The Jefferson Nickel

The longest circulating five-cent coin is the Jefferson Nickel. It first appeared in 1938 after replacing the Buffalo Nickel which was first minted in 1913. Over the years, the Jefferson Nickel has seen modifications when it came to its obverse and reverse design, as well as a change in its metal composition. As of this year, it has been around for 80 years in circulation.

The History of the Jefferson Nickel

In early 1938, the United States Treasury Department wanted to create a new five-cent coin that will replace the Buffalo Nickel. The Buffalo Nickel has already been in circulation for the past 25 years, and it was time for a change in the nickel’s design. So, a competition was held to the public.

The criteria for the new five-cent specifically asked to feature what the US Treasury Department called as “an authentic portrait” of the third president, President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse. As for the reverse side of the coin, Jefferson’s historic home, Monticello will be featured. The public was made aware of the criteria and deadlines, and at the end of the competition, a total of 390 designs were submitted.

Out of all the designs, Felix Schlag’s entry reigned supreme. He was a German-American sculptor at the time of the contest. In the end, he received a prize amounting to $1,000.00. despite winning the competition, his design for the reverse was met with criticisms by the Federal Commission of Fine Arts. Since his design was rejected, it was only after a couple of debates and revision that the final design was approved.

The minting of the Jefferson Nickel was delayed, and it is only in September that the coin was released. The coins were minted in three US Mints – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver – all coins bearing the respective mintmark of the Mint they were coined with the exception of the Philadelphia Mint. Coins minted in San Francisco bears the mintmark S while those produced in Denver has D mintmarks. As for those minted in Philadelphia, the coins were only struck with the mintmark P starting 1980.

The Four Types of the Jefferson Nickel according to PCGS Coin Facts

Type 1 Original Design, Vintage Jefferson Nickel

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/NNC-US-1938-5C-Jefferson_Nickel.jpg

The Type 1 Jefferson Nickel weighs 5.00 grams, is 21.20 mm in diameter, has a plain edge and is composed of 75% Copper and 25% Nickel. These were minted from 1938-1964. The obverse features a portrait of President Thomas Jefferson facing left. IN GOD WE TRUST is seen on the left side of the coin while the word LIBERTY * Date minted is on the right side of the obverse.

For the reverse, a classic rendition of Jefferson’s home is featured with its name, MONTICELLO just below the building. The legend E PLURIBUS UNUM is seen on top while the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is on the bottom of the coin. the denomination FIVE CENTS is situated in between MONTICELLO and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The mintmark is them located on the right side of Jefferson’s home.

Regular Strike

1938 – 19,496,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1938-D – 5,376,000 pieces minted in Denver

1938-S – 4,105,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1939 – 120,627,535

  •    1939 Reverse of 1938
  •    1939 Reverse of 1940
  •    1939 Doubled Monticello

1939-D – 3,514,000 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1939-D Reverse of 1938
  •    1939-D Reverse of 1940

1939-S -6,630,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

  •    1939-S Reverse of 1938
  •    1939-S Reverse of 1940

1940 – 176,485,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1940-D – 43,540,000 pieces minted in Denver

1940-S -36,690,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1941 -203,265,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1941-D – 53,432,000 pieces minted in Denver

1941-S – 43,445,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1942 – 49,789,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1942-D -13,938,000 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1942-D/D D/Horizontal D

1946 – 161,116,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1946-D – 45,292,200 pieces minted in Denver

1946-S – 13,560,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1947 – 95,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1947-D – 37,822,000 pieces minted in Denver

1947-S – 24,720,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1948 – 89,348,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1948-D – 44,734,000 pieces minted in Denver

1948-S – 11,300,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1949 – 60,652,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1949-D – 36,498,000 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1949-D/S

1949-S – 9,716,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1950 – 9,796,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1950-D – 2,630,030 pieces minted in Denver

1951 – 28,552,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1951-D – 20,460,000 pieces minted in Denver

1951-S – 7,776,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1952 – 63,988,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1952-D – 30,638,000 pieces minted in Denver

1952-S – 20,572,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1953 – 46,644,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1953-D – 59,878,600 pieces minted in Denver

1953-S – 19,210,900 pieces minted in San Francisco

1954 – 47,684,050 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1954-D – 117,183,060 pieces minted in Denver

1954-S – 29,384,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

  •    1954-S/D

1955 – 7,888,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1955-D – 74,464,100 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1955-D/S

1956 – 35,216,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1956-D – 67,222,940 pieces minted in Denver

1957 – 38,400,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1957-D – 136,828,900 pieces minted in Denver

1958 – 17,088,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1958-D – 168,249,120 pieces minted in Denver

1959 – 27,248,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1959-D – 160,738,240 pieces minted in Denver

1960 – 55,416,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1960-D – 192,582,180 pieces minted in Denver

1961 – 73,640,100 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1961-D – 229,342,760 pieces minted in Denver

1962 – 97,384,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1962-D – 280,195,720 pieces minted in Denver

1963 – 175,784,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1963-D – 276,829,460 pieces minted in Denver

1964 – 1,024,672,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1964-D – 1,787,297,160 pieces minted in Denver

Proofs

1938 – 19,365 ((estimated)) pieces minted in Philadelphia

1939 – 12,535 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1939 Reverse of 1940

1940 – 14,158 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1940 Reverse of 1938

1941 – 18,720 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1942 – 29,600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1950 – 51,386 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1951 – 57,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1952 – 81,980 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1953 – 128,800 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1954 – 233,300 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1955 – 378,200 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1956 – 669,384 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1957 – 1,247,952 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1958 – 875,652 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1959 – 1,149,291 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1960 – 1,691,602 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1961 – 3,028,144 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1962 – 3,218,019 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1963 – 3,075,645 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1964 – 3,950,762 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Special Strikes

1964 SMS – 3,950,762 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Type 1 Original Design, Modern Jefferson Nickel

The second type of Type 1 Jefferson Nickel as minted from 1965-2003.

Regular Strike

1965 – 136,131,380 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1966 – 156,208,283 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1967 – 107,325,800 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1968-D – 91,227,880 pieces minted in Denver

1968-S – 103,437,510 pieces minted in San Francisco

1969-D – 202,807,500 pieces minted in Denver

1969-S – 123,009,631 pieces minted in San Francisco

1970-D – 515,485,380 pieces minted in Denver

1970-S – 214,464,814 pieces minted in San Francisco

1971 – 106,884,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1971-D – 316,144,800 pieces minted in Denver

1972 – 202,036,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1972-D – 351,694,600 pieces minted in Denver

1973 – 384,396,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1973-D – 261,405,000 pieces minted in Denver

1974 – 601,752,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1974-D – 277,373,000 pieces minted in Denver

1975 – 181,772,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1975-D – 401,875,300 pieces minted in Denver

1976 – 367,124,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1976-D – 563,964,147 pieces minted in Denver

1977 – 585,376,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1977-D -297,313,422 pieces minted in Denver

1978 – 391,308,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1978-D – 313,092,780 pieces minted in Denver

1979 -463,188,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1979-D – 325,867,672 pieces minted in Denver

1980-P – 593,004,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1980-D – 502,323,448 pieces minted in Denver

1981-P – 657,504,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1981-D – 364,801,843 pieces minted in Denver

1982-P – 292,355,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1982-D – 373,726,544 pieces minted in Denver

1983-P – 561,615,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1983-D – 536,726,276 pieces minted in Denver

1984-P – 746,769,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1984-D – 517,675,146 pieces minted in Denver

1985-P – 647,114,962 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1985-D – 459,747,446 pieces minted in Denver

1986-P – 361,819,140 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1986-D – 361,819,140 pieces minted in Denver

1987-P – 371,499,481 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1987-D – 410,590,604 pieces minted in Denver

1988-P – 771,360,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1988-D – 663,771,652 pieces minted in Denver

1989-P – 898,812,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1989-D – 570,842,474 pieces minted in Denver

1990-P – 661,636,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1990-D – 663,938,503 pieces minted in Denver

1991-P – 614,104,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1991-D – 436,496,678 pieces minted in Denver

1992-P – 399,552,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1992-D – 450,565,113 pieces minted in Denver

1993-P – 412,076,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1993-D – 406,084,135 pieces minted in Denver

1994-P – 722,160,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1994-D – 715,762,110 pieces minted in Denver

1995-P – 774,156,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1995-D – 888,112,000 pieces minted in Denver

1996-P – 829,332,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1996-D – 817,736,000 pieces minted in Denver

1997-P – 470,972,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1997-D – 466,640,000 pieces minted in Denver

1998-P – 688,272,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1998-D – 635,360,000 pieces minted in Denver

1999-P – 1,212,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1999-D – 1,066,720,000 pieces minted in Denver

2000-P – 846,240,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2000-D – 1,509,520,000 pieces minted in Denver

2001-P – 675,704,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2001-D – 627,680,000 pieces minted in Denver

2002-P – 539,280,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2002-D – 691,200,000 pieces minted in Denver

2003-P – 441,840,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2003-D – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

Proofs

1968-S – 3,041,506 pieces minted in San Francisco

1969-S – 2,934,631 pieces minted in San Francisco

1970-S – 2,632,810 pieces minted in San Francisco

1971-S – 3,220,733 pieces minted in San Francisco

  •    1971 No S

1972-S – 3,260,996 pieces minted in San Francisco

1973-S – 2,760,339 pieces minted in San Francisco

1974-S – 2,612,568 pieces minted in San Francisco

1975-S – 2,845,450 pieces minted in San Francisco

1976-S – 4,149,730 pieces minted in San Francisco

1977-S – 3,251,152 pieces minted in San Francisco

1978-S – 3,127,781 pieces minted in San Francisco

1979 – 3,677,175 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1979-S Type 1
  •    1979-S Type 2

1980-S – 3,554,806 pieces minted in San Francisco

1981 – 4,063,083 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1981-S Type 1
  •    1981-S Type 2

1982-S – 3,857,479 pieces minted in San Francisco

1983-S – 3,279,126 pieces minted in San Francisco

1984-S – 3,065,110 pieces minted in San Francisco

1985-S – 3,362,821 pieces minted in San Francisco

1986-S – 3,010,497 pieces minted in San Francisco

1987-S – 4,227,728 pieces minted in San Francisco

1988-S – 3,262,948 pieces minted in San Francisco

1989-S – 3,220,194 pieces minted in San Francisco

1990-S – 3,299,559 pieces minted in San Francisco

1991-S – 2,867,787 pieces minted in San Francisco

1992-S – 4,176,560 pieces minted in San Francisco

1993-S – 3,394,792 pieces minted in San Francisco

1994-S – 3,269,923 pieces minted in San Francisco

1995-S – 2,797,481 pieces minted in San Francisco

1996-S – 2,525,265 pieces minted in San Francisco

1997-S – 2,796,678 pieces minted in San Francisco

1998-S – 2,086,507 pieces minted in San Francisco

1999-S – 2,543,401 pieces minted in San Francisco

2000-S – 3,082,483 pieces minted in San Francisco

2001-S – 2,294,043 pieces minted in San Francisco

2002-S – 2,277,720 pieces minted in San Francisco

2003-S – N/A minted in San Francisco

Special Strikes

1965 SMS – 2,360,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1966 SMS – 2,260,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1967 SMS – 1,860,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1994-P SMS – 167,703 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1997-P SMS – 25,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Type 2 Silver Alloy Jefferson Nickel

Photo taken by user bobby131313. Image courtesy of CCF Numismatics , 1945-P-Jefferson-War-Nickel-Obverse , size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0

The second type of the Jefferson Nickel were minted from 1942-1945 only. The composition was replaced with 56% Copper, 35% Silver, 9% Manganese since Nickel can no longer be used in coining five cents.

Photo taken by user bobby131313 and may be used freely with following credit. Image courtesy of CCF Numismatics, 1945-P-Jefferson-War-Nickel-Reverse, size von Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0

Another change in design was the location of a bigger mintmark just above the Monticello residence in the reverse.

Regular Strike

1942-P  – 57,873,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1942-S – 32,900,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1943-P – 271,165,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1943-P Doubled Die Obverse
  •    1943/2-P

1943-D – 15,294,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1943-S – 104,060,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1944-P – 119,150,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1944-D – 32,309,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1944-S – 21,640,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1945-P – 119,408,100 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1945-P Doubled Die Reverse

1945-D – 37,158,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1945-S – 58,939,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

Proofs

1942-P Type 2 – 27,600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

When the 200th anniversary of Meriwether Lewis & William Clark expedition occurred during the time Thomas Jefferson was the seated President, so a Jefferson Nickel was created in honor of this expedition. The Type 3 Jefferson Nickel actually has four designs which were all minted in 2004-2005. The metal composition is now back to 75% Copper, 25% Nickel.

The 2004 Peace Medal Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

The original design for the obverse remained but the reverse was replaced with a featured image of two hands shaking, with a tomahawk and crossed peace pipe. The legends the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA followed by LOUISIANA PURCHASE and the date 1803 is above while the E PLURIBUS UNUM and the denomination FIVE CENTS are below the featured image.

These are the two obverse designs for the Type 3 Jefferson Nickel

 

United States Mint, Nickel Obverse , size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

These are the four reverse designs for the Type 3 Jefferson Nickel

United States Mint, NickelReverses , edited by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The 2004 Keel Boat Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

Minted in 2004, it features the original design of the obverse while the reverse is now featuring a boat believed to be used by Lewis and Clark during their expedition. LEWIS & CLARK and the denomination FIVE CENTS  can be seen just below the boat while the legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM lies above the boat.

The 2005 American Bison Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

Minted in 2005, the obverse now has a portrait of Jefferson off-center and facing right. IN GOD WE TRUST, liberty is written in cursive and the year 2005 can be seen on the right side of the coin together with the mintmark. As for the reverse, an American Bison was used while the legend UNITED STATES of AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, and FIVE CENTS are inscribed,

The 2005 Western Waters Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

The last type of the Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel was minted in 2005 and retained the obverse of the 2005 American Bison Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel. The reverse now features a view of the Pacific Ocean where the words Ocean in view! Oh the Joy! Surrounding the featured image are the legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and LEWIS & CLARK 1805.

Regular Strike

2004-P Peace Medal – 361,440,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2004-D Peace Medal – 372,000,000 pieces were minted in Denver

2004-P Keel Boat – 366,720,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2004-D Keel Boat – 344,880,000 pieces were minted in Denver

2005-P Bison – 448,320,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Speared Bison – 487,680,000 pieces were minted in Denver

2005-D Bison – unknown pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-P Western Waters – 394,080,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Western Waters – 411,000,000 pieces were minted in Denver

Proofs

2004-S Peace Medal – 2,965,422 pieces were minted in San Francisco

2004-S Keel Boat – 2,965,422 pieces were minted in San Francisco

2005-S Bison – 3,344,679 pieces were minted in San Francisco

2005-S Western Waters – 3,344,679 pieces were minted in San Francisco

Special Strikes

2005-P Bison – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Bison – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Denver

2005-P Western Waters – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Western Waters – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Denver

Type 4, Return to Monticello Jefferson Nickel

The last and still in circulation design for the Jefferson Nickel went back to the original reverse design where Monticello is featured. Jefferson is now almost facing forward and is indented to the left. IN GOD WE TRUST, liberty in cursive writing and the date and year is inscribed on the right side of the coin. Minting of the Type 4 Jefferson Nickel started in 2006 up until the present.

Regular Strike

2006-P 5C Return to Monticello – 690,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2006-D 5C Return to Monticello – 810,000,000 pieces minted in Denver

2007-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2007-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2008-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2008-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2009-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2009-D 5C – 46,800,000 pieces minted in Denver

2010-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2010-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2011-P 5C – 450,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2011-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2012-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2012-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2013-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2013-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2014-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2014-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

Proofs

2006-S 5C Return to Monticello – 3,054,436 pieces minted in San Francisco

2007-S 5C – 2,577,166 pieces minted in San Francisco

2008-S 5C – 2,169,561 pieces minted in San Francisco

2009-S 5C – 2,179,867 pieces minted in San Francisco

2010-S 5C – 1,689,364 pieces minted in San Francisco

2011-S 5C – 1,453,276 pieces minted in San Francisco

2012-S 5C – 1,237,926 pieces minted in San Francisco

2013-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

2014-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

2015-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

2017-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

Special Strikes

2006-P 5C Return to Monticello-Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2006-D 5C Return to Monticello-Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2007-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2007-D 5C Satin Finish –  unknown pieces minted in Denver

2008-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2008-D 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2009-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2009-D 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2010-D 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2010-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

Collection Jefferson Nickel Coins

The Jefferson Nickel was lots of varieties – overdates doubled dies and over mintmarks. Due to high mintages,no dates are considered as scarce. Because of this, the Jefferson Nickel is an easily attainable and an affordable collection. As for collectors, the following are targeted and desired: the 1938-D, 1938-S, 1939, 1939-D, 1939-S 1950-D and 1961.

One can purchase PCGS-graded Jefferson Nickel coins from $1.00-27,500.00. Since most Jefferson Nickels are cheap, it makes a fun and easy collection that will continuously grow in number up until the time the design is retained. If you want to start a coin collection wherein you don’t need a lot of money to pull out from your and with less stress and difficulty, then the Jefferson Nickel is one you can start with.

References:

PCGS, PCGS CoinFacts, NGC Coin, Coin Community