1939 Nickel

by Chad Eicher

1939 Nickel

1939 NickelThe 1939 nickel remains one of the most sought-after coins in the Jefferson Nickel categories.

This is because of its amazing value and features which makes it circulate easily.

The article will talk about the 1939 nickel, its various grades, features, and why the nickel is rare.

An Overview of the 1939 nickel

1939 Jefferson Nickel
The 1939 nickel is part of the Jefferson series which has been in circulation since 1938. This coin is known as one of the most circulated nickel series among the top four nickels: Liberty Head, Jefferson Nickel series, Buffalo, and Shield series.

This Jefferson Nickel series has appealing and collectible coins which have some unique features which make them scarce.

Varieties of the 1939 nickel

The 1939 nickel series comes in several varieties which include:

The 1939 Nickel with no mint mark

This 1939 coin is the most popular of its series as there are about 121,247,871 pieces made and you can find many pieces still in great condition.

While some are sold for $20, the most valuable of this type goes for about $24,500 depending on grade.

The1939 Double MONTICELLO & FIVE cents nickel

1939 Double Monticello Jefferson Nickel
This is a scarce double die kind of 1939 nickel which was made in Philadelphia mint. Even when worn out, it is worth more than you can see at face value.

Collectors believe there are about 65,000 of these types out there. Non-graded of this nickel type goes for between $25 to $360, while graded can worth as much as $24,000.

1939 Proof Nickel

These 1939 nickel categories are specially prepared for collectors who know their worth. They show even small details and don’t experience much wear and tear.

They are an extremely scarce 1939 nickel because just 13,500 were made. The lowest value you will find for this nickel is $90 while the highest you can get is about $ 19,450.

1939-D Nickel

This is known as a scarce semi-key date in the Jefferson coin series, and it is very difficult to locate. Just about 3,263,634 pieces were struck at the Denver Mint and just about 30% of these are still available. The lowest value of this coin goes for $15 while the highest is $26, 500.

1939-S Nickel

There are about 6,700,334 pieces minted from the San Francisco mint. It isn’t considered rare, but still difficult to locate today. Grades that are heavily worn-out cost around $3-5 while clean ones can be sold for about $8,150.

Grades of the 1939 Jefferson Nickel

There are many stages of these coins that can be attributed to their grades. If you can identify the exact grade of the 1939 nickel, you can be able to place a value on them.

Here are some grades of this rare nickel:

Mint State Grade

This is a mint condition nickel which is known for a comprehensive luster coverage. Because it is minted, this coin comes without wear and there are visible dull areas in appearance.

Extremely fine grade

This 1939 nickel grade has a little wear with most of its luster gone. This coin shows some signs of smoothness around the high edges. You can identify this grade with light wear which is a defining metric.

Fine Grade

This nickel is one of the finest grades of 1939 nickel in the series, however, it is very rare in circulation. You will notice contours in the Jefferson bust and the head back.

When you check the central part of the hair, you will notice the smoothness in the area. There is a line separating the forehead from the hair, however, it is faded and missing.

Good Grade

This grade has clear signs of wear which shows an excellent grade. You will see that the high areas are flat and connected. The letter and dates on this coin are readable while there is a small connection between the letters and the rim.

Despite the visible wear, there is a transparent and bold portrait of Jefferson on this grade.

How to identify a rare 1939 Jefferson Nickel

Some people have the Jefferson Nickel without knowing it is in their possession. To people who aren’t familiar with nickels, all coins look similar, however to the trained eye there are obvious differences and flaws which make them special.

There are avenues to determine if a 1939 nickel is worth the value speculated. You can use the Internet to get the exact price for these nickels and how to identify them.

Check for the attributes and flaws of these coins to easily spot and identify them without losing much. For new collectors known as numismatists, you should consider getting a guide: Someone who is versatile in coin collections and nickels identification.

You should also get a magnifier that will allow you to view the excellent features of the nickel for a closer look. While it is true that most Jefferson Nickel, especially those minted in 1939 have values higher than speculated, they are still worthy to buy.

For beginners, keeping your nickels is recommended, although if you need money, you can sell them off at auctions.


The 1939 nickel is an excellent coin among the Jefferson series and their prices are higher than face value. The categories of these nickels and their grades have been discussed above, while not leaving out their prices.

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Article by

Chad Eicher

Detectorist Chad is passionate about metal detecting since he got his first metal detector as a gift when he was 12 years old. He created Metal Pursuits to share his knowledge and create the ultimate metal detecting resource on the web.

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