NEVER evaluate a book or coin based only on its face worth.
Over time, certain coins increase and maintain a great amount of value, and collectors are willing to pay top money for select desirable specimens.
Many US coins are now worth far more than their face value because of mistakes, limited mintage, or age.
This includes some incredibly uncommon nickels, some of which, while having a nominal value of just five cents, may fetch prices of hundreds or even millions.
According to statistics from the Professional Coin Grading Service, even though President Thomas Jefferson has been shown on the nickel since 1938, no five-cent piece featuring his face has ever sold for more than $50,000. (PCGS).
The Buffalo series, which featured the animal on the coin’s reverse, or tails side, from 1913 to 1938, produced some of the most valued nickels.
However, you’ll have to go a little bit further back in US history to locate the most costly nickel ever produced.
1. $4,560,000 for a 1913 Liberty Head nickel.
One of the most well-known and sought-after US coins is the 1913 Liberty Head nickel.
A small number of the last Liberty nickel coins were produced with a 1913 mint year when the US Mint switched over to Buffalo nickels in 1913.
According to the PCGS, there are only five known instances of the coin.
Only three remain for collectors since two are permanently in museum collections, including one at the Smithsonian.
An 1804 dollar, an 1894 dime, and a 1913 Liberty Head were sold in 2021 by a coin collector for more than $13 million.
According to the PCGS, the highest single sale price for a 1913 Liberty Head nickel was $4.56 million for a proof coin at an auction in 2018.
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2. 1918/17-D Nickel, valued at $350,750
The US Mint attempted to conceal an inaccuracy that was present in a limited number of nickels struck in Denver in 1918.
You could notice that the “8” in 1918 seems a little crooked if you pay close attention to the year that is imprinted on the coin’s face.
The centre of the number seems thicker than it should, and the top is flat rather than rounded.
This is due to a mistake by the Mint, which punched 1918 over dates that were accidentally struck in 1917.
Approximately 6,900 of these coins are still in use today, out of the approximately 7,000 that are still in existence.
Former PCGS President David Hall remarked, “The 1918/7-D is without a doubt the rarest coin in the Buffalo nickel series and it is one of the most significant coins of the 20th Century.”
One of these coins in mint condition fetched $350,750 in a PCGS-recorded auction in 2006.
3. Buffalo Nickel 1926-S – $322,000
In 1926, more than 50 million nickels were produced in the US.
Nearly 44 million of them were produced in Philadelphia, while another 5.6 million were produced in Denver.
Only 11,000 of the 970,000 1926 nickels produced at the San Francisco Mint still survive today, according to PCGS.
The 1926-S nickel is a treasured key date coin, whereas Denver nickels have some value and are worth more than $100 in circulating condition.
A 1926-S coin that was in mint form set a record when it sold for $322,000 in 2008 at auction, while circulating variants of the currency may fetch up to $5,000.
A 1926-S coin sold on eBay recently brought in a little over $1,000 for the vendor.
4. 1916 Buffalo nickel with a double die, worth $276,000
Some iterations of the 1916 Buffalo five-cent piece have mistakes, just as the 1918 nickel.
The 1916 nickel had the right year mark, although it was stamped twice, but the 1918 piece had the incorrect year stamped on it at first.
Coins are often struck several times to permanently embed the image or inscription using coin dies, the metal objects used to stamp emblems on coins.
Some coins include letters, numerals, and pictures that appear to have been imprinted twice in slightly different locations due to misaligned die strikes.
Due to the fact that doubling die faults often only affect a few coins at a time, coins become extremely valuable as a result.
Only roughly 400 of the many about 15,000 1916 Philadelphia nickels currently in existence, according to PCGS, contain twofold die faults.
These coins are worth at least $2,000 even in subpar condition, and in circulating condition, they may fetch more than $50,000.
Uncirculated nickel variants fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a 1926 doubled die coin selling for a record $276,000 in 2008 as one example.