938 - 1942, 1946 - to Date

This nickel was designed by Felix Schlag. He won an award of $1,000 in a competition with some 390 artists. His design established the definite public approval of portrait and pictorial themes rather than symbolic devices on the American coinage.


WARTIME ALLOY VARIETY, 1942 - 1945

The need for nickel and copper during World War II made it necessary to alter composition in the US minor coinage.

1943P War Jefferson Nickel

Specifics:

Diameter: 21.2 mm
Weight: 5 grams or 77.16 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 56% copper, 35% silver, 9% manganese
Quantity minted: 869,923,700
Proofs minted: 27,000 (1942 only)
Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
Mint marks: P, D and S
Designers: Felix Schlag

OBVERSE: identical to all Jefferson types

REVERSE: For the first time in the US coinage history, the letter P designating Philadelphia was affixed, immediately above the dome of Monticello, to a coin.

Mint Mark Location

Mint Mark Location on War Nickel

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1939 Doubled MONTICELLO and 5 CENTS; G-4: $38.00, EF-40: $65.00
• 1942D over horizontal D; G-4: $35.00, EF-40: $80.00
• 1943P 3 over 2; G-4: $48.00, EF-40: 95.00$
• 1943P Doubled eye; G-4: $22.00, EF-40: $50.00
• 1945P Doubled die reverse; G-4: $12.00, EF-40: $45.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $0.65, EF-40 - $1.20


PREWAR COMPOSITION RESUMED, 1946 To Date

The designer's initials FS were added below the bust starting in 1966, and dies were further remodeled to strengthen the design in 1971, 1972, 1977 and 1982. Mint mark position was moved to the obverse starting in 1968.

Jefferson Nickel

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1949D, D over S; VF-20: $37.00, EF-40: $80.00
• 1950D; VF-20: $5.00, EF-40: $6.00
• 1954S, S over D; VF-20: $6.50, EF-40: $15.00
• 1955D, D over S; VF-20: $7.50, EF-40: $16.00
• 1971 Proof without S (Were made in error); Proof-65: $600.00
• 1994P Special Uncirculated*; MS-63: $60.00
• 1997P Special Uncirculated*; MS-63: $130.00
Average coin values of other dates: VF-20 - $, EF-40 - $0.15, MS-63 - $0.25

*Special "frosted" uncirculated pieces were included in the 1993 Thomas Jefferson commemorative dollar packaging (sold in 1994) and the 1997 Botanic Gardens Sets. They resemble proof coins.


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(Sources: Encyclopedia Of U.S. Coins by Mort Reed and The Official Red Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman.)