Jefferson’s nickel production at the US Mint started in 1938 and has continued to this day. This coin replaced the Buffalo nickel, whose intricate design made production too difficult. With a large mintage of more than 300,000,000, the 1941 five-cent coin is widely available on the current coin market. Because of this, it is not difficult to locate these coins, even in mint condition. Due to the low value of the 1941 nickel, coin collectors frequently seek out uncirculated examples.
History of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
The US Mint began producing nickels in 1866 and has continued to do so up until the present day, except for 1922, 1932, and 1933. Jefferson nickels took the place of the challenging-to-mint Buffalo nickel after 25 years of production.
The third American President and one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, was chosen as the subject for the nickel. The perfect obverse was crafted by Felix Oscar Schlag, who had to make significant changes to the reverse side and the appearance of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello.
This coin’s design debuted in 1938 and remained unaltered until 2004. Jamie Franki created a new obverse for the nickel in 2006, but Schlag’s coin reverse remained the same.
The 1941 Jefferson nickel, produced during the first year of the war, was the last copper and nickel coin made before the war ended. Because nickel was scarce, the US Mint produced Wartime nickels from mid-1942 to 1945 using copper, silver, and manganese.
There were four distinct varieties of Jefferson nickel produced in 1941. The Philadelphia mint struck 203,265,000 coins without the mint mark and 18,720 proofs, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the total production of 300,160,720 coins.
In 1941, the Denver mint produced precisely 53,432,000 nickels, while the San Francisco mint produced the fewest coins—only 43,445,000.
|1941 Jefferson Nickel|
|San Francisco||1941 S||43,445,000|
Features of the 1941 Jefferson Nickel
The obverse of the 1941 Jefferson nickel
Felix Oscar Schlag, a German-born American designer, and sculptor, created the copper-nickel Jefferson nickel, used from 1938 to 2004. The obverse features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers. In addition to the President’s profile facing left, there are inscriptions along the coin’s obverse.
In front of his face, on the coin’s left side, are the words IN GOD WE TRUST, and the date is on the right. Above, a star separates the date from the most cherished word in American culture, LIBERTY.
The reverse of the 1941 Jefferson nickel
Early in 1938, the US Mint held a design contest for a new 5-cent nickel coin, offering a $1,000 prize to the eventual winner. The main demand was for Jefferson’s stunning Virginia home, Monticello, to take center stage on the reverse.
For the first time, an American coin was created by someone other than the Chief Sculptor-Engraver. Schlag beat out 390 other competitors in that competition, but to be seen from the front, he had to turn the house around and change the reverse side.
This design, however, remained unchanged by 2004 after being revised. The Latin motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed around the Monticello home, located in the center of the coin. The bottom section is reserved for the name of the house, “MONTICELLO,” the face value, “FIVE CENTS,” and the country name, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” San Francisco and Denver nickels have small letters (S or D) between the right coin rim and Monticello.
Other features of the 1941 Jefferson nickel
The 1941 Jefferson nickel weighs 0.17637 ounces (5 g) and comprises a 75%: 25% mix of copper and nickel. This piece is 0.83504 inches (21.2 mm) in diameter, rounded, and 0.07677 inches (1.95 mm) thick with a plain edge.
|1941 Jefferson Nickel|
|Face value||5 cents ($0.05)|
|Compound||75% copper plus nickel|
|Coin weight||0.1764 ounces (5 g)|
|Coin diameter||0.8346 inches (21.2 mm)|
|Coin thickness||0.0768 inches (1.95 mm)|
1941 Jefferson Nickel Value Guides
Pricing for 1941 Jefferson nickels is based on the coin’s type and degree of preservation. Checking the number of steps on the reverse is the next step because the Full Steps variety is uncommon and more expensive than a standard strike.
1941 No Mint mark Jefferson nickel
Most of the 203,265,000 1941 No Mint mark Jefferson nickels produced in Philadelphia are worth $0.11 to $13, based on condition. These copper coins are reasonably priced, but those with clearly visible 5 to 6 steps can cost anywhere between $10 and $325.
But in 2002, at Heritage Auctions, a collector set aside $2,875 to purchase a stunning 1941 MS 68 Jefferson nickel. The 1941 MS 67 FS Jefferson nickel broke the auction record in 2006. A collector purchased this extraordinary piece at the Superior Galleries auction for $5,175.
1941 proof Jefferson nickel
In the first year of the war, the Philadelphia mint produced a limited 18,720 Jefferson nickel proofs. Each piece could be struck at least twice thanks to the highly polished planchets and custom-made dies that the US Mint prepared. As a result, you can see even the smallest details on the surfaces of these specimens.
Depending on the grade, you can sell items for anywhere between $18 and $110. The most expensive is the 1941 No Mint mark PR 68 Jefferson nickel, which sold in 2013 at Heritage Auctions for an astounding $18,800.
1941 D Jefferson nickel
The estimated value range of the 53,432,000 1941 nickels struck in Denver is between $0.11 and $11. The most expensive pieces, however, with the letter D and Full Steps on the right side of the Monticello building, quickly reach $8 and even $5,000.
A regular coin with an MS 68 rating set an auction record in 2019 after selling for $9,900 at Heritage Auctions. The one with Full Steps received an even larger sum. When the gorgeous 1941 D MS 68 FS Jefferson nickel went up for auction in 2018 at Stack’s Bo, one collector set aside $11,400 for it.
1941 S Jefferson nickel
In the first year of the war, the San Francisco mint had the lowest mintage, producing only 43,445,000 Jefferson nickels. These coins can be identified by the letter S minted next to the Monticello residence.
These pieces should cost between $0.11 and $13, but those with Full Steps are frequently more expensive. Depending on their condition, their average cost ranges from $28 to $2,400. In 2022, a 1941 S MS 67 Jefferson nickel brought in $1,900 on eBay. However, the coin with Full Steps, which Heritage Auctions sold in 2006 for a fantastic $8,913 price, continues to hold the auction record.
1941 Full Steps Jefferson nickel
Along with regular coins, 1941 Full Steps Jefferson nickels are a little harder to come by. Although they are also a part of a circulation strike, these fully struck specimens have at least five clearly visible Full Steps at the Monticello base.
This incredibly rare coin group can only contain mint-state coins free of contact marks, weakly struck steps, and traces of planchet issues. Depending on how many visible, finished steps there are, they are designated as 5FS or 6FS.
All Full Steps nickels are uncommon, and when collectors find them, they frequently pay more for those special coins than for common ones. The least expensive coins are those struck in Denver in the MS 67 grade, which sells for $325, while the most expensive coins are those struck in the MS 68 grade. Such a coin is worth an astounding $5,000.
1941 Jefferson Nickel Errors
1941 Jefferson nickel off-center error
Typically, the matrix made a mistake that could increase the value of nickel by hitting 5% to 10% of the layout outside the coin’s center. This piece is typical $8 to $15, but those with 50% of the design missing quickly reach $75 to $100+.
1941 Jefferson nickel with re-punched mint mark
In the early 1940s, many mistakes were made with the small D and S letters because workers manually punched mint marks onto working dies. Coins with too-weak, imprecise, or upside-down initial punches are common.
Workers frequently doubled or tripled the letters when re-punching, but some collectors even saw pieces with quadrupled marks. Most of these pieces are worth $3 to $5, but serious collectors will pay at least $30 for specimens with more severe flaws.
1941 Doubled Die Jefferson nickel
According to experts, there may be a few 1941 Jefferson nickels with doubling. However, finding a noticeable error or significantly raising the coin’s value is virtually impossible. Most of them will be priced similarly to other standard pieces on the market.
1941 Jefferson nickel with Die Cracks
Coin-striking planchets began to crack once they grew too old. Raised lines began to appear on the coin design due to these die surface cracks, which frequently went undetected for a while. The usual price range for these coins is $1 to $100.
The most popular type of die crack, a die cud, can be seen developing on the coin rim. Typically, it looks like a flattish bump attached to the edge. The auction prices for specimens with the biggest cuds range from $100 to $150.
1941 Jefferson Nickel Grading
Even though circulating coins can be in excellent condition and earn a high rating, collectors typically demand coins in the mint state. Since these are still very old coins, it is unquestionably best to leave the valuation of the coin condition to experts.
On the other hand, by examining a specific coin’s characteristics, you can make a rough estimate yourself.
Uncirculated – Of course, finding these coins is what collectors prefer to do. Such a piece has never been used, so its surface still shows the original luster. The details of Jefferson’s eyebrows and hair above his ears are particularly noticeable in his portrait.
Extra fine – This case shows that the nickel was only briefly in circulation. The coins rated in this manner show minor signs of wear. For instance, protruding details on Jefferson’s portrait, like his hair and brows, have been slightly flattened. The details of Jefferson’s coat and fine hair can still be clearly seen.
Fine – There are obvious signs of wear on this coin from its long history of use. However, the primary relief features, such as the distinct contours of Jefferson’s face and coat, are still discernible. On the other hand, you’ll notice that the former President’s brows and hair are nearly identical.
Good – A coin in this poor condition has been in use for a while, and its surface has numerous dings and scratches, and the relief details are faded. The main design features are now contours, and larger flat surfaces are visible, but the texts and the date are still readable.
|1941 Jefferson Nickel Value*|
|Quality||1941||1941 D||1941 S|
|AU||$0.9 to $1.5||$3 to $3.71||$3.38 to $3.78|
It would help if you first defined the coin type to accurately calculate your 1941 Nickel’s value. That year, nickels were produced at three mints, and the mint mark can sometimes affect the market price of a coin.
The coin’s condition is one of the most important aspects in determining value. However, even mint-state coins aren’t worth much in this situation.