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1939 Nickel Value Guides (Rare Errors, “D”, “S” and No Mint Mark)

1939 Nickel Value Guides (Rare Errors, “D”, “S” and No Mint Mark)

The US Mint produced four nickel series, including the longest-minting Jefferson nickels, from 1938 to the present. The 1939 nickel value depends on its condition and the mint mark.

This nickel generally belongs to valuable coins from the early era, making it desirable among collectors. Since coins produced in less than 10 million pieces are considered rare, those from San Francisco and Denver are considered pricey. Let’s take a look.

1939 Jefferson nickel value

Condition 1939 No Mint mark nickel 1939 No Mint mark double Monticello nickel 1939 D

nickel

1939 S

nickel

Good $0.11 $34 $3.30 $0.33
Very good $0.17 $39 $5.70 $0.67
Fine $0.22 $63 $7.88 $0.96
Very fine $0.28 $91 $11 $1.71
Extra fine $0.56 $121 $14 $5.70
AU $1.13 $169 $34 $11
MS 60 $2.28 $227 $67 $20
MS 65 $13 $1,1134 $135 $83
Proof 65 $130 / / /

*by USA Coin Book

 

History of the 1939 Jefferson Nickel

The 1939 Jefferson nickel belongs to the nickel series that also includes:

  • Shield nickels
  • Liberty Head nickels
  • Buffalo (Indian Head) nickels

The US Mint has struck Jefferson nickels from 1938 to these days, making them the longest-minting series in a group. However, the most collectible and valuable are coins produced in an early era, from 1938 to the 1960s.

1939 Jefferson nickel

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia 1939 No Mint mark nickel 120,615,000
Philadelphia 1939 proof nickel 12,535
Denver 1939 D nickel 3,514,000
San Francisco 1939 S nickel 6,630,000
Total / 130,771,535

Their design commemorates one of the Founding Fathers and the 3rd American President. By the way, it was the third circulating coin with a real person on the obverse instead of a symbolic figure, like an American Indian or Lady Liberty.

 

Features of 1939 Jefferson Nickel

Three mints produced 130,771,535 Jefferson nickels in 1939, but most coins from regular strikes and proofs were minted in Philadelphia. The Denver mint had the lowest mintage, making survived coins the most valuable.

The obverse of the 1939 Jefferson nickel

The obverse of the 1939 Jefferson nickel

Image: coinbin

Sculptor Felix Oscar Schlag created a simple but effective Jefferson nickel obverse with the 3rd US President in the center. His left-facing bust, made after Jean-Antoine Houdon’s sculpture from 1789, takes up most of the space.

You can see words IN GOD WE TRUST on the left, while the LIBERTY and the DATE are positioned behind Jefferson’s back.

The reverse of the 1939 Jefferson nickel

The reverse of the 1939 Jefferson nickel

The elegant reverse features include a front view of Jefferson’s mansion, Monticello, and its name positioned below. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is struck along the bottom rim, with the FIVE CENT denomination above.

The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM covers the entire composition from the top coin rim, completing the balanced design. Since Schlag’s initials appeared on this nickel in 1966 for the first time, you can’t find them on early coins.

1939 Jefferson nickel

Face value 5 cents ($0.05)
Compound Copper (75%) and nickel (25%)
Coin weight 0.17637 ounces (5 g)
Coin thickness 0.06890 inches (1.75 mm)
Coin diameter 0.83504 inches (21.21 mm)
Edge Plain
Shape Round

Other features of the 1939 Jefferson nickel

The 1939 Jefferson nickel is a coin with a face value of five cents and a compound of copper and nickel. Like other coins in the series, its weight is 0.17637 ounces (5 g), while its diameter is a standard 0.83504 inches (21.21 mm). You can expect this round piece with a plain edge to be 0.06890 inches (1.75 mm) thick.

 

1939 Jefferson Nickel Value Guides

The US Mint produced 1939 Jefferson nickels with two reverse-design varieties:

  • Reverse of 1938
  • Reverse of 1940

The first design depicted Monticello with weak and curved step details, and the new solution should have improved the design.

The first variation was rare because these coins were produced for a short period. On the other hand, pieces with a straighter set of steps and sharper details were abundant on the market.

1939 No Mint mark Jefferson nickel

1939 No Mint mark Jefferson nickel

Image: coinstudy

The Philadelphia mint produced 120,615,000 Jefferson nickels in 1939, achieving the highest mintage that year. The price of both varieties with the 1938 and 1940 reverse is similar, and you can buy these coins for $0.50 to $140. In most cases, their value depends on their preservation level.

1939 Jefferson nickel value

Condition 1939 reverse 1938 1939 reverse 1940 1939 reverse 1938 Full Steps 1939 reverse 1940 Full Steps
Extra fine $0.50 $0.50 / /
AU $0.75 to $1.50 $0.75 to 1 / /
MS 60 $2 $1.75 / /
MS 61 $3 $2 / /
MS 62 $5 $3 / /
MS 63 $7 $5,50 / /
MS 64 $9 $6 $85 $12
MS 65 $20 $18 $160 $30
MS 66 $40 $35 $300 $85
MS 67 $140 $115 $1,200 $270
MS 68 / / / $5,100

*by Greysheet

Full Steps pieces are more expensive and can be worth $10 to $1,200, while the most pricey is the 1939 Full Steps reverse 1940 nickel in an MS 68 grade with an estimated value of $5,100. However, one of these species reached $23,500 at an auction in 2014.

1939 proof Jefferson nickel

1939 proof Jefferson nickel

Image: pcgs

Besides regular strikes, the Philadelphia mint produced 12,535 proof nickels in 1939. Their value depends on the reverse, so that you can purchase 1939 reverse 1938 coins for $20 to $5,000. On the other hand, 1939 reverse 1940 pieces have significantly higher prices, particularly high-ranking ones.

1939 proof Jefferson nickel value

Condition 1939 reverse 1938 1939 reverse 1940 1939 reverse 1940 CAM
PR 60 $22 $25 /
PR 61 $25 $32 /
PR 62 $34 $40 /
PR 63 $45 $60 /
PR 64 $75 $100 /
PR 65 $110 $150 /
PR 66 $135 to $150 $400 to $450 $700
PR 67 $325 to $375 $1,000 to $1,100 $2,000
PR 68 $3,500 to $5,000 $8,000 to $12,000 /

*by Greysheet

The 1939 MS 68 reverse 1940 Jefferson nickel is the most pricey in the series, with an estimated value of $8,000 to $12,000. An auction record won a reverse 1938  coin in a PR 68 grade sold for $18,400 in 2010.

1939 D Jefferson nickel

1939 D Jefferson nickel

With 3,514,000 Jefferson nickels minted in 1939, the Denver mint had the lowest mintage. However, that fact doesn’t make them rare or pricey, and you can buy such a coin for $5 to $300.

Only Full Steps versions can bring a premium, like the 1939 D reverse 1940 coin with MS 68 rating worth $22,000. The most expensive coin in the series is one with the D mint mark, paid $26,400 in 2019.

1939 S Jefferson nickel

1939 S Jefferson nickel

The San Francisco mint produced 6,630,000 Jefferson nickels this year. In most cases, you should set aside up to $5 for circulated pieces. On the other hand, those in the mint state cost $20 to $750, depending on the reverse type.

1939 Jefferson nickel value

Condition 1939 D reverse 1938 1939 D reverse 1940 1939 S reverse 1938 1939 S reverse 1940
MS 60 $35 $35 $20 $22
MS 61 $36 $38 $22 $24
MS 62 $38 $40 $24 $26
MS 63 $40 $48 $26 $30
MS 64 $50 $50 $30 $35
MS 65 $55 $60 $40 $60
MS 66 $75 $80 $75 $165
MS 67 $165 $290 $220 $750

*by Greysheet

The most valuable are coins Full Steps, but their price significantly depends on the reverse. For instance, well-preserved pieces with the reverse 1938 in an MS 67 grade cost $900, while you should pay $5,000 for the same quality nickels with the reverse 1940.

 

1939 Jefferson Nickel Errors

You can recognize one 1939 Jefferson nickel variation and one well-known error. Both coin types are relatively rare, highly collectible, and typically expensive.

Full Steps

Jefferson nickels were not particularly interesting to collectors before the 1970s when Full Steps pieces became popular and sought after. These coins showed five or six steps in front of the Monticello building.

1939 Full Steps Jefferson nickel value

Condition 1939 D reverse 1938 1939 D reverse 1940 1939 S reverse 1938 1939 S reverse 1940
MS 64 $150 $130 $85 $80
MS 65 $320 $200 $165 $130
MS 66 $480 $475 $400 $425
MS 67 $760 $1,600 $900 $5,000
MS 68 / $22,000 / /

*by Greysheet

You can determine these nickels by counting the lines between the steps. If the coin has the complete first four lines, it is a piece with five Full Steps. If there are five clearly visible and uninterrupted lines, you look at a six Full Steps nickel.

Interestingly, Full Steps increases nickels’ value by ten or even twenty times compared to their regular price. Therefore, you should set aside hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to get one. Additionally, rare error Full Steps nickels always bring an additional premium.

Doubled Monticello

Only three years in the Jefferson nickel series have Doubled Dies, including 1939 DDR, 1943 DDO, and 1945 DDR. This error resulted from double striking a particular coin on the die, causing the double inscription or image on its surface.

1939 Jefferson nickel value

Condition 1939 double Monticello 1939 double Monticello Full Steps
Extra fine $125 to $162 /
AU $150 to $263 /
MS 60 $250 to $290 /
MS 61 $300 to $345 /
MS 62 $425 to $489 /
MS 63 $650 to $747 /
MS 64 $900 to $1,035 $1,200
MS 65 $1,250 to $1,438 $1,800
MS 66 $1,600 to $1,920 $3,300 to 5,000
MS 67 $2,400 to $3,000 $7,800
MS 68 /

*by Greysheet

The 1939 Jefferson nickels produced in Philadelphia have a better visible doubling than the other two, notable on the Monticello Dome and the denomination. Collectors estimate that only about 1,000 to 1,500 such nickels still exist.

Most 1939 DDO Jefferson nickels are low quality, making well-preserved pieces pricey. Depending on their ranking, you can buy one of these coins for $125 to $3,000. However, those in the highest grades with Full Steps typically cost $1,200 to $7,800.

 

FAQ about the 1939 Jefferson Nickel

What makes a 1939 Jefferson nickel rare?

The rarest 1939 Jefferson nickels are Full Steps variety and a collectible double Monticello pieces. Consequently, you can consider the 1939 FB double Monticello Jefferson nickel the rarest in the series.

Which 1939 Jefferson nickel is worth a lot of money?

  • The 1939 D MS 68 FS reverse 1940 sold for $26,400 (Stack’s Bowers, 2019)
  • The 1939 MS 68 FS reverse 1940 sold for $23,500 (Heritage Auctions, 2014)
  • The 1939 MS 67 FS doubled Monticello sold for $23,500 (Legend Rare Coin Auctions, 2019)
  • The 1939 PR 68 reverse 1938 sold for $18,400 (Bowers & Merena, 2010)
  • The 1939 PR 68 reverse 1940 sold for $15,600 (Heritage Auctions, 2022)
  • The 1939 PR0 CAM reverse 1940 sold for $10,350 (Stack’s Bowers, 2012)
  • The 1939 S MS 66 FS reverse 1938 sold for $8,050 (Heritage Auctions, 2006)
  • The 1939 S MS 67 FS reverse 1940 sold for $7,800 (Heritage Auctions, 2020)
  • The 1939 D MS 66 FS reverse 1938 sold for $7,475 (Heritage Auctions, 2006)
  • The 1939 MS 67+ FS reverse 1938 sold for $5,288 (Heritage Auctions, 2014)
  • The 1939 MS 67 doubled Monticello sold for $4,600 (Bowers & Merena, 2002)
  • The 1939 D MS 67+ reverse 1938 sold for $3,310 (eBay, 2022)
  • The 1939 MS 67 reverse 1940 sold for $1,725 (Superior Galleries, 2005)
  • The 1939 S MS 67 reverse 1938 sold for $1,528 (Heritage Auctions, 2013)
  • The 1939 S MS 67 reverse 1940 sold for $1,150 (Superior Galleries, 2005)
  • The 1939 PR 67 CAM reverse 1938 sold for $1,323 (Heritage Auctions, 2003)
  • The 1939 MS 68 reverse 1938 sold for $1,208 (Heritage Auctions, 2002)
  • The 1939 D MS 67 reverse 1940 sold for $1,093 (American Numismatic Rarities, 2006)

What is the 1939 No Mint mark Jefferson nickel price?

Most 1939 Jefferson nickels are worth $0.50 to $140, depending on the preservation level. Those with Full Steps are more expensive and are typically worth $10 to $5,100.

What is the most pricey Jefferson nickel?

The 1964 MS 65 SMS Jefferson nickel reached $8,750 at an auction, and it is the rarest in the series because barely 40 pieces still exist.

Still, it is not the most valuable because one collector paid $1,150,000 for the unique and pretty mysterious 1964 Jefferson nickel Mirror Brockage with a Jefferson image on both sides.

Mark williams

Wednesday 28th of December 2022

I have a 1939 nickel with no mint mark,in great shape,I would like to sell.

Jon

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

@Mark williams, did you ever have any luck selling it? I have one as well an was curious what steps I would have to take to get the best for it?