Pre 1960 nickels worth holding on to?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Scrumhalf2, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Scrumhalf2

    Scrumhalf2 Junior Member

    I have gone through more than 10 boxes of nickels and have kept all of the pre 1960s regardless of the condition. I'm getting to the point now where I have more of them than I really want. Are these worth holding on to?

    Other nice nickel finds

    2 Liberty 8 Buffalo 9 Silver 2 Circulated Proofs
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  3. Snowman

    Snowman Senior Member

    most of the common ones pre60 i throw back and most are really worn anyways

    plus the value is very minimal

    the ones i usually throw back are

  4. grizz

    grizz numismatist

    .......check them to see if they're in the cherrypickers' guide book before redistributing them back into circulation.
  5. Pyrbob

    Pyrbob Member

    I have been searching nickels for years and keep everything 1958 and back. I sort them into tubes and when a tube is full I roll it in a paper wrapper and mark the date on it. I have quite a collection of rolled circulated nickels. Be careful throwing back the 1939, 1946, 1947 and 1953 nickels. When Henning made the 1944 no p counterfeit nickel he also claimed to make the above dates. I looked back through my rolls of these dates and found a 1939 Henning counterfeit that has the hole in the R of PLURIBUS. I have also heard of a 1947 Henning selling at a Baltimore Coin Show several years ago for $175. The off date Hennings are very hard to find but worth the effort. Do a search for Henning to see what to look for.
  6. majorbigtime

    majorbigtime New Member

    NO. Junk and always will be so.
  7. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    Jefferson Nickels are really only collectible in mint state grades, but I guess some people would pay money for the varieties (overdates/mm) in circulated condition.
  8. TomCorona

    TomCorona New Member

    Jefferson Nickels are really only collectible in mint state grades, but I guess some people would pay money for the varieties (overdates/mm) in circulated condition.

    TODAY...but what about tomorrow??
  9. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast


    Given the large numbers of surviving mint state Jeffersons for just about every date/mm, I don't see circulated examples ever appreciating much in our lifetimes. Right now, Jeffersons only have real value if they are gem+ grade. You can put together a complete set of MS65 Jeffersons (except the overdates) for a few hundred dollars. Now a premium gem FS set can run you hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is a very diverse series to collect, which is part of the reason I collect them.
  10. TomCorona

    TomCorona New Member

    I guess it depends on what you call "appreciating". I pay 5 cents today, it is worth 15 cents 15 years from now...that's appreciating..depends how much of a return you're looking for...just pulling out of change today what you won't be able to do tomorrow.
  11. Magman

    Magman U.S. Money Collector

    But if you account for inflation you may actually be losing money... lol

    putting those nickels in a bank might yield a higher rate of return. :-\

    edit: to add, I do keep pre-1960 nickels though :)
  12. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    All the pre-1960 nickels do survive in large numbers in mint state or in high circulated grades. Of course some of the low mintahe dates are not excessively common in unc but their prices reflect this and you're unlikely to have or spend something like the '39-D in any condition.

    The later dates though aren't necessarily as widely available in unc. But more importantly is that they are virtually unavailable in high circulated grades. Finding nice attractive XF or AU post 1964 nickels can be extremely tough. High grade nickels from the 30's and 40's can still be found (and might be worth saving) but try getting an '82-P above nice well made XF. Finding it in change is tough, there are very few collections, and most coin shops won't even be able to help you.
  13. LRL

    LRL Member

    Scumhalf2, I don't know if the pre-60 common date ones will ever acrue much value, but I'm hording what I find. Started a collection for each of my 3 grand children last January just from searching bank rolls... not as many as you...but about the equivalent of 5 boxes and still need 102(not counting the war ones and 50Ds) to complete three sets. And just looking for readable copies, at that.
    I'm saving all the pre-60s 'cause, just maybe, I can help the next guy with coins he needs....
  14. TomCorona

    TomCorona New Member

    When I was a kid, you could pull indian head pennies from circulation fairly commonly. Today..maybe one in 50,000 roll searching. Just think..if we were smart enough to grab em and put em away, we'd have them now for almost nothing. I don't think they're worth nothing today. Not super rare or anything, but, starting at what 50 times face minimally now? 10 years from now, you won't see any 40s, 50s, to pull but, they're there today for free...that's all I'm saying.
  15. Pocket Change

    Pocket Change Coin Collector

    If you're not buying boxes and boxes of the things, I see no reason not to save what you want.

    As some like cladking have pointed out, there may also be other interesting dates besides the "old" ones.

    If you enjoy the series, it can take quite some time to go through a roll of nickels as you examine each one........
  16. fusiafinch

    fusiafinch Member


    I'd select all of the war nickels (large mint mark above dome) and sell them to any dealer for silver content.

    I'd keep any nickels from the 1930's, regardless of grade. Look for the key 1939-D. Several varieties, like the 1943/2, or D/S mintmarks, for example, are worth something even in worn condition, so check the price guides for the most popular listings.

    For the post war circulated nickels, I'd look at the higher grade examples for full steps. Some dates from the 1950's are quite rare in full steps.

    Other than that, spend them.

    Have a fun time looking, though.
  17. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    The best bet has probably always been to save the nicest example of EVERY coin and this has probably been much more true during the last couple of generations. Not only is this collection the best remembrance of what was but also serves as a base to compare potential varieties and types with. It's far easier to spot something different if you know what "normal" is.
  18. SPQR

    SPQR Junior Member

    I have to say that I agree with cladking. Searching nickel rolls is an eye opener. I've found some really decent pre 1960s, but the coins from about 1965 or so till the mid to late 80s are really tough in anything but VG or less. It's easier to fill the '38-64 slots in F or better from circulation (except 50D of course) than from 64-now.
    The 70's coins seem especially beat up-the prevalence of nickel slots may have something to do with this.
  19. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    A lot of it is probably just perception. People think that old coins are desirable and rare so when they see a 1941 nickel they tend to save it despite a mintage in the hundreds of millions. They're often told at the coin shops tht their coins are too new and they should just be spent. Even collectors just stopped collecting nickels when the clads came out. You can find ten sets pre-1964 for everyone you find that includes the later dates.

    It's this constantly pulling them from circulation that causes them to be high grade. It's not at all unusual for a 1941 nickel to spend decades out of circulation because it's in a hoard or a collection but it's very unusual for a much scarcer 1968-D to spend even a few months out of circulation.

    There is a perception that the later coins are more common but this simply isn't true unless you count the millions beat up in circulation or lost in land fills. Not only are the later dates generally less common in unc but they are far less common in AU, XF, and VF.

    Velocity has slowed a lot on nickels in the last few years but there just aren't very many coins like a nice XF '68-D nickel and there weren't ten years ago. Some of these post-64 dates were so poorly made that there weren't many nice XF's even a few years after they were made. They basically went from Unc to PU to beat up with no stops in between.
  20. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast


    While I admire your enthusiasm about modern coinage, you know very well that there a millions of mint sets for every date/mm (except 82 & 83) containing every denomination including the nickels. People don't just break coins out of government packaged mint sets and spend them. For the most part, they are uncirculated and remain in hoards, collections, and dealer's inventories. To insinuate that post 64 nickels are more rare than pre 64 nickels is a little far fetched.

    I will admit that they are extremely difficult to locate in NGC or PCGS slabs because most of the coins don't have the requisite value to warrant professional grading. In that sense, they are quite rare for registry purposes.

    So other than 1982 & 1983 when there were no mint sets, I would have to say that most modern nickels are very common in MS grades. And besides, you aren't going to find many 1941-D's that look like this:


  21. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    It is a nice '41.

    Actually I believe that many of the modern nickels really are scarcer than the older nickels. Roll saving of nickels since 1964 is very sporatic. Some dates were saved in very large quantities and some in very small quantities. Bid price can give an excellent perspective on which ones have a very low savings rate. Anything over $4 probably means fewer than half a million.

    To put this in perspective we know that more than two million 1950-D nickels were set aside in unc. It was most of the mintage and some 1 1/2 million survive and sell for around $20 each for decent specimens. But compare this to other nickels of the era; this is far higher. It stands to reason that there are far more. There are not only the millions of each date set aside but there are so many millions in high grade that they show up with some frequency in circulation. How many millions of something like a '52-D exist in rolls, bags, circulation, and many millions of collections? I would think that about 60% of the mintage has been utterly destroyed but those surviving are often in F or better condition and more than three million survive in unc. There are lots of collections with XF's and AU's and more than a few Unc collections.

    Now look at one of the more common moderns but that wasn't heavily saved in rolls; the '71-D. 2.2 million went into mint sets but 70% of these are gone and the majority of these coins went into circulation. A significant number were saved but there hasn't been a booming market for '71-D nickels. Rolls are barely worth the postage to ship so it's easier for the wholesalers to just return these to the banks. Until recently even the gems attracted little interest. It still isn't too unusual to see a dealer cutting up mint sets and putting the coins in the till. It's cheaper than shipping. So perhaps 1/4 million survive in rolls and a million as mint set singles or still in the set. That's scarcer than the '50-D!!! And this is one of the common moderns not one of the better dates.

    When you toss in the fact that the older coins are widely available in high grade in circulation (except the '50-D), the later date coins look much more attractive. Also add in the fact that some of these mint set coins typically look pretty bad. Most '50-D's are fairly decent examples that most collectors are willing to include in their collections but some of the mint set coins are awful. 35% of '75 mint set Philly nickels are full of scratches and some of the '68's are tarnishing. Even the later date mint sets with low mintages can have very unattractive nickels. The '87 nickels aren't really unsightly to me but many collectors will be turned off by large number and prominence of the scratches.

    The simple fact is that the later dates are cheap because of a lack of demand, not an ample supply.

    Yes, the demand for the older coins is far higher and there's no certainty that the demand for the later dates will ever rival it but the price structure will be much different if it ever does. There would be at least ten or fifteen later dates that would sell for as much as the '50-D and a few would be much higher.
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