1938 D Jefferson any math experts out there

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by eric6794, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. eric6794

    eric6794 Well-Known Member

    I know these really don't command much of a premium and this particular coin is not even AU condition but it is a semi key/key date to Jefferson nickels at a mintage of 5,760,000. With that said there are currently roughly 400 million people that are alive right now in the USA and that is just in the USA. I wonder what the percentage of likelihood that a coin that is 83 years old with a lower mintage would show up in pocket change. So many variables I know :bored: WIN_20210729_00_34_43_Pro (2).jpg WIN_20210729_00_35_32_Pro (2).jpg
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  3. eric6794

    eric6794 Well-Known Member

    Just so ya'll know this is just for fun post
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  4. Lem E

    Lem E Well-Known Member

    Not a math expert by any means, but that is a good looking 38 for a change find. Still has excellent detail. Nice find.
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  5. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Casual Collector / error expert "in Training "

    What ? Ohh , Nice coin . :hilarious:
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  6. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    easy math:

    1/400,000,000 = zero chance that I'll get it.
    KevinS, eric6794, wxcoin and 2 others like this.
  7. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    Nice coin. Not especially valuable in that condition, but a nice coin to own. The 38 D in gem uncirculated grades gets pricey, and is a key date Jefferson.
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  8. 1stSgt22

    1stSgt22 Well-Known Member

    Nice find!!
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  9. RonSanderson

    RonSanderson Supporter! Supporter

    Fortunately, the number of people does not change the answer.

    What you need is the total number of nickels surviving in circulation.
    Then take the number of surviving 1938-D’s and divide by the number of all surviving nickels. That gives you the probability of any particular nickel being a 1938-D.

    Any person receiving a nickel in change has the same odds of it being a 1938-D.

    And those odds are really, really low!
  10. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    It’s rare but it happens. I found one about 6-7 years ago. To do the math you need the surviving number of coins and the correct number of nickel collectors. :)
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  11. Jim Dale

    Jim Dale Well-Known Member

    Now we need a mathematician. (My dictionary got a workout for me to get it right.)
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  12. Mac McDonald

    Mac McDonald Well-Known Member

    Doubt that this 38-D has been in pocket/change circulation all this time...too nice...likely been kept/collected somewhere for some time(s) and then turned out/back into circulation by someone for some reason...or "some"thing like that.:woot:
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  13. Jim Dale

    Jim Dale Well-Known Member

    probably some kid that needed the nickel with his other change to get a candy bar or Coke.
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  14. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Nice '38, lucky you. Thanks for sharing.
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  15. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    Every '38-D nickel minted has been found many times over so the date no longer circulates. Sure a few have been found recently in the woodwork and was spent but this is too few to count. Additionally hundreds of '38-D's are lost and many are "lost" into circulation. A coin collector doesn't notice he dropped one on the carpet and someone comes along and spends it or some similar misadventure occurs.

    With about 40,000,000,000 nickels in circulation and perhaps 10,000 '38-D's lost at any given time your odds of finding one are poor at ~ 1: 4,000,000 or 1 '38-D in 2000 boxes of nickels. This number will fluctuate over time but stay relatively constant since there are so few.
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  16. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Lol, ever watch Dennis the Menace? Mr. Wilson was looking at his coin collection if nickels and Dennis took a nickel when no one was around. Mr. Wilson was in his “Great Scot” role. He found that Dennis had used a very rare nickel in a gum ball machine. He did get it back but what a great laugh that show was.
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  17. Jim Dale

    Jim Dale Well-Known Member

    I was watching over my Silver FDR Dimes and didn't notice that I had dropped one on the floor. I got a text from my wife telling me I need to be more vigilant over my coins. I thanked her and gave her a big hug for her alertness. Maybe tonight?...
  18. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Thanks for the warning. Just don't let it happen again. :D
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  19. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    My opinion is its more about how many were minted and then an average attrition rate per year with the exception of coins that were saved in Quantity upon their release that survive in numbers in high quality condition this method works.

    When I was trying to figure this out I came to the conclusion there were a lot of variables that changed attrition rates from year to year for designs.

    Pre-1982 cent might of had an attrition rate of 4% per year after mintage, while the zincoln might be double that. Nickels dimes quarters would have an attrition rate around 3% annually people use them in commerce, or they did, but like with cents basically they all get used once and go into a jar and sit around for years so they circulate and wear down and get lost differently.

    Still though you might have a mintage where its "hot" and people saved them, or you might have a mintage thats not really needed that sits in the feds vault forever waiting for the day they need to pull them out, like the 2021 P Kennedy half dollars. The mints been pounding them out this year and some have found their way to circulation but most are going to sit in a fed vault forever and some day finally be released when actually needed. The attrition rate might be really low in this instance and 40 years from now millions of BU 2021P start being released.
    Theres a whole lot of factors that make it really variable. There might be a mintage that just gets destroyed and just a few get out and those few buck the system and are all high grade, never really circulated so theres no condition rarity really to it.

    So. I used an average of 4% reduction annually for any coin in circulation. Take the mintage, then reduce the population of it by 4% per year for the number of years its been out there. Its a lot at first but as the population narrows less are lost to attrition annually also.

    I'm by no means a math genius I find it tedious and theres about a thousand things I'd rather do with my time than math. This works for me to get a general idea of how many might still survive.

    5,760,000 x4% 230,400 were lost from the mintage in 1938-1939. 5,529,600x4% 221,184 were lost from the mintage in 1939-1940.
    5,308,416 and on and on and on. But this really doesn't even factor the collectors and accumulators that might be saving coins away so at some point this becomes wrong and not representative of the surviving population. Its just factoring an average of how many get lost or destroyed annually from circulation.

    Probably a lot easier setting it up on an xl with a formula and letting it do its thing for the number of years, best I can come up with is this would get you an educated guess at the surviving population. Which may or may not be functional depending on the factors affecting that particular years mintage.
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  20. coin dog

    coin dog Well-Known Member

    Congratulations on a nice find!

    When I saw this thread, I had to dig out my tube of nickels.

    I received this 1938 D Jefferson Nickel at a McDonalds in Warren, MI. A check of my records shows that the date of this find was 08/24/2017.

    I was also quite surprised to find this problem free nickel in my change.
    IMG_0614[851].JPG IMG_0612[850].JPG
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  21. coin dog

    coin dog Well-Known Member

    A further check of my records show that on 09/10/2000, I received a very worn 1938 D Jeff Nickel in change. I got it at the now defunct Farmer Jack Supermarket. :)
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