The Jefferson nickels replaced the hard-to-minting Buffalo nickel in 1938, and their design stayed unchanged by 2004. The US Mint produced this five-cent coin from the copper-nickel alloy, honoring Thomas Jefferson, the third US President.
Only the Philadelphia mint produced nickels this year, including pieces from regular and special strikes. The 1965 nickel value is not exceptionally significant thanks to high mintage, but a few specimens with Full Steps can be costly.
1965 Jefferson nickel value Chart
|Condition||1965 No Mint mark nickel|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1965 Jefferson Nickel
The Jefferson nickel is a long-lasting American coin minted from 1938 to 2004 when the US Mint changed its obverse design. Felix Schlag created the new design to replace the Buffalo nickel, which design parts were challenging to mint.
Once Buffalo nickels completed the required 25-year term, and it became possible to replace them without asking Congress for permission, the US Mint organized a design competition for the new five-cent design.
The idea was to create a coin with Thomas Jefferson on the obverse. That man deserved such an honor as a Founding Father, a great statesman, and the 3rd President.
The reverse needed to include his home, Monticello, an autobiographical masterpiece that genuinely reflects its owner’s personality. It was designated a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historical and architectural significance.
Even though Schlag won the competition among 390 other artists and a prize of $1,000, he needed to revise the initial coin look because of further officials’ requirements.
The primary complaints were about the lettering style he chose and the angle of depicted Monticello. His design showed the iconic building from the corner, while officials preferred a head-on view. After the required changes, new nickels were released into circulation in 1938.
1965 Jefferson nickel
|Philadelphia||1965 No Mint mark nickel regular strike||133,771,380|
|Philadelphia||1965 No Mint mark nickel special strike||2,360,000|
The Jefferson nickel became the third circulating American coin showing a genuine person instead of a symbolic figure. The first was the Lincoln penny with the 16th President on the obverse instead of the imaginary American Indian chief or Lady Liberty.
It took 23 years after this first attempt for the US Mint to issue the second coin with a significant historical person. It was the George Washington quarter released into circulation in 1932.
Soon after, President Roosevelt asked for a new coin with Jefferson’s image since he deeply admired this man. Even though these first nickels were made of cupronickel alloy, the US Mint changed that composition at the beginning of WWII.
The nickel shortage led to the production of so-called Wartime Nickels from 1942 to 1945 containing silver and manganese instead of this metal.
The 1965 Jefferson nickel was the first set, besides those minted in 1966 and 1967, containing only coins without the mint mark. Plus, the Philadelphia mint struck special mint sets for collectors instead of proofs. They were lower quality than standard proofs, and you can find them sold as a three-piece set.
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Features of the 1965 Jefferson Nickel
The 1965 Jefferson nickels are standard pieces in the series, but they came without the designer’s initials on the obverse. Since only the Philadelphia mint produced them, none of these coins have the mint mark next to the Monticello stairs, like those struck in previous years.
The obverse of the 1965 Jefferson nickel
This coin type with a plain edge features Thomas Jefferson’s portrait on the obverse. The 3rd President of the United States facing left ‘looks’ at words IN GOD WE TRUST struck along the left coin rim. On the right, behind his back, is written LIBERTY * 1965, referring to the minting year.
The reverse of the 1965 Jefferson nickel
The complex reverse depicts Jefferson’s residence, Monticello, placed in the coin center. The lower nickel half contains three inscriptions written in letters of different sizes and fonts and arranged in three separate lines:
- MONTICELLO on the top
- The denomination (FIVE CENTS) in the middle
- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along the bottom edge
The top half of the coin is blank, but you can see E PLURIBUS UNUM (Latin saying) along the rim. Be aware that the US Mint changed the design in 1966 when the designer’s initials were added. Therefore, you can’t see the letters FS in nickels minted in 1965.
Paying attention to the number of steps in front of the building entrance is crucial. Initially, the design included six steps, but the minting limitations caused numerous coins to be released with five or fewer clearly visible lines.
1965 Jefferson nickel
|Face value||Five cents ($0.05)|
|Coin diameter||0.836 inches (21.21 millimeters)|
|Compound||Cupronickel alloy (75% copper with added nickel)|
|Coin thickness||0.077 inches (1.95 millimeters)|
|Coin weight||0.1765 ounces (5 grams)|
Other features of the 1965 Jefferson nickel
The 1965 Jefferson nickels are beautiful five-cent pieces with a diameter of approximately 0.836 inches (21.21 millimeters). These coins made of cupronickel alloy are 0.1765 ounces (5 grams) heavy and come with a thickness of about 0.077 inches (1.95 millimeters).
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1965 Jefferson Nickel Value Guides
In 1965, only the Philadelphia mint produced Jefferson nickels, meaning all 136,131,380 minted coins came without the mint mark. The previous year was the last one for striking proof coins, and you can recognize only specimens from a regular strike minted in 1965.
However, there were also so-called special mint sets struck from 1965 to 1967 for collectors. Unfortunately, they were of lower quality than typical proof nickels.
1965 No Mint Mark (regular strike) Jefferson nickels Value
The Philadelphia mint released 133,771,380 Jefferson nickels from the regular strike and without the mint mark in 1965. You should pay approximately $0.05 to $0.15 for circulated coins, while uncirculated ones typically cost $0.30 to $40. Be prepared that top-quality specimens with an MS 67 rating come with a price of about $1,450.
1965 Jefferson nickel value
|Condition||1965 nickel||1965 FS nickel|
|AU||$0.05 to $0.15||/|
The most pricey Jefferson nickel minted that year was a piece in an MS 67 grade. Its price was a surprisingly high $6,325 for this coin type. A few rare nickels with Full Steps are estimated to be worth $10,000 to $16,000, depending on look and quality.
1965 No Mint mark (special strike) Jefferson nickels Value
Besides nickels from a regular strike, the Philadelphia mint also produced 2,360,000 No Mint mark Jefferson nickels from a special strike.
Their prices depend on quality, so you need to set aside $4 to $100 for an average coin and $5 to $500 for cameo nickels. The most costly are DCAM nickels at the highest rates, ranging from $250 to $2,000.
1965 SP Jefferson nickel value
|Condition||1965 SMS SP nickel||1965 SMS CAM SP nickel||1965 SMS DCAM SP nickel|
As expected, the most expensive nickel came from special strikes. One collector paid $7,050 for this coin with DCAM in January 2013. The one with cameo contrast reached a fantastic $3,450 in November 2011, while one simple Jefferson nickel in an SP 69 grade reached a price of $1,195 in October 2020.
1965 Jefferson Nickel Errors
Besides two mint errors standard for the nickel series, you can also find the so-called Full Steps coins among those produced in 1965.
These specimens are particularly collectible thanks to the perfectly struck steps in front of Monticello. Only those with five and six steps can be certified as FS Jefferson nickels.
1965 Jefferson Nickel Re-punched nickels
You can recognize two punch error types on Jefferson nickels:
Re-punched mint mark – Since mint staff punched mint marks by hand until the 1990s, it was often necessary to take multiple strikes to make them profound and effortlessly recognizable.
The error occurred when the coin slightly moved between two strikes, resulting in double images. The most famous is the 1942 D over horizontal D RPM nickel, but you can also find similar but less characteristic imperfections on coins minted in other years, including 1965.
Overdates – This error occurs the same way, but you can see it on any coin, regardless of the mint where they were made. It includes re-punching the date to make it more apparent and visible.
1965 Jefferson Nickel Doubled die
It is possible to find only three major doubled-die Jefferson nickels in the series, including:
- The 1939 DDR (Doubled Monticello) nickel
- The 1943 P DDO (Doubled Eye) silver war nickel
- The 1945 P DDR silver war nickel
Besides these famous coins, all other doubled-die errors are insignificant and only bring a little money. However, collectors are often satisfied with these imperfect nickels and find satisfaction in searching.
1965 Jefferson Nickel Full Steps
As you can see, this coin series has not too many significant errors, making pieces with Full Steps collectible. Interestingly, Full Steps collecting became trendy only during the 1970s when some collectors noticed nickels with differently struck steps in front of the Monticello.
Be aware that the Jefferson nickels’ design implied sharply struck six steps in front of the entrance, but minting limitations resulted in coins with less separated lines. You should count the portico as the first step, while the foundation is the sixth step.
Nowadays, Full Steps Jefferson nickels are only coins with entirely complete, uninterrupted, or undamaged steps. Such pieces are more valuable than weakly struck ones, but the final price depends on the minting year.
FAQ about the 1965 Jefferson Nickel
What makes a 1965 nickel scarce?
Jefferson nickel errors are rare but typically minor, making these coins inexpensive. Some specimens with Full Steps can also be scarce in high grades, but this date is not particularly appreciated among collectors who like imperfect coins.
Which 1965 nickels are expensive nowadays?
- The DCAM 1965 SP 67 Jefferson nickel’s winning price was $7,050 in January 2013 at Heritage Auctions
- The 1965 MS 67 Jefferson nickel’s winning price was $6,325 in February 2007 at Heritage Auctions
- The CAM 1965 SP 68 Jefferson nickel’s winning price was $3,450 in November 2011 at Stack’s Bowers
- The 1965 SP 69 Jefferson nickel’s winning price was $1,195 in October 2020 on eBay
- The 1965 Genuine FS Jefferson nickel’s winning price was $19 in May 2018 on eBay
Is 1965 No Mint Mark nickel valuable?
Most nickels from the Philadelphia mint are worth only a face value or a bit more than that. Only uncirculated coins can cost more, and you can find them at a price of $0.30 to $40.
On the other hand, top-notch nickels with the highest rating quickly reach $1,450 on the open market. The auction record for this coin type is a fantastic $6,325, but be prepared that rare first-class pieces with Full Steps can cost $10,000 to $16,000.
What is the most pricey Jefferson nickel?
- 1954 S MS 67 FS Jefferson nickel – $35,250 (2020 • LRC Auctions)
- 1938 D MS 68+ FS Jefferson nickel – $33,600 (2022 • Heritage Auctions)
- 1969 D MS 65 FS Jefferson nickel – $33,600 (2021 • Stack’s Bowers)
- 1949 D/S MS 67 Jefferson nickel – $32,900 (2014 • Heritage Auctions)
- 1964 SMS SP 68 FS Jefferson nickel – $32,900 (2016 • Heritage Auctions)
- 1942 D/D D/horizontal D MS 64 Jefferson nickel – $32,200 (2006 • Heritage Auctions)
- 1940 reverse of 1938 PR 68 Jefferson nickel – $28,750 (2011 • Heritage Auctions)
- 1939 D reverse of 1940 MS 68 FS Jefferson nickel – $26,400 (2019 • Stack’s Bowers)
- 1945 D MS 68 FS Jefferson nickel – $25,000 (2021 • eBay)
- 1944 D MS 68 Jefferson nickel – $22,325 (2012 • Stack’s Bowers)