"Silver nickels" can sound prefer an oxymoron if you no know about the United claims five-cent coins make from 35% silver- during human being War II.

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The united States government was in a tie to save products for the war effort. So it chose to traction the nickel content out that the five-cent coin to allocate the metal for war artillery.

As the wartime nickels the 1942 with 1945 contain silver, a valuable precious metal, they room worth an ext than confront value—much more! but how much is a silver nickel worth today?


1945-S silver battle nickel. Image: USA CoinBook


How much Are silver- Nickels Worth?

Keep in mind, the worth of silver fluctuates all the time. This means the an exact base worth of a circulated, business-strike silver- nickel absent any unusual ranges varies from moment to moment.

The silver content of a typical wartime nickel is .05626 ounces. Law the math, which way when silver is valued at $15 per ounce, a war nickel contains around 84 cents of silver. When silver is $20 per ounce? The intrinsic value of a silver- nickel jumps come $1.13.

Of course, similar to all coins, uncirculated and also proof examples are precious more. The exact same is true of unique pieces include varieties. And, in the case of Jefferson silver nickels, over there is extr value for pieces that contain complete Steps information at the base of Monticello top top the reverse. Listed below is a malfunction of values for silver Jefferson nickels by date, grade, and variety.

Current silver- Nickel Values

DateMint StateMint State–Full StepsProof

1942-P$7+$25+$100+
1942-S$7+$20+N/A
1943-P$4+$17+N/A
1943-P 3 over 2$150+$500+N/A
1943-P doubled Eye$80+$400+N/A
1943-D$4+$20+N/A
1943-S$4+$30+N/A
1944-P$5+$15+N/A
1944-D$6+$20+N/A
1944-S$4+$75+N/A
1945-P$4+$30+N/A
1945-P Doubled die Reverse$75+$5,500+N/A
1945-D$4+$30+N/A
1945-S$4+$175+N/A

Making the silver- Nickel Legal

World battle II, an international dispute in i m sorry the United says formally fought from 1941 v 1945, to be a important all-in effort for American citizens. They had actually to ration whatever from sugar and rubber to meat and aluminum. Yes, the united States and also the Allied forces were effective in make the world safe for democracy. Yet it no easy. And also the trying times spawned many interesting coins do from alternate metals, v the silver “nickel” among these.

Most alters to ours nation"s coinage aren"t excellent on a whim. The decision to strike five-cent coins from silver wasn"t made willy-nilly by who in the ago office. It was an emergency solution to an unmatched situation—and one that required an plot of congress to permit.

Congress authorized the stimulate on October 8, 1942. It to be barely 10 months into the nation"s armed forces engagement in world War II. Virtually overnight, production of the five-cent coin shifted from an alloy consists of 75% copper, 25% nickel to a 56% copper, 35% silver, 9% manganese format.


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Pile of silver battle nickels


These silver Jefferson nickels weren’t the only unusual coins to originate during civilization War II. The Lincoln cent underwent similar changes, for comparable reasons, in 1943. The United claims Mint began striking the one-cent coin indigenous a zinc-coated stole composition. The copper that would’ve ordinarily been supplied to do the penny was conserved for do ammunition covering casings.

However, the 1943 stole cent was a one-year-only issue. The U.S. Mint resumed the striking that copper-based Lincoln pennies the following year in 1944.

Other nations likewise made war-related metal composition changes to their coinage. Because that example, the imperial Canadian Mint gotten rid of nickel from its five-cent coin, rather opting for an 88% copper, 12% zinc ingredient in 1942 and also 1943. In 1944 and also 1945, the composition to be switched to chrome-plated steel. Other nations that struck coinage from emergency compositions include Germany, Japan, and also Indo-China, amongst others.

Differences in between Silver Nickels & “Regular” Nickels

When the Jefferson silver- nickels were brand-new (uncirculated), their complex metal composition about simulated the silvery-grey appearance of "regular" Jefferson nickels. However, these wartime nickels ultimately toned to a greyish green color when worn. Also, countless collectors report these five-cent coins have actually a greasy feel. This is something owed to the manganese in the composition.

Meanwhile, countless Brilliant Uncirculated instances have a lighter, whiter appearance than their nickel-based counterparts, mainly as result of the far-ranging amount of silver- in the alloy.

In addition to their coloration, this wartime nickels have actually something else the visually set them except the remainder of the crowd: your oversized mintmark. All silver nickels made from 1942–1945 bear a huge "P," "D," or "S" mintmark over the dome the Monticello ~ above the reverse. These correspond come the Philadelphia, Denver, or san Francisco Mints.

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Silver battle nickel turning back showing huge mintmark


Only the silver five-cent coins produced from 1942 with 1945 be afflicted with this feature amongst the Jefferson nickels. Therefore it’s necessary for collectors to examine the reverses of every Jefferson nickels that pass through their hands. Also, the presence of the large mintmark can aid collectors distinguish the nickel-based 1942 nickels made previously that year indigenous the silver- ones that were to win in the latter months that the year.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and also blogger who has won lot of awards from the Numismatic literature Guild. That has likewise authored countless books, consisting of works profiling the history of the United states Mint and United claims coinage.