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10 Valuable American Nickels in Circulation

Nickels might seem like ordinary pocket change, but some hold significant value for collectors. Here are ten valuable American nickels you might find in circulation:

1. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel

The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, also known as the “V” nickel, is one of the most famous and valuable coins. Only five are known to exist, each with a unique history. Their value comes from their extreme rarity and the mystery surrounding their creation. These coins were likely produced without official authorization, adding to their intrigue. One example, the Olsen specimen, sold for over $3 million in 2010.

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2. 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel

This error coin features a doubled image on the obverse, particularly noticeable in the date and the word “LIBERTY.” The doubling occurred due to a misaligned die during production. The 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel is rare because few were struck before the error was corrected, making it highly valuable, especially in higher grades.

3. 1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel

The 1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel is a famous minting error where a buffalo appears with only three legs due to over-polishing of the die. This error makes the coin highly recognizable and valuable. In higher grades, this coin can fetch thousands of dollars, making it a prized possession for collectors.

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4. 1942-P War Nickel

During World War II, the U.S. Mint changed the composition of nickels to save nickel for the war effort. The 1942-P War Nickel contains silver, making it valuable. These nickels can be identified by the large mintmark above Monticello on the reverse. Their historical significance and silver content add to their desirability among collectors.

5. 1950-D Jefferson Nickel

With a low mintage of only 2.6 million, the 1950-D Jefferson Nickel is a key date for collectors. This scarcity has made the coin highly sought after, especially in Mint State condition. The 1950-D stands out in the Jefferson Nickel series and commands prices well above its face value.

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6. 1971-S No S Proof Jefferson Nickel

Proof coins are typically struck with high detail and a mirror-like finish, and they bear the “S” mintmark for San Francisco. However, some 1971 proof nickels were mistakenly struck without the “S” mintmark. This error makes the 1971-S No S Proof Jefferson Nickel extremely rare and valuable, especially in perfect Proof 70 condition.

7. 1982-P Jefferson Nickel

Some 1982 Jefferson Nickels were struck without the “P” mintmark, making them valuable errors. This absence of the mintmark is a result of a die that was not properly engraved. Collectors seek these error coins, especially in higher grades, making them worth much more than their face value.

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8. 2004-D Peace Medal Nickel

Part of the Westward Journey Nickel Series, the 2004-D Peace Medal Nickel commemorates the Lewis and Clark Expedition. High-grade examples of this coin are valuable, and collectors appreciate its historical significance and unique design, which departs from the traditional Jefferson Nickel.

9. 2005-D Ocean in View Nickel

Another coin from the Westward Journey Nickel Series, the 2005-D Ocean in View Nickel, features a depiction of the Pacific Ocean and a quote from William Clark’s journal. While not particularly rare, high-grade examples are valuable. This coin captures a pivotal moment in American history and is popular among collectors.

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10. 2009-P Jefferson Nickel

The 2009-P Jefferson Nickel had a low mintage due to reduced demand for new coinage during the economic recession. This relative scarcity makes it desirable to collectors. High-grade examples of the 2009-P can command premium prices, serving as a reminder of the unique economic factors that impacted coin production during that period.

Conclusion

Nickels, often overlooked in everyday transactions, can hold hidden treasures. From historic errors to modern commemoratives, these coins offer a fascinating glimpse into American history and the intricacies of coin production. Whether you’re an experienced collector or a curious beginner, discovering these valuable nickels can be a rewarding journey into numismatic history. Next time you handle a nickel, take a closer look—you might find a valuable piece of American history in your pocket change.

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FAQs

1. Why is the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel so valuable?

The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel is extremely rare, with only five known examples. Their rarity and the mystery surrounding their creation make them highly valuable.

2. What makes the 1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel unique?

The 1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel is a minting error where the buffalo appears with only three legs due to over-polishing of the die, making it highly recognizable and valuable.

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3. How can I identify a 1942-P War Nickel?

The 1942-P War Nickel contains silver and can be identified by the large mintmark above Monticello on the reverse side of the coin.

4. Why are some Jefferson Nickels from 1982 valuable?

Some 1982 Jefferson Nickels were struck without the “P” mintmark due to a die error, making them valuable to collectors, especially in higher grades.

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5. What is special about the 2005-D Ocean in View Nickel?

The 2005-D Ocean in View Nickel is part of the Westward Journey Nickel Series and features a depiction of the Pacific Ocean and a quote from William Clark’s journal, making it popular among collectors for its historical significance and unique design.

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