Did you discover a 1944 nickel in your pocket change? The Jefferson coins have quite an interesting history, but more important is that these coins are worth more than face value.
Your 1944 nickel might be worth thousands of dollars depending on the coin’s grade and condition. Although these nickels are quite common, some in mint uncirculated condition can fetch you a neat sum.
In this article, you will find out how much your 1944 nickel is worth. We’ll touch on the coin’s history and its physical characteristics. You will also learn about the various errors that significantly increase your nickel’s value.
Let’s jump in!
1944 Nickel Value Chart
|Mint mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1944 P Nickel Value||$1.25||$1.45||$2||$700|
|1944 D Nickel Value||$1.25||$1.45||$2||$750|
|1944 S Nickel Value||$1.25||$1.45||$2||$1500|
History of the 1944 Nickel
The United States Mint struck the first Jefferson nickels in 1938 after the United States Treasury decided to stop the production of the Buffalo nickel. Also known as the Indian Head nickel, the Buffalo nickel had been in circulation for twenty-five years, and it was time for a new coin.
In addition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt greatly admired former President Thomas Jefferson and thought it fit to immortalize him on yet another U.S. currency. So, the U.S. Mint held a contest to find a suitable design for the next coin after the Buffalo nickel.
The Mint received three hundred and ninety entries but chose Felix Schlag, a German native who immigrated to America in 1929. Schlag took four weeks to perfect the coin’s design which featured President Thomas Jefferson’s profile as depicted in a Gilbert Stuart image on the obverse and the Monticello on the reverse. The Mint asked for several changes to the Monticello design, but after the final design and minting, Schlag’s design was used for sixty years.
While the coin’s design has remained relatively unchanged, the nickel’s metal composition has changed over the years. Since its inception, the coin comprised 75% copper and 25% nickel. But in the war years between 1942-1946, the metal composition of the Jefferson nickel changed to 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. The nickel used to make the coins was diverted for war purposes.
The 1944 nickel, like all the others in the series, was struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints.
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Features of the 1944 Nickel
In this section, we’ll look at the physical attributes of the 1944 nickel. Knowing what to look for can help determine if your 1944 nickel is worth anything.
The Obverse of the 1944 Nickel
The obverse, also known as the heads, is the top side of the coin. On the 1944 nickel, the obverse features the left-facing portrait of President Thomas Jefferson adorned in a wide-collared tuxedo with his hair held back in a low ponytail.
The motto IN GOD WE TRUST is inscribed around the coin’s left edge, while the word LIBERTY and the date, 1944, appear around the coin’s right edge. A star separates the word LIBERTY and the date.
The Reverse Of the 1944 Nickel
The reverse is the tail or back side of the coin. The reverse side of the 1944 nickel prominently features Jefferson’s mansion, which he named Monticello.
The design encompasses the entire two-dimensional span of the house, including the left and right-wing and the staircases at the entryway. The word MONTICELLO appears across the coin at the bottom of the mansion’s staircase.
The coin’s denomination, FIVE CENTS, is inscribed right below the mansion’s name.
The motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, appears around the top edge of the coin, while the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are imprinted around the bottom edge.
Other Features of the 1944 Nickel
The 1944 nickel was struck at the mints in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. All coins minted at each facility have a mintmark, P, D, or S, respectively.
Usually, coins struck in Philadelphia do not have a mintmark, and 1944 was the first year the P mintmark appeared on nickels.
The Jefferson nickel from 1944 comprises 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. It measures 21.2mm in diameter and weighs 5 grams.
The mint mark, whether P, D, or S, appears prominently on the reverse at the top-most point of the Monticello.
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1944 Nickel Value Guide
In this section, we will take a detailed look at the value of the 1944 nickel. That year, the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints struck the Jefferson nickels, resulting in three varieties. These include:
- The 1944 P Nickel
- The 1944 D Nickel
- The 1944 S Nickel
Let’s now look at the value of each of these nickels. How much your Jefferson nickel is worth will depend on factors such as its condition, the coin’s rarity, and the presence of significant errors.
1944 P Nickel Value
The Philadelphia mint struck 119,150,000 Jefferson nickels in 1944. You can identify these coins by the large P appearing on the reverse at the top of the Monticello mansion.
It is clear that the Philadelphia facility produced a large number of Jefferson nickels in 1944, and most were released into general circulation. Many of the 1944 P nickels came out with a poor strike resulting from the Mint using worn, clumsily polished dies. So, most of the circulation nickels from this year will appear significantly damaged.
Uncirculated 1944 P Jefferson nickels in mint condition are plentiful, but the true gems are fairly scarce.
The 1944 P nickel value for circulated coins is between $1.25 and $3. In uncirculated condition, the coin can fetch up to $700. The most expensive 1944-P nickel, graded MS60, was sold at 7,475 in 2011.
1944 D Nickel Value
A total of 32,309,000 Jefferson nickels were struck at the Denver mint in 1944.
Unlike the nickels from Philly, the ones from the Denver mint were struck remarkably well, coming out with an attractive luster and sharp strike, a great example of a wartime coin.
Although not rare, the Denver 1944 nickels are fewer than those minted in Philadelphia. You can identify these coins by the large D mark at the top of the dome on Monticello.
In circulated condition, 1944 D nickels are worth between $1.25 and $4.25, while in uncirculated condition, this coin can fetch as much as $750.
The most expensive 1944 D nickel graded at MS67 was sold at $1,840 in 2006.
1944 S Nickel Value
The San Francisco mint struck 21,640,000 Jefferson nickels in 1944.
Most coins minted in San Francisco in the 1940s were poorly struck, and the 1944 Jefferson nickels were no exception. The mint overused the die, taking too long before replacing them. This resulted in coins with a low relief or weak strike in some places, especially on the staircase.
You can identify the 1944 S nickel by its low relief or weak impression. Aside from using worn dies, the mint also devised a mechanism for striking more coins by mounting two dies on one press. While this technique increased the number of coins minted and reduced production time, it also resulted in some of the coins having a faded design.
A 1944 S nickel, in general circulation, is worth between $1.25 and $4. In an uncirculated mint state, it can fetch up to $1,500.
In 2021, a 1944 S nickel in grade MS68 sold for $6,169.
All in all, 1944 nickels are worth more than face value, which is good news. That said, this coin had a high mintage between the three mints, and many of the coins were released into circulation.
In addition, when considering the Philadelphia and San Francisco coins, most 1944 S nickels are worn or generally in poor condition. Jefferson nickels from 1944 in mint, uncirculated condition are fairly scarce. All this explains the big difference between the value of the circulated and uncirculated nickels minted in 1944.
It is worth noting that Jefferson nickels with all the steps on the Monticello entryway showing are highly desirable. Also known as full-step nickels, these coins can fetch more than $100, especially for uncirculated, mint state coins.
1944 Nickel Errors
Some unique errors can increase the value of an old coin. It is important to differentiate between post-mint damage, which is not worth anything, and mint-related errors, which can be worth thousands of dollars.
Here are the most valuable 1944 nickel errors you should look out for:
1944 Repunched Mintmark Nickel Error
As the name suggests, a repunched mintmark error occurs when the mintmark is struck more than once or punched at the wrong angle.
The repunched mintmark error is very common among 1944 nickels struck in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. There are numerous examples of these coins, and they can be worth between $50 and $100.
The repunched mintmark error is common because the Mint punched mintmarks on dies by hand. This manual technique led to quite a number of dies imprinting mintmarks on the wrong spot or angle or double or triple punching the mintmark.
Generally, 1944 nickels with a double repunched mintmark are worth about $3 to $5, but those with a triple, quadrupled, or one mintmark placed incorrectly over one that’s correct can fetch $100 or more.
1944 Off-Center Nickel Error
Off-centers are quite interesting errors that feature a misaligned or missing design. This error occurs when the coin and die are misaligned on the hub.
In numismatic circles, 1944 nickels missing at least 50% of the design are highly collectible and are generally worth more. That said, if you happen to find a 1944 Jefferson nickel with half the design missing but the mintmark and date are fully visible, you should hold on to this coin as it is quite valuable.
Generally, a 1944 off-center nickel error with at least 5% of the design missing is worth between $5 and $10. But, a nickel from the same year in which at least 50% of the design is missing but the date is fully visible, is worth $100 or more.
1944 Doubled Die Nickel Error
The doubled die error is popular among collectors. This error happens when the coin’s design is impressed two times on the die. The result is a doubling or tripling of the design, with each impression appearing at a slightly different angle.
The 1944 doubled die nickels are quite rare but extremely desirable, with nickels showing strong doubling fetching a higher value. Currently, there are no know strong doubled die 1944 nickel errors. The existing examples only have minor doubling, but these rare coins are worth between $25 and $100, but it is common for doubled die nickels to fetch more.
Let’s now look at some common questions regarding the 1944 nickel.
Is a 1944 S nickel worth anything?
The value of a 1944 S nickel depends on the coin’s condition. Nickels minted in San Francisco in the 1940s were generally of a poor strike, with a low impression design and lacking luster. Many of these coins were released into circulation and are quite worn. As of today, circulation grade 1944-S nickels are worth very little; they are certainly worth more than face value, but their average value is between $1.25 and $4. Mint state 1944 S nickels are worth significantly more, fetching upward of $1500.
How rare is a 1944 nickel?
The 1944 nickel is very common, given that the Mint struck more than 170 million coins. Millions of the 1944 Jefferson nickels are still in circulation, and this coin can be ranked low on the rarity scale. That said, some Jefferson nickels from 1944 in mint, gem, and uncirculated condition are rare, with only a few existing examples.
How can you tell if a 1944 nickel is silver?
All Jefferson nickels minted between 1942 and 1945 contain 35% silver. You can rest assured that your nickel from 1944 contains some silver. Check the coin’s reverse, and you should identify the prominent Monticello mansion on all silver war nickels.