The Jefferson nickel design was Felix Schlag’s work winning a mint contest. It replaced the Buffalo nickel in 1938, and the US Mint produced coins with the same look until 2004. The obverse and reverse were redesigned that year, but these nickels have remained in circulation until today.
The 1970 nickel value depends on copper prices on the stock market, and these coins are always worth something since this metal is in high demand nowadays. Only two mints produced nickels this year, and even proofs came with the S mint mark.
1970 Jefferson nickel value Chart
|Condition||1970 D nickel||1970 S nickel|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1970 Jefferson Nickel
The first Jefferson nickels were minted in 1938 after the Buffalo (Indian Head) nickel went into history. The coin look was based on Felix Schlag’s design that won the competition among 390 other artists and brought the artist a prize of $1,000.
Unfortunately, the original solution was not completely accepted, and the US Mint officials required a few changes in the Monticello building position and lettering style.
Once it was approved, this nickel became the third American coin intended for circulation with a genuine person on the obverse. Thomas Jefferson got that honor after Abraham Lincoln, who was depicted on the penny, and George Washington, shown on the quarter.
1970 Jefferson nickel
|Denver||1970 D nickel||515,485,380|
|San Francisco||1970 S nickel||238,832,004|
|San Francisco||1970 S proof nickel||2,632,810|
The US Mint impatiently waited the required 25 years to replace the existing Buffalo nickel without the approval of Congress. The reason was a complicated design that was hard to mint and caused numerous problems with die damaging and breaking.
The new coin honored the third American President and had his historically significant mansion on the reverse. The best part was that this solution was convenient to strike without causing mechanical problems during the production process.
The 1970 Jefferson nickels were modern coins that became collectible as soon as half a century of their existence was completed. However, they are still undervalued in contrast to specimens minted before the 1960s of the 20th century.
Features of the 1970 Jefferson Nickel
The 1970 Jefferson nickel is one of the modern coins in the series, making it uninteresting to most serious collectors. However, this nickel has its charms, and individual specimens can be valuable and collectible under certain conditions.
The obverse of the 1970 Jefferson nickel
Designer Felix Schlag placed Jefferson’s portrait facing left in the coin center, with the word LIBERTY and the DATE behind his back. These two words are separated by a small star, while the mint mark is at the bottom, under the bow in the 3rd American President’s hair.
On the other hand, you can see the words IN GOD WE TRUST in front of Jefferson’s face. The designer’s initials are below the bust.
The reverse of the 1970 Jefferson nickel
The designer featured Monticello on the reverse upon request for a coin appearance. The Jefferson home is placed centrally with the building name captioned below.
In the lower half of the coin are also struck the denomination and the country name, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The required saying, E PLURIBUS UNUM, is positioned on the top, along the rim.
The original design included six steps in front of the building, but limitations in minting resulted in the reverse with fewer steps than planned. Only rare coins have five or even the initially planned six steps, making these coins highly expensive.
1970 Jefferson nickel
|Face value||Five cents ($0.05)|
|Coin diameter||21.21 mm (0.83505 inches)|
|Compound||A total of 25% nickel and 75% copper|
|Coin weight||5 g (0.17637 ounces)|
|Coin thickness||1.95 mm (0.07678 inches)|
Other features of the 1970 Jefferson nickel
The round 1970 Jefferson nickel has a plain edge and is thick, precisely 1.95 mm (0.07678 inches). Its diameter is 21.21 mm (0.83505 inches), while it weighs 5 g (0.17637 ounces). Like other nickels in the series, this copper-nickel coin contains these two metals in a ratio of three to one.
1970 Jefferson Nickel Value Guides
The Philadelphia mint had no part in the Jefferson nickel production in 1970. All coins were minted in two mints, including 2,632,810 proofs struck in the one in San Francisco.
In terms of regular mintage, the Denver mint produced twice as many coins as the second mint. However, that does not affect these coins’ value, and you can find both types with an adequate rating at the same price.
1970 D Jefferson nickel
Most of the 515,485,380 Jefferson nickels struck in Denver in 1970 cost $0.05 to $45, depending on the condition. Only beautiful coins with the highest rating with Full Steps are expensive, and they are estimated to be $4,500 to $8,000 per piece.
1970 Jefferson nickel value
|Condition||1970 D nickel||1970 D FS nickel|
|AU||$0.05 to $0.15||/|
The most expensive 1970 D Jefferson nickel from regular strikes was paid $719 at an auction in 2005. Despite the official assessment, the piece with Full Steps reached $1,208 a year before.
1970 S Jefferson nickel
The 1970 S Jefferson nickel mintage was 238,832,004 pieces, and their price on the current market is pretty similar to coins with corresponding quality struck in Denver.
You should pay about $0.05 for nickels spending years in circulation, while the best-preserved ones typically cost up to $45. On the other hand, you can expect to find those with Full Steps at higher prices.
1970 Jefferson nickel value
|Condition||1970 S nickel||1970 S FS nickel|
|AU||$0.05 to $0.15||/|
Most such coins are worth $100 to $3,250, depending on the preservation level. The most costly nickel from the regular strike minted in 1970 with the S mint mark is the one in an MS 66 grade. Its price was $6,463 at Heritage Auctions in 2016.
1970 S Jefferson nickel proof
Unlike old American proof coins typically minted in the Philadelphia mint, all Jefferson nickels produced from 1968 to 2018 came from San Francisco. The only exceptions were matte proofs from 1994 and 1997 with the P mint mark on the obverse.
1970 Jefferson nickel proof value
|Condition||1970 S nickel||1970 S CAM nickel||1970 S DCAM nickel|
The value of the 1970 nickel proof is modest, and most pieces from the regular strikes, including those with a cameo contrast, are worth $0.25 to $4. Only DCAM nickels with a PR 69 rating cost approximately $200.
You can find a few exceptions to the rule, like the 1970 S PR 64 Jefferson nickel sold at Heritage Auctions in 2010. It reached a price of $1,725, which is pretty impressive for this kind of coin.
1970 Jefferson Nickel Variations and Errors
As I have already mentioned, the US Mint produced 756,950,194 Jefferson nickels in 1970, and you can expect to see some variations and errors among them. Let’s take a look.
Full Steps coins became highly popular during the 1970s. In that period, collectors discovered the beauty of the original Schlag’s design with unbroken steps on Monticello stamped on the reverse.
The complete five or six steps on Monticello have become fascinating for collectors, and most are prepared to set aside serious money to get one of these coins. You should start counting from the entrance, representing the first step, and finish with the foundation, as the sixth step.
Another option is to check how many incuse lines are between the steps. Four complete lines mean you have a coin with five Full Steps, while five complete lines represent a perfect coin with all six Full Steps.
On average, nickels with Full Steps and without cutting across any of the steps can cost 10 to 20 times their regular price.
The mint mark error
Rare nickels from San Francisco with the S mint mark error are precious for collectors, and those in an MS 67 grade are typically worth about $2,000. On the other hand, you can count on $200 if you have a coin from Denver with an incorrect mint mark.
The double-struck 1970 nickels are more valuable than regular coins and can reach a price of $350 per piece. These coins have multiple imprints on the surface, with the second strike about 45% off-center.
Some nickels minted in Denver have a doubling on the obverse in one of the parts:
- The word LIBERTY
- The date
- The star
- In a part of the IN GOD WE TRUST inscription
On the other hand, several coins from the same mint come with doublings on the reverse that you can notice on the:
- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- E PLURIBUS UNUM
Sometimes, you can come across the 1970 S Jefferson nickel with Clash Die. These coins appear when the obverse and reverse coin dies hit each other without a coin in between, leaving a part of the design on the wrong piece.
As a result, you can find a coin with odd shapes on the surface after minting on such dies. These nickels cost differently, depending on the error look and the level of interest among collectors.
FAQ about the 1970 Jefferson Nickel
What makes a 1970 Jefferson nickel scarce?
Modern nickels struck in 1970 are abundant on the market nowadays, and you can probably find some in circulation. However, collectors consider pieces with full six steps on the reverse rare, making them expensive.
Which 1970 Jefferson nickels are worth a lot of money?
- The 1970 S MS 66 FS Jefferson nickel was worth $6,463 to one collector who bought it for that sum at Heritage Auctions in 2016
- The 1970 S PR 64 Jefferson nickel was worth $1,725 to one collector who bought it for that sum at Heritage Auctions in 2010
- The 1970 D MS 64 FS Jefferson nickel was worth $1,208 to one collector who bought it for that sum at Heritage Auctions in 2004
- The 1970 D MS 67 Jefferson nickel was worth $719 to one collector who bought it for that sum at Heritage Auctions in 2005
- The 1970 S MS 66+ Jefferson nickel was worth $660 to one collector who bought it for that sum at Heritage Auctions in 2020
- The 1970 S NGC Genuine DCAM Jefferson nickel was worth $620 to one collector who bought it for that sum on eBay in 2021
- The 1970 S PR 69 CAM Jefferson nickel was worth $265 to one collector who bought it for that sum at Heritage Auctions in 2000
How much does the No Mint mark 1970 Jefferson nickel cost?
The Philadelphia mint produced neither Jefferson nickels from regular strikes nor proofs in 1970. You can only find coins struck this year in two mints from San Francisco and Denver.
What are the most expensive Jefferson nickels?
As expected, the Jefferson nickel errors are among the most valuable coins, but a few pieces from the regular strikes reached impressive auction records, as well. The current list of most valuable nickels includes:
- The 1954 S Jefferson nickel ($35,250)
- The 1969 D Jefferson nickel ($33,600)
- The 1938 D Jefferson nickel ($33,600)
- The 1949 D/S Jefferson nickel ($32,900)
- The 1942 D/D D/Horizontal D Jefferson nickel ($32,200)