Nickels: 1964-and-before (plus quarters, and silver? half dollars)

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by TheWarrior, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. TheWarrior

    TheWarrior Junior Member

    Hi there,

    I am a bit of a novice at the numismatic hobby, not being much more than a circulated collector and roll searcher. I had a question for you guys. It seems that you all are pretty knowledgeable so perhaps you can help me out....

    As strange as it sounds I'm not quite sure where I learned this now, but for some time I've been snagging every 1964 and before nickel I've laid eyes on because I was told they were worth a bit. I have a fair amount of them, as well as some silver? half dollars and a fair amount of pre-'64 quarters as well.

    This may seem like a stupid question, but is it really worth it? Am I wasting my time? Should I sell them through numismatic channels (local coin shop, eBay), for their metal value, or am I just wasting my time entirely and should I use them for a coke in the vending machine?

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  3. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater

    Welcome to CoinTalk, Spencer.

    I wouldn't save any 1964 nickels if I were you. Between Philly and Denver there were 2.8 BILLION nickels minted with the date 1964. They are super common even today.

    Earlier nickels are not worth saving for their metal content any moreso than modern nickels because the alloy is the same today as it has been since 1866. EXCEPT for the War Nickels 1942-1945 with the large mintmark above Monticello (including a 'P' for Philly) which have silver in them and are worth well above face.

    You should look for earlier-date nickels with mintmarks and key dates (e.g., 1950-D) and the very early Jeffersons. The rest of them don't command much of a premium if any.

    Dimes, quarters and halves were 90% silver before 1965 so you should grab all pre-1965 dimes, quarters and halves. Half Dollars were 40% silver 1965-1970 so you should grab them. 1965 and later dimes and quarters and 1971 and later halves are clad (except for some Proof versions that don't typically enter circulation) and are usually only worth face. Bicentennial quarters and halves are worth 25 cents and 50 cents respectively.
  4. CrustyCoins

    CrustyCoins Twilight Photographer

    Agreed Pre-'64 nickels are worth about a nickel. Except for certain varieties and errors, you should pick up the cherry pickers guide and see if you have any before spending them.

    Silver prices are pretty high right now and all the other denominations mentioned are worth upto about 10x face value.
  5. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    The problem with the older nickels is that there were many millions of each date saved out when they were issued. Then over the years there were many millions of sets assembled from pocket change so now the common dates are widely available in VF and better. You can even find them in circulation because there are so many and some get back into pocket change.

    Most of the more recent nickels were not as widely saved and there are very few collections made from change. If it weren't for mint sets many of these dates would be extremely tough.

    There aren't a lot of nickels worth saving but most of them are later date. Collectors all through history really should try to save nice attractive uncirculated pieces as well as those which are not often seen. A nice attractive XF 1971 or an AU 1986-P along with better date older pices and varieties are probably the scarce coins in circulation today that will be treasured in the future.

    A nice attractive 1958 is something you don't see everyday but there's just little justification for holding onto large quauntities of coins that are easily found on the market.

    Buy a Jefferson folder and fill it with the nicest coins you have. If you like anything of what's left then continue to hold it but otherwise I'd suggest you just spend the "easy" coins and try to sell the rest. I believe you'll find the demand for these is extremely thin. You may find a collector to pay a little for them but dealers generally steer clear.

    There's no market for the more recent coins either yet. But these coins don't exist in significant number in nicer shape than what's seen in circulation.
  6. byrd740

    byrd740 Numismatist

    I agree with hobo, don't even look at the 64's because there are so many of them it is crazy. With a mintage in the billions, I bet nearly your whole collection are 64's.
  7. Joshycfl

    Joshycfl Senior Member

    39-D's in almost any quality have a premium on them. But don't hold your hopes up on finding one. As well as 50-D's, 50-D's are the lowest minted nickels, and collectors knew it then and a lot of them were hoarded.
  8. Sholom

    Sholom Coin Hoarder


    What you heard is close to being accurate -- you want to snag every 1964 dime, quarter, and half (and, actually -- anything else for that matter except nickels and pennies). Those coins are worth, in melt value alone, around 10 times their face value.

    But, since, lots of other people have been doing that (since around, oh, 1965 or so), there aren't a whole lot to be had in circulation.

    And of course, there are some worthwhile nickels and pennies -- and if you're interested in collecting, you may want to purchase an introductory book to see what's worthwhile.

    Again -- welcome!
  9. krispy

    krispy krispy

    Get some good coin reference books and search ALL of your hoards for key dates and anything you want for your personal collection. I personally suggest that you separate the rest out in rolls. Sell the wheat pennies separated in rolls from the memorials. Return the memorials to your bank (minus high grades you come by). Put the silver content coins to work for you, again separate key dates and things you want for yourself, then roll them and sell them to other roll searchers on auction sites or wherever you like as well as those you can sell off for melt value (if low grade or common date to you.) This will free you up of heavy cumbersome storage of lots of space to fill in you closet where the coins once sat idle. It will return money to you which would otherwise be sitting in the dark and of little value. Use this money you get back from resale or cashing in to the bank, etc. to buy the coins you LOVE, want or would like to invest in. Ask lots of questions here as you go...

    This is pretty much what I've come to do with my circulation coin hoards from years of culling dates, filling folders with coins I wanted, learning about mintage numbers error coins and values, etc. Now I'm on to bigger and better searches and still loving the hunt.

    I'm new to CT too, but not to coin collecting and coin & currency appreciation. Welcome to you and let us know what you net in your searches as well as anything you want to showcase from those you sell off.
  10. TheWarrior

    TheWarrior Junior Member

    Okay...I don't know where I heard this now. I feel fairly...stupid. So, I "made" some money now (I will spend my nickels), haha.

    I do have some silver coins, a few at least. Will likely put these up on eBay perhaps--might post the auctions here if I ever get them under way.

    Thanks so much everybody, I REALLY appreciate the help!

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