In 1938, the Buffalo nickel minting stopped, and the US Mint started Jefferson nickel production. These 5-cent coins got their name after former President Jefferson’s bust struck on the obverse. Since they have been in circulation for more than 80 years, they are among the most famous American coinage.
Most of these nickels are collectible, although series from an earlier period are more attractive to collectors. Even though each piece has its significance in the collection, it is vital to determine the 1963 nickel value before purchasing. Let’s check!
1963 Jefferson nickel value Chart
|Condition||No Mint mark 1963 nickel||1963 D nickel|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1963 Jefferson Nickel
In 1938, the Jefferson nickel production began. The Buffalo nickels were in circulation for 25 years, but Treasury Department decided to end their minting due to overly demanding design. Then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that Americans deserved to get a coin with the image of their third President.
At the beginning of that year, the US Mint announced an open tender for a new nickel design. Participants were required to fulfill two conditions of the competition:
- The obligatory Thomas Jefferson image on the obverse
- The Monticello mansion on the reverse
The contest winner was meant a prize of $1,000.
1963 Jefferson nickel
|Philadelphia||1963 nickel (No Mint mark)||178,851,645|
|Philadelphia||1963 nickel (proof)||3,075,645|
|Denver||1963 D nickel||276,829,460|
From almost 400 submitted works, the Commission of Fine Arts chose the German immigrant Felix Schlag‘s idea. In fact, officials accepted the obverse but asked the artist to revise the reverse design. They objected to the letters used for inscriptions and the Monticello position and required font change and a front view of the house.
Unlike the appearance, which remained almost unchanged for over six decades, the coin’s composition had variations. The most often used for minting this nickel has included a copper-nickel alloy.
The World War II outbreak disrupted the metal market situation since the military industry had an increased need for a nickel. Therefore, the US Mint had to find an alternative to minting Jefferson nickels and use copper-silver composition with a low percentage of manganese from 1942 to 1946.
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Features of the 1963 Jefferson Nickel
The 1963 Jefferson nickel production began more than 60 years ago, and most of these coins were released into circulation immediately. Even though most surviving pieces show signs of wear, collectors like them and consider them a valuable part of the series.
The 1963 Jefferson nickel obverse
The central part of the obverse shows a portrait of the third American President. A simple left-facing portrait design shows him in a high-collared coat with his hair tied in a ponytail.
You can read two inscriptions on the obverse, including the well-known phrase IN GOD WE TRUST that stretches along the left rim. You can also see the word LIBERTY and the minting year along the right rim, separated by an asterisk.
The 1963 Jefferson nickel reverse
On the reverse, you can see the monumental Monticello building the President personally designed. This coin side is full of details, contrasting the concise and simple obverse.
Above the building dome on the upper rim is the Latin saying, while its name, MONTICELLO, is under the stairs. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA extends along the lower edge, while the denomination FIVE CENTS is above it.
1963 Jefferson nickel
|Face value||Five cents ($0.05)|
|Compound||Alloy made of copper and nickel|
|Coin diameter||0.8346 inches (21.2 mm)|
|Coin weight||0.1764 ounces (5 g)|
|Coin thickness||0.0768 inches (1.95 mm)|
Other features of the 1963 Jefferson nickel
The Jefferson nickel minted this year is a round coin composed of nickel and copper. This coin weighs about 0.1764 ounces (5 g), while its diameter is 0.8346 inches (21.2 mm). Its thickness of 0.0768 inches (1.95 mm) is standard for this kind of nickel.
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1963 Jefferson Nickel Value Guides
Collectors usually collect sets combining dates and mints. In 1963, the US Mint minted three kinds of Jefferson nickel in a total mintage of slightly less than half a billion specimens. Most of these pieces are still present on the coin market, and this causes their low value.
1963 Jefferson nickel (No Mint mark)
In 1963, the Philadelphia mint minted 178,851,645 Jefferson nickels in total. Although this mint usually struck the most significant number of coins, it produced almost 100 million fewer pieces than the Denver mint this year. They came without the mint mark because it was the usual practice in that historical period.
Such a high circulation had a significant impact on these coins’ value, so you can purchase a well-preserved specimen for only five cents on the open market. Even pieces in the mint state are not highly valued, so you can find them for as little as $11.
The situation is somewhat different at auctions. One collector paid a remarkable $3,408 for a 1963 Jefferson nickel with an MS 67+ rating in 2019. A slightly higher record of $3,600 achieved the 1963 Jefferson nickel marked with Full Steps.
1963 Jefferson nickel (proof)
Besides coins from the regular strike, the Philadelphia mint struck proof Jefferson nickels in 1963. The share of these nickels in the total circulation was only 3,075,645, representing the smallest mintage this year.
These proofs have a slightly different value than regular coins. Their price ranges from 25 cents to $28, depending on the rating. Plus, specimens marked CAM and DCAM always come with a higher value.
1963 Jefferson nickel (proof) value
|Condition||1963 nickel||1963 CAM nickel||1963 DCAM nickel|
On the other hand, these nickels are valued quite differently at auctions. For instance, the 1963 Jefferson nickel in the highest possible grade sold for $978 in 2012. On the other hand, the coin with beautiful cameo contrast reached a lower price of $190 on eBay.
The deep cameo contrast significantly influences the coin value in most cases. Therefore, it is unsurprising that one collector paid $881 for such a beautiful specimen.
1963 D Jefferson nickel
The Denver mint had the largest mintage of Jefferson nickels in 1963. During the 1960s, this mint circulation increased yearly, with as many as 276,829,460 pieces produced this particular year.
As expected, these nickels’ abundance on the coin market significantly affects their value. Therefore, you can buy a circulated coin in average condition for only five cents, representing its face value. On the other hand, you should spend a little more money on specimens in the uncirculated condition that cost $35 on average.
However, auction records may surprise you. One collector set aside $1,320 for the MS 66+ graded nickel in 2019. Since the Full Steps feature significantly affects record highs, one FS nickel effortlessly reached $9,200 at an auction.
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1963 Jefferson Nickel Errors and Variations
With all the effort that the US Mint puts into during production to eliminate minting errors or reduce their number, they are still present. On the other hand, collectors find such specimens more interesting than regularly minted coins, and they often reach significantly higher prices than coins from regular strikes.
Jefferson nickels were well-known to be poorly struck on steps at the Monticello entrance in most cases, as the planchet alloy was extremely hard for dies. The design created problems adjusting the die to hit both coin sides ideally.
The second reason for the steps weaker strike was the old and worn-out dies. However, you can find nickels with five or six clearly visible steps marked as Full Steps. Coins with this categorization in specific issues can be extremely rare, significantly affecting their value.
1963 Jefferson nickel (Full Steps) value
|Condition||No Mint mark 1963 FS nickel||1963 D FS nickel|
The value of the 1963 Jefferson nickels with Full Steps ranges from $20 to $3,300. Prices mainly depend on the mint mark and coin condition and can be unexpectedly high at auctions.
For instance, one collector bought the 1963 D Jefferson nickel with Full Steps for a whopping $9,200 in 2008. On the other hand, a similar coin from the Philadelphia mint reached $3,600 twelve years later.
This error is one of the most common among 1963 nickels. It appears when the die strikes the same coin two or three times, resulting in doubled numbers, letters, and mint marks.
Due to their frequency, such specimens’ value is low. Thus, you can buy Jefferson nickels struck this year with this error for $2 to $95.
Nickel struck on a cent planchet
This error occurred when workers mistakenly used planchets of previously minted cents for nickel mintage. You can recognize the 1963 nickels with this error by the lighter appearance and smaller diameter. Their price range is from $10 to $320 on the open market.
Coins with partially cut designs occurred when the die struck an incorrectly placed planchet. An empty surface in the shape of a crescent was visible on the opposite rim, and sometimes the coin could even lose its standard form.
The value of these coins is affected by the visible design percentage and the date presence. Depending on the error size and location, you can buy one of these nickels for $3 to $250.
A rotated die error was the result of the die not being positioned correctly concerning the one on the opposite side. The value of these coins is in the error degree.
The Black Beauty Jefferson nickel
This error type is extremely rare. These coins appeared during the planchet cutting when the cutter overheated, causing the copper and nickel separation. As a result, darker copper became the top layer instead of nickel, making the entire coin look dark.
FAQ about the 1963 Jefferson Nickel
What makes a 1963 Jefferson nickel scarce on the coin market?
Since the Jefferson nickel mintage was almost half a billion in 1963, some specimens are still in circulation today.
The absence of specifics makes this nickel common and available, making even coins from regular strikes in the mint state abundant. On the other hand, Black Beauty error pieces are considered scarce.
Which 1963 Jefferson nickels are the most expensive in the series?
- One collector purchased the 1963 D MS 65 FS nickel at Heritage Auctions for $9,200 (2008)
- One collector purchased the 1963 MS 67 FS nickel at Heritage Auctions for $3,600 (2020)
- One collector purchased the 1963 MS 67+ nickel at LRC Auctions for $3,408 (2019)
- One collector purchased the 1963 D MS 66+ nickel at Heritage Auctions for $1,320 (2019)
- One collector purchased the 1963 PR 70 nickel at Heritage Auctions for $978 (2012)
- One collector purchased the 1963 PR 69 nickel (DCAM) at Heritage Auctions for $881 (2013)
- One collector purchased the 1963 PR 66 nickel (CAM) on eBay for $190 (2019)
How much is the No Mint mark 1963 Jefferson nickel expensive?
The Philadelphia mint released over 178 million Jefferson nickels in circulation in 1963. Such a high mintage enables their high availability on the market and influences their value, ranging from five cents to $11.
What is the rarest and most collectible Jefferson nickel?
The Jefferson nickel production began in 1938, and collectors need to put considerable effort into finding these coins in the mint state nowadays. Interestingly, the rarest Jefferson nickel is a piece from a later period.
The one struck in the San Francisco mint in 1954 is the rarest existing nickel nowadays. This specimen with Full Steps also became the most expensive piece in the series after one collector bought it for an incredible $35,250.