What constitutes a Full Step Jefferson Nickel? This seems to be a very common question amongst collectors. And most who ask want photographs of the difference between FS and non FS step Jefferson Nickels. Hopefully this thread will answer all of your questions relating to the FS designation and I will provide examples for 6FS, 5FS, and non FS with clear photographs. All of the photographs in this thread were taken by myself and are of coins presently in my collection. We should first start with a definition of the FS designation. I will refer to the PCGS OFFICIAL GUIDE TO COIN GRADING AND COUNTERFEIT DETECTION which defines it as: Full Steps (FS) is the designation following the numerical grade of some regular-strike MS60 or higher Jefferson nickels that have at least five separated steps (lines) at the base of Moniticello. Any major disturbance or interruption of these steps or lines, whether caused by contact, planchet problems, or another source, will result in the coin's not being designated FS. Only the slightest weakness on any step (line) is allowed for this designation. Some issues are almost never seen with Full Steps and may command a significant premium. PCGS does not go on to explain the difference between 6FS and 5FS, but essentially it relates to the number of fully separated lines seen on the coin. The 6FS designation will have 5 distinct lines and the 5FS designation will have 4 distinct lines. Any coin without at least 4 fully separated lines will not be awared the FS designation. It should also be noted that originally NGC did not award the FS designation to 5FS Jefferson's until February 16th, 2004. Before that date, NGC only used the FS designation for coins that showed 6FS. After that date they used two different designations, one for 6FS and 5FS. A coin in an older NGC holder with the FS designation equals 6FS. To my knowledge, PCGS always considered 5 or 6 full steps FS. Now that we have a general knowledge of what to look for, let us see some examples of full step and non-full step Jefferson Nickels. 6FS Jefferson Nickel This coin is a 1940-D NGC MS67 FS (266026-003). Notice the coin has 6 steps fully separated by 5 distinct lines. There are some very minor marks on the steps, but none that disrupt the lines and there is no blending. 5FS Jefferson Nickel (Almost 6FS) This coin is a 1958-D NGC MS66 5FS and is very close to being a 6FS. There are 5 fully separated lines with the exception of the far right of the 5th and 6th step above the "E" and "L" in Monticello. You will often see sellers on E-Bay advertising with verbage like 5FS and 99% 6FS. This is the type of coin they will be talking about. Please don't fall for the hype. There is no premium for almost being something. 5FS Jefferson Nickel A 1944-P NGC MS67 5FS Jefferson Nickel with solid 5FS credentials. Again, there are some minor marks that don't completely disturb the lines but there is definite blending of the 5th and 6th steps above the "C" in Monticello. 5FS Jefferson Nickel (Questionable) This is a 1941-D NGC MS67* 5FS. A beautifully toned Jefferson with a designation of 5FS. It should be obvious to everyone that this coin would never qualify for the 6FS designation because there is blending of over 50% of the 5th and 6th steps. In addition, there seems to be some minor blending of the other remaining 4 lines in spots. This is a coin that I believe would not get a 5FS designation more than 75% of the time if resubmitted. In other words, the 5FS designation was IMO, generous. Non FS Jefferson Nickel (Strong Strike) A gorgeous 1939-D Rev of 40 Jefferson Nickel with an otherwise very strong strike. Please note that while this coin is light years away from full steps (2 complete lines), this coin is well struck. As Doug has pointed out many times on this forum, the steps are not a true indicator of the overall strike on a Jefferson Nickel. Non FS Jefferson Nickel (Weak Strike) This is a 1951-D NGC MS66* Jefferson Nickel with amazing toning and one of the worst strikes I have ever seen on a Jefferson Nickel. There is almost no detail at all on Monticello and it is quite obviously not a full step candidate. Please compare this coin with the coin above and note the similarity in the steps but the drastic difference in strike. That concludes the lesson about the FS designation. I hope this was helpful to my fellow Jefferson Nickel collectors and can provide a good reference point for everyone. If anyone has any comments or questions regarding the FS designation, please let me know!