The 2004 Nickel is a commemorative coin, which gives it immense historical value. But since it’s so new, and because it’s a base metal coin, it doesn’t fetch much in the secondary market. At least not yet. Grades below MS 60 can’t even sell for face value! The best you can get is their melt value, which is less than a penny. So let’s look closely at the latest 2004 Nickel Value.
2004 Nickel Value Chart
|Uncirculated (MS 60)||Mint State (MS 65)||Proof (PR/PF 65)|
|2004-P Nickel Value||$0.007||$0.007||$0.28||$0.85||$9.14|
|2004-D Nickel Value||$0.007||$0.007||$0.28||$0.85||–|
History of the 2004 Nickel
The 2004 Nickel is sometimes called the Westward Journey Nickel. It’s a series of four coins that ran from 2004 to 2005. They all have Thomas Jefferson on the heads side. He was the 3rd US President. Meanwhile, the series has four different designs on the tails side. They were each minted for six months. The two 2004 designs are the Peace Medal and the Keelboat.
The Peace Medal coin is sometimes called the Louisiana Purchase Nickel or the Handshake Nickel. It’s based on Jefferson’s 1801 Peace Medal commemorating the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 – hence the name. The Peace Medal Nickel is attributed to Norman E. Nemeth while the Keelboat coin was sculpted by Al Maletsky. They were both engravers at the US Mint.
It depicts the ship used by Lewis & Clark on their famous expedition from 1804 to 1806. The goal was to explore the lands acquired during the Louisiana Purchase and was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. 2004 marked the 200th anniversary of this Westward Journey, hence the new series of Jefferson Nickels to commemorate the expedition. It had several objectives.
They hoped to study the area’s plants and animals, map the territory, outpace the European powers looking to lay their own claim and set up a trading system with the Native American tribes that lived there. The crew comprised 42 volunteer sailors, both soldiers and civilians. As part of the bicentennial, Gary Moulton compiled and published the expedition’s journals.
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Features of the 2004 Nickel
As we mentioned, the 2004 Nickel has one heads design and two tails designs. But before we discuss its characteristics, let’s go over the jargon. The heads side of a coin is technically known as the obverse while the tails side is the reverse. The thin flipping sides are the edges.
The words on a coin are legends or mottos and the images (e.g. portrait, eagle, etc.) are called devices. The raised borders are rims or collars. Coins are minted on blanks called planchets. Most coins have a date, a mint mark, and a monogram or initials to show who made the coin.
The Obverse of the 2004 Nickel
The obverse (heads side) of the 2004 Nickel has a profile of Thomas Jefferson facing left. The legend In God We Trust is on the left, in front of his face. Behind his head, on the right, is the legend Liberty followed by a star, the mint date, and the mint mark. The designer’s initials, FS for Felix Schlag, are on the lower right of the coin, below the portrait’s cut-off.
The Reverse of the 2004 Peace Medal Nickel
The reverse (tails side) of the 2004 Peace Medal Nickel shows a handshake with one hand in a military cuff and the other in a beaded silver cuff that has an eagle on it. The top of the coin reads United States of America followed by the legend Louisiana Purchase, and finally, 1803.
Above the clasped hands, there’s a hatchet crossed with a Native American Peace Pipe. The designer’s initials, NEN for Norman E. Nemeth, are under the right hand. Below the pair of hands is the motto E Pluribus Unum, and finally comes the coin’s denomination, Five Cents.
The Reverse of the 2004 Keelboat Nickel
The reverse (tails side) of the 2004 Keelboat Nickel depicts a keelboat sailing towards the left of the coin. Lewis & Clark stand at the bow with five sailors behind them. The top of the coin reads United States of America with E Pluribus Unum under that. The names Lewis & Clark are below the boat, with the initials AM at the right corner. Five Cents is at the coin’s bottom.
Other Features of the 2004 Nickel
The 2004 Nickel is 75% Copper and 25% Nickel. It’s 21.21mm in diameter (0.835 inches) and 1.95mm thick (0.08 inches). It weighs 5g and has a smooth or plain edge without reeds. The keelboat coin was sculpted by Norman Nemeth but designed by John Reich. His initials are not on the coin though, since he made the 1801 Peace Medal that the coin was derived from.
2004 Nickel Value Guide
As we discuss the 2004 Nickel Value, we’ll describe their grades and mint marks, so let’s take a moment to review how they work. Mint marks are like geolocators showing which branch of the US Mint made the coin. And grades show the condition of the coin and how well it’s been preserved. The higher the grade, the better the price, especially if its population is low.
To confirm the condition or grade of your coin, you can send it to NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service), or ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service). These companies use variants of the Sheldon Scale, and they usually charge a grading fee. Their grading scales typically range from 1 to 70.
Beyond that, coins can be struck as business strikes aka circulation strikes / regular strikes. These are the coins that will be used in everyday transactions. Other categories including proofs, uncirculated sets, and special mint sets are sold directly to collectors at a premium price. Proof coins, in particular, are used to test the accuracy of dies, so a few get archived.
Meanwhile, regular strike coins that resemble proof coins are graded as PL for Proof-Like, DPL for Deep-Proof-Like, or DMPL for Deep-Mirror-Proof-Like. Another category covers modified coins. This usually lowers their resale price. Examples include Details (1 to 58), Brilliant Uncirculated (BU 60 to 70), Choice Uncirculated (63 to 70), or Gem (65 to 70).
2004 Proof Nickel Value
Proof coins can be mirror-like, matte, or reverse proofs. In 2004, the proof nickels were mirror-like, and they were only minted in Philadelphia. But before we look at their specific values, let’s review how they’re made. Mirror-like proofs have a mirrored field and a frosted device. And since 1971, they’ve been crafted via computerized lasers to improve consistency.
The die is scrubbed with a horsehair brush to polish the field, then the device is etched with a laser to create that frosted finish. Proof planchets are also polished before striking. They’re tumbled in a vat filled with 6mm stainless steel balls called satellites. PCGS grades proof coins PR while NGC grades them as PF. A copy stays in the archives to ensure the die is true.
For reference, before 1970, proof coins were frosted using an acid wash that was strongest in the first two hundred coins or so. Every time the die struck, the frosting would fade a little, so 50 to 100 coins were graded Deep Cameo by PCGS or Ultra Cameo by NGC. The next 100 were cameo coins. But on laser coins, almost all proof coins are DCAM or Ultra Cameo.
2004 Keelboat Nickel Value
The total number of Keelboat Nickels produced in 2004 was 714,565,422. All San Francisco Nickels were mirror-like proofs while Denver and Philadelphia coins were business strikes.
2004 -P Keelboat Nickel Value
In 2004, the Philadelphia Mint made 366,720,000 Keelboat Nickels with the P Mint Mark. In April 2021, an MS 68 sold for $895 on eBay. It was down to $360 by August, and since PCGS has graded almost thirty of these coins, they estimate the 2023 value at $475. But they have close to 300 coins graded MS 67 so that PCGS estimate is far lower at $110 in 2023.
2004-D Keelboat Nickel Value
The Denver Mint made 344,880,000 Keelboat Nickels with the D Mint Mark. In January 2016, an MS 68 sold for $940. PCGS has graded ten and estimates their current value at $1,150. MS 67s are far more numerous with almost 300 graded. One coin sold for $109 in January 2022 and $100 in August 2021. PCGS Price Guide places their 2023 value at $100.
2004-S Proof Keelboat Nickel Value
In 2004, the San Francisco Mint coined 2,965,422 Proof Keelboat Nickels with the S Mint Mark. In November 2013, a PR 70 sold for $270. Their graded numbers are equally high, approaching 1,500 coins, so the PCGS estimate for 2023 is only $25. PR 69s are just as numerous as Peace Medal Nickels, clocking over 15,000 coins and estimated at a mere $12.
2004 Peace Medal Nickel Value
A total of 736,436,069 Peace Medals were minted in 2004. They were coined in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco, with the San Francisco Mint exclusively making proof nickels.
2004-P Peace Medal Nickel Value
The Philadelphia Mint coined 361,440,000 Peace Medal Nickels with the P Mint Mark. In January 2016, an MS 68 sold for $4,320, though that was down to $1,920 in August 2021. The current price estimate for an MS 68 in 2023 is $3,000, and eight are known. An MS 67 PL sold for $336 on eBay in November 2021, and an NGC-graded one was $74 in April 2022.
2004-D Peace Medal Nickel Value
In 2004, the Denver Mint coined 372,000,000 Peace Medal Nickels with the D Mint Mark. In March 2021, an MS 68 sold for $900 on eBay and in August 2021, a PCGS-graded MS 68 sold for $720. In June 2022, an NGC-graded MS 68 sold for $480. PCGS has graded 17 MS 68s and estimates their 2023 value at $800. But with over 270 MS 67s, that estimate is $46.
2004-S Peace Medal Proof Nickel Value
The San Francisco Mint coined 2,992,069 Peace Medal Nickels with the S Mint Mark. These coins are pretty well-preserved, and PCGS has graded close to 1,500 in the perfect grade of PR 70 and over 15,000 in PR 69. In June 2005, a PR 70 DCAM sold for $1,725 but about a decade later, it was only worth $35 in December 2014. The PCGS estimate for 2023 is $26.
2004 Nickel Errors
It’s unusual to find errors on modern coins because almost everything is automated. For example, since 1990, mint marks are no longer placed by hand, so you won’t find any RPMs (re-punched mint marks). But you might still get doubling or tripling errors if the planchet or die shifts between strikes. And you sometimes find coins overstruck on completed ones.
Wrong planchet errors can happen as well when a coin is struck on a blank intended for another denomination. And you can find mismatched coins where the obverse and reverse are from different years, mint marks, or denominations. If this error is replicated on multiple coins, it becomes a variety, and some error varieties are quite valuable. Let’s check them out.
2004-P Peace Medal Nickel DDO
DDO means doubled-die obverse. It’s when the die moves between hub strikes so that the second strike hits a different spot, causing a doubling effect. This mint mistake is then copied on all the coins struck by that die, creating a variety. An MS 65 was $395 in April 2019 and $185 in April 2021. PCGS has only graded one MS 66 and estimates its 2023 value as $800.
2004-P Keelboat Nickel Multistruck Broadstrike
In the past, coin rims were made with a three-piece detachable collar, so if it came off too soon, you’d get a broadstrike or maybe a partial collar. These days, rims are made in the upsetting machine, so broadstrikes are rare. They still happen though, and it makes the rim look wider and flatter, producing thin or deformed coins. In MS 66, it’s worth about $630.
2004 Peace Medal Nickel Die Adjustment Error
If the die is incorrectly tweaked inside the coin press, it won’t strike properly and might mar the features of the coin. The result is a coin that looks like most of its design has faded or been scrubbed off. In this example, you can see traces of the handshake and not much else, making the coin tough to grade. This mint mistake sold for over $430 without a mint mark.
2004-P Keelboat Nickel Improper Annealing Error
The mint uses a blanking machine to punch metal sheets into discs, so the sheet alloy comes prepped. But if the copper and nickel didn’t fully blend, some sections of the copper can poke through, creating reddish splotches on your coin. The error gets triggered when the blank is heated in the coin press. In MS 66, this improperly annealed planchet error is worth $115.
2004 Nickel Double Curved Clips
If you’re inexperienced, you’ll assume a coin with its sides snipped off is worth a lot. That’s not always the case. This coin has two curved clips sliced off the coin at two different places. One of the clips chopped off the date and mint mark, but you can still tell it’s a 2004 Nickel because the Peace Medal design was only used for 6 months in 2004. In MS 65, it was $100.
2004-P Keelboat Nickel Off-Centre Straight Clip
The previous coin was a curved clip, and this one is a straight clip that leaves the coin in a half-dome shape. The clip removed part of the mint mark and FS, but the handshake design gives it away. The coin was also struck off-center, which means the planchet shifted before the first strike, leaving parts of its surface blank. In MS 64, these twin errors are worth $375.
FAQs About the 2004 Nickel
What is Special About the 2004 Nickel?
It was a commemorative coin designed to mark the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition that followed the Louisiana Purchase. For this reason, it had two reverse designs that ran for 6 months each. One was a Native American Peace Medal derivative to celebrate the purchase while the second showed the keelboat that was used for the expedition itself.