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The 1941 Nickel is one of the most popular coins. Many people are wondering about its value.
In this article, I’ll show you what are the things that increase its worth and will give you some price estimates when possible.
This will help you find out if your nickel is valuable or not and know how to negotiate the price with coin dealers.
A few facts
The 1941 nickel is made from 75% copper and 25% nickel. No silver was used in this coin and it weighs 5 grams (Silver was introduced later in wartime nickels). so the metal value isn’t very high.
The bust of the US President Jefferson is on the obverse and it is facing left. On this side, you find the famous expression “In God we trust”. On the right, “Liberty” and “1941” are imprinted and separated by a star.
The reverse depicts Jefferson’s house, Monticello. The mint mark is in its right side. It can be a D (Denver) or an S (“San Francisco”).
If there is no mint mark, the 1941 nickel was minted on Philadelphia. These are the most abundant.
Only 18% of the 1941 nickels were minted in Denver and 14% have the San Francisco mint mark (S).
There is more demand for the last one. This means that this variety can be sold for more money.
In addition to that, The Jefferson nickel with the S mint mark has two sub-varieties. One of them is less common than the other (which means a higher value).
I’ll explain the difference between the two in the following paragraphs.
Grade’s impact on the value
The grade is a very important factor that impacts the coin’s value. 1941 nickels that have no rare errors can be sold for nearly 8000 $ because they have a high grade.
It’s important to note that for the coin that was sold for 8000$, the “full steps” contributed to increasing the price. I’ll explain what “full steps” means later on…
Coin grading is done by experts and you need some training to be able to grade your 1941 nickel. But, I’m going to give you an idea about it.
In a nutshell, a grade is a measurement of how good the coin looks. In order to receive a high grade, its surface should be shiny, unscratched and the details have to be clearly visible.
Since it is a measurement of how pretty the coin is, the grading has a degree of subjectivity.
The difference between the ratings given by two different numismatists will not be very large.
Actually, this whole grading thing was invented so that everybody can agree on some universal standards.
Early grades were not very accurate and they caused much confusion. Currently, the standards are more clear and the coin collecting community can agree on something.
The grading scale used nowadays was invented by Sheldon. It has 70 points with the two letters that describe the coin’s condition.
MS 70 is the highest grade. It means that that there are no visible flaws even if you use a microscope (8 times magnification).
The coin is in perfect condition. It has no scratches and it is shiny as if it was minted now (MS: mint state).
Coins with this grade or a little lower are very rare and they are very valuable (thousands of dollars).
P 1 is the lowest grade. The coin is scratched and damaged. It is barely identifiable. It is worthless unless it is made from precious metals like gold and silver.
To grade your coin you need to send it to one of the leading coin certification companies. They are: PCGS, NGC, ICG, and ANACS.
In this paragraph, I’ll show you the things that you should focus on while examining your 1941 nickels to identify which ones are valuable and which ones don’t.
Large S vs small s
Only 14% of the 1941 nickels were minted in San Francisco. This is why they are sought after.
For this variety, there are two sub-varieties: the small s and the large S.
The bottom edge of the small “s” is leveled with the bottom edge of the window in the Montecillo.
The serifs are shaped like door levers. And the bottom of the “s” is wider than its top.
In addition to the larger font, the large bottom line of the large “S” is flat and below the bottom edge of the Montecillo window.
The top and the bottom of the S have the same width. The bottom serif has a triangular shape.
The large S variety is rarer than the small one. Less than 50 of these were discovered. This is why is it highly sought after.
10 pairs of dies were used to produce the Jefferson nickels in San Francisco. Only one of them can make the large S. This is why they are rare.
If the mint mark was struck at least twice, then you have the RPM (re-punched mint mark). The primary impression is thicker and clearer than the secondary.
You can find this error for the S and the D mint mark. If the nickel has a high grade, it can be sold for 1100$.
Full steps (FS)
The reverse of the 1941 Jefferson nickel features the Montecillo. At its base, you find the steps leading inside.
Due to some quality issues, these steps are not always clearly visible. If they do, numismatists designate the coins as “full steps”.
Coin collectors love this variety and they are ready to pay some extra money for it.
Before 2004, coin-grading companies didn’t have universal standards for the “full steps” variety. For example, PCGS, one of the four leading coin companies, always designated nickels that have 5 or 6 steps “FS” (full steps).
NGC, before 2004, only gave this title to coins that have 6 steps. They later revised their standards to include the ones with 5 steps. And they call it “5FS” and “6FS”.
You should find at least 5 uninterrupted and separated lines.
The weaknesses in the lines can be due to the striking problems or planchet quality…
Only nickels with high grades (at least MS60) are eligible to be designated as full steps.
1941 nickels can be even more valuable if all the varieties that I already explained are present on one coin.
For example, if you find a 1941 nickel with the large S mint mark, which is re-punched and it has the full steps, you can sell it for a lot of money because it will be a very rare coincidence.
The 1941 Jefferson nickel was minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The one with the S mint mark is the rarest and therefore the more valuable.
For this variety, there are two sub-varieties, the small s and the large S. the latter is scarcer.
Nickels with high grades can be sold for 8000 dollars if they have the full steps.
This coin has a low melt value because it has no silver content. Errors like the RPM can increase its value up to 1100 $.