The US Mint has been producing Jefferson nickels continuously since 1938. This coin replaced the Buffalo nickel because its intricate design made production too challenging. The 1941 five-cent coin has a large mintage of over 300,000,000 and is widely available now. As a result, even in mint condition, these coins are not difficult to find. Because of the 1941 nickel’s low value, coin collectors constantly seek out uncirculated examples.
History of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
Except for 1922, 1932, and 1933, the US Mint has continuously produced nickels since 1866. After 25 years of production, the difficult-to-mint Buffalo nickel was replaced by Jefferson nickels.
Thomas Jefferson, the third American president and a member of the Founding Fathers, was chosen as the subject of the nickel. Felix Oscar Schlag, who created the perfect obverse, had to modify the reverse side and the design of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello.
The design of this coin first appeared in 1938 and remained unchanged until 2004. In 2006, Jamie Franki redesigned the nickel’s obverse, but Schlag’s reverse des remained the same. To produce Wartime nickels from mid-1942 to 1945, the US Mint used copper, silver, and manganese because nickel was in short supply.
In 1941, four different types of Jefferson nickels were produced. About two-thirds of the total production of 300,160,720 coins—203,265,000 coins without the mint mark and 18,720 proofs—were produced at the Philadelphia mint. The San Francisco mint only produced 43,445,000 nickels in 1941, while the Denver mint produced exactly 53,432,000.
|1940 Jefferson Nickel|
|Face value||5 cents ($0.05)|
|Compound||75% copper and 25% nickel|
|Coin weight||0.17637 ounces (5 g)|
|Coin diameter||0.83465 inches (21.2 mm)|
|Coin thickness||0.07677 inches (1.95 mm)|
SEE: 1935 Buffalo Nickel Value
Features of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
The Obverse of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
Felix Oscar Schlag, a German-born American sculptor, and designer, created the Jefferson nickel in circulation from 1938 to 2004. The third American president and one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, is portrayed on the coin’s obverse.
In addition to the president’s portrait facing left, there are writings along the coin’s obverse. The words IN GOD WE TRUST appear in front of his face on the coin’s left side, and the date appears on the right side. The date and the most revered word in American culture, LIBERTY, are separated by a star above.
The Reverse of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
The US Mint held a design competition for a new 5-cent nickel coin at the beginning of 1938, offering a $1,000 prize to the overall winner. The main request was for Monticello, Jefferson’s magnificent Virginia residence, to be featured prominently on the reverse.
For the first time, an American coin was designed by someone other than the Chief Sculptor-Engraver. Schlag won the contest, defeating 390 other competitors, but he had to flip the house around and alter the back side to be seen from the front.
But after revision, this design remained the same by 2004. The Monticello residence, situated in the coin’s center, is surrounded by the Latin motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The house’s name, “MONTICELLO,” its face value, “FIVE CENTS,” and the nation’s name, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” all appear in the bottom section. The right coin rim and Monticello are separated by small letters (S or D) on San Francisco and Denver nickels.
Other Features of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
The 1941 Jefferson nickel has a 75%: 25% mix of copper and nickel and weighs 0.17637 ounces (5 g). This piece has a diameter of 0.83504 inches (21.2 mm), is rounded, and is 0.07677 inches thick with a plain edge.
1941 Jefferson Nickel Value Guides
The coin’s type and level of preservation determine the price of 1941 Jefferson nickels. The next step is to check the number of steps on the reverse because the Full Steps variety is rare and more expensive than a regular strike.
1941 No Mint Mark Jefferson Nickel
A large percentage of the 203,265,000 1940 No Mint mark Nickels made in Philadelphia is worth between $0.11 and $13, depending on condition. These copper coins have fair prices, but those with five or six steps that are clearly visible can range in price from $10 to $325.
However, a collector set aside $2,875 in 2002 at Heritage Auctions to buy an impressive 1940 MS 68 Jefferson nickel. In 2006, the auction record was shattered by the 1940 MS 67 FS Jefferson nickel. A collector paid $5,175 for this extraordinary piece at the Superior Galleries auction.
1941 Proof Jefferson Nickel
The Philadelphia mint produced only 18,720 Jefferson nickel proofs in the first year of the war. The US Mint prepared highly polished planchets and specially made dies that allowed each piece to be struck at least twice. Because of this, the surfaces of these pieces are down to the smallest of details.
Depending on the condition, you can sell these pieces for anywhere from $18 to $110 each. The most expensive coin was the 1941 No Mint mark PR 68 Nickel, which fetched a staggering $18,800 at Heritage Auctions in 2013.
1941 D Jefferson Nickel
The 53,432,000 1941 nickels struck in Denver are estimated to be worth between $0.11 and $11. The letter D and Full Steps on the Monticello building are the most expensive pieces, though, and they can cost up to $5,000.
In 2019, a regular piece with an MS 68 grade set an auction record when it sold for $9,900 at Heritage Auctions. Even more, money was given to the participant with Full Steps. One collector set aside $11,400 for the stunning 1941 D MS 68 FS Jefferson nickel that was put up for auction at Stack’s Bo in 2018.
1941 S Jefferson Nickel
Only 43,445,000 Jefferson nickels were produced at the San Francisco mint during the first year of the war, which was the lowest mintage. The letter S struck next to the Monticello house on these coins serves as a unique identifier.
The price range for these pieces should be $0.11 to $13, but Full Steps pieces are frequently more pricey. Their typical price ranges from $28 to $2,400, depending on their condition. A 1941 S MS 67 Nickel fetched $1,900 on eBay in 2022. However, the coin with Full Steps, which Heritage Auctions sold in 2006 for an incredible $8,913 price, still holds the auction record.
1941 Full Steps Jefferson Nickel
1941 Full Steps Nickels are a little more difficult to find than regular coins. Although they are also part of a circulation strike, these fully struck examples have at least five fully visible Full Steps at the Monticello base.
Only mint-state coins without contact marks weakly struck steps, or signs of planchet issues are allowed to be included in this incredibly rare coin group. They are classified as 5FS or 6FS depending on the number of clearly visible, completed steps.
Every Full Steps nickel is rare, and when collectors find one, they frequently pay more for it than they would for a regular nickel. The MS 67 grade coins struck in Denver are the least expensive, selling for $325, while the MS 68 grade coins are the most expensive. Such a coin is outstandingly expensive—worth $5,000.
SEE: 2005 Buffalo Nickel Value
1941 Jefferson Nickel Errors
A 1940 Jefferson nickel will typically sell for a low price, except for outstandingly graded coins. On the other hand, some errors and Full Steps varieties are always more expensive.
1941 Jefferson Nickel Off-Center Error
Typically, the matrix made an error that increased the value of nickel by striking 5% to 10% of the layout away from the coin’s center. Usually $8 to $15, this piece can quickly rise to $75 to $100 or more if half of the design is missing.
1941 Jefferson Nickel with Re-punched Mint Mark
The small D and S letters were subject to numerous errors in the early 1940s because employees manually punched mint marks onto active dies. It is common to find coins with too weak, erratic, or upside-down initial punches.
Workers usually doubled or tripled the letters when re-punching, but some hobbyists claimed to have seen pieces with quadrupled marks. Although most of these coins have a value of $3 to $5, serious collectors will shell out at least $30 for specimens with more outrageous errors.
1941 Doubled Die Jefferson Nickel
Experts believe there may be a few 1941Nickels with doubling. However, finding an error that affects the coin’s value significantly or is noticeable is incredibly difficult. Most of them will be priced similarly to other common examples on the market.
1941 Jefferson Nickel with Die Cracks
When coin-striking planchets became too old, they began to crack. These cracks in the die surface, which frequently went unnoticed for some time, started appearing as raised lines on the coin design. These coins typically cost between $1 and $100.
A die cud, the most common die crack, can be seen forming on the coin rim. The typical appearance is that of a relatively flat bump attached to the edge—the highest-bidding specimens at auction fetch between $100 and $150.
1941 Jefferson Nickel Grading
Even though circulating coins can be in great condition and receive high ratings, collectors typically prefer coins still in their original mint condition. Since these coins are still quite old, it is undoubtedly best to leave the assessment of coin condition to specialists. On the other hand, you can get a rough idea for yourself by examining the features of a particular coin.
Uncirculated – Naturally, collectors prefer to go out and find these coins. The surface of such a piece still displays the original luster because it has never been used. The details of Jefferson’s brows and hair above his ears stand out in his portrait.
Extra fine – This condition shows that the nickel was only used for a short time. The graded in this manner have minor signs of wear. For instance, the brows and hair that protrude from Jefferson’s portrait have been slightly flattened. Jefferson’s fine hair strands and coat details are still clearly visible.
Fine – This coin clearly shows wear from its extensive history of use. The main relief details, such as Jefferson’s face and coat’s distinct contours, can still be seen. On the other hand, the former president’s hair and brows are remarkably similar.
Good – A coin in this condition has been in circulation for quite some time. The relief details are faded, and the surface has many dings and scratches. However, the texts and the date are still readable. The main design elements are now contours, and larger flat surfaces are visible.
|1940 Jefferson Nickel Value*|
|Quality||1940||1940 S||1940 D|
To accurately determine the value of your 1941 Nickel, you must first define the coin type. Three mints produced nickels that year, and the mint mark can occasionally impact a coin’s market value. One of the key factors in determining value is the coin’s condition. Even mint-state coins, though, aren’t very valuable in this situation.