pile of coins graphic TheCoinSpot.com logo

U.S. Five Cent Coins

Silver Half Dime  

Nickel 5 Cent      

Prior to 1866, the five-cent coin was the half dime, a small silver piece. Unlike today, nickel was not in use for U.S. coins, and did not appear until 1866. The half dime contained very close to five cents worth of silver, because Americans insisted that coinage have high intrinsic value.

The Flowing Hair half dimes of 1794-95 was different than Birch's 1792 half dismes; the spelling of "disme" would gradually evolve to "dime." The 1792 coins the spelling was (HALF DISME). All Flowing Hair half dimes dated 1794 were struck in March of 1795. The 1794 half dime is a scarce coin in any grade. In mint state it is very rare.

Four different die varieties are known for the 1794 half dimes. Only one of these is relatively common. Ten different die varieties exist for the 1795 half dime. Over 80% of all 1795 half dimes are from three of these varieties, and the rest are very rare.

★★★★★ Flowing Hair Half Dime ★★★★★

Click to Enlarge
Flowing Hair Half Dime Coin Obverse Flowing Hair Half Dime Coin Reverse

Flowing Hair Half Dime
(1794 1795)

The design for half dimes was changed in 1796. Robert Scot was instructed to create a new, uniform design for the current silver denominations. The half dime, dime, quarter dollar and half dollar of 1796 all have a Draped Bust obverse which is coupled with the Small Eagle reverse.

All Flowing Hair half dimes were struck at the first Philadelphia Mint (no true proofs are known). As one would expect, the quality of strike for 1794 half dimes is generally poor even though some very sharp examples can be found. The United States Mint had trouble striking this denomination of coins until the 1830s. There is no indication of this coin's value on either side. Adjustment marks on the surfaces are caused by file marks on the planchet to correct the weight. Adjustment marks are very common during this period and they do not significantly hurt the grade or the value of a coin.

Click to view an example of:


Flowing Hair Half Dime Specs. & Mintage

Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
1794 86,416
Designer: Robert Scot
Content: 89.2% silver 10.8% copper
Diameter: 16.5 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 1.3 grams
Mint Mark Location: None (all coins were minted in Philadelphia)

Half Dime (Flowing Hair) Grading

Select a grade image for comparison to your coin.

I View Grading
Grading Made Easy
@ TheCoinSpot.com

Back to Top

Draped Bust Half Dime 1796 - 1805

Click to Enlarge
Draped Bust Half Dime coin (Type 1) Obverse Draped Bust Half Dime coin (Type 1) Reverse

Type 1 Draped Bust
Small Eagle (1796 1797)

Click to Enlarge
Draped Bust Half Dime coin (Type 2) Obverse Draped Bust Half Dime coin (Type 2) Reverse

Type 2 Draped Bust
Heraldic Eagle (1800 1805)

With the poor reception given the Flowing Hair half dime, Mint Director DeSaussure ordered a redesign of the coins. Seemingly because of a lack of confidence in Scot, who designed the Flowing Hair coins, DeSaussure ask Gilbert Stuart for sketches of a new Liberty head. Stuart's sketch was of a Mrs. William Bingham of Rhode Island. Since Vermont and Kentucky had joined the Union, the 1796 Half Dime had fifteen stars. Shortly thereafter, a sixteenth star was added when Tennessee joined the Union.

Director DeSaussure's successor, Elias Boudinot, understood that the practice of adding more stars needed to stop. The 1797 coin had the stars reduced to 13 symbolic of the original 13 colonies that broke away from England.

Philadelphia was often plagued by yellow fever in the summer and fall, and between the years 1797 and 1804 it was particularly bad. It even became necessary to shut down the Mint several times during the season. Engraver Joseph Wright and assayer Joseph Whitehead both died of the fever in 1793 and the following year, Mint Treasurer Dr. Nicholas died. This explains why the mintage was low some years, and very low in others.

Only a few varieties exist, and all are rare. Two notable varieties are, a broken B in LIBERTY which makes it appear to be LIKERTY and an over date, 1796/1795

Click to view an example of:

Despite the convenience when making change, production remained limited. Many banks and the markets preferred the Mexican silver half reales (worth approximately six cents) and their use remained wide spread. In 1805 the Mint ceased production of the half dime and did not resume production until 1829 with the Capped Bust design.

The "Draped Bust" image appears on the following coins, and was used for the years listed. Many of these coins were used to make jewelry, which may partially account for their scarcity.

No half dimes were struck in 1798 and 1799. The coin was again minted in 1800 with the same Draped Bust obverse, but with a new heraldic eagle device from the Great Seal of the United States on the reverse.

Draped Bust Half Dime Specs. & Mintage

Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
Type 1 Plain Eagle
1796 10,230
1797 44,527
Type 2 Large Eagle & Shield
1800 40,000
1801 27,760
1802 3,060
1803 37,850
1805 15,600
Type 1 Plain Eagle Reverse
Designer: Robert Scot
Content: 89.2% silver 10.8% copper
Diameter: 16.5 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 1.3 grams
Mint Mark: None (all coins were minted in Philadelphia)

Type 2 Large Eagle With Shield Reverse (1800-1805)
Designer: Robert Scot

Back to Top

U.S. Capped Bust Half Dime Coins 1829 - 1837

Click to Enlarge
Capped Bust Half Dime Coin Obverse Capped Bust Half Dime Coin Reverse

Capped Bust
(1829 1837)

The half dime disappeared from Mint production and circulation after 1805. It is speculated that bankers preferred the Mexican half-real coin, worth one-sixteenth of a dollar (0.0625) or 6 1/4 cents.

In 1829 the half dime finally reappeared with a very different look: It was slightly smaller in diameter but the weight remained the same. The Draped Bust design was gone, it was replaced by a left-facing portrait of Liberty, her curly hair was tucked inside a mobcap. This likeness is sometimes called the Turban Head, but most people call it the Capped Bust. The old Heraldic Eagle was replaced by a naturalistic eagle with a shield superimposed on its breast.

The designs was not a new one. This basic design had appeared on some of the nation's larger silver coins as far back as 1807. The designs were fashioned by the German-born Mint engraver John Reich. It is the first half dime with a denomination on it expressed as (5 c).

There are several interesting die varieties, however, only one of them (1837 with a small 5 C.) commands a larger premium. The 5 C. appears in large and small varieties for the years 1835, 1836 and the 1837. The 1835 half dimes not only comes with large and small dates, it has combinations of dates and denomination sizes.


Capped Bust Design Specs. & Mintage

Date/Mint Mark Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Mark Circulation Strikes
1829 1,230,000 1830 1,240,000
1831 1,242,700 1832 965,000
1833 1,370,000 1834 1,480,000
1835 2,760,000 1836 1,900,000
1837 871,000
Designer: William Kneass
Content: 89.25% silver 10.75% copper
Diameter: 15.5 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 1.35 grams
Mint Mark None (Philadelphia)

Liberty Capped Silver Half Dime Grading

Select a grade image for comparison to your coin.

I View Grading
Grading Made Easy
@ TheCoinSpot.com

Back to Top

Liberty Seated Half Dime 1837 - 1873

Click to Enlarge
Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 1) Obverse Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 1) Reverse

Type 1 Liberty Seated
No Stars (1837 1838)

By 1837, the Mint's entering the modern era. Two factors allowed the transition to take place. First, there was a large amount of silver and gold available for minting. Second, new steam powered coining presses were introduced using a close collar. These state-of-the-art presses made striking coins faster and more efficient.

The new Mint Director Patterson had his own vision of the emblematic portraits of Liberty. Portraits, as they were used on coinage up to that date was not part of his vision. Patterson admired the English rendition of Britannia on their copper coins. Chief Engraver William Kneass with the help of artists Titian Peale and Thomas Sully made drawings using a similar concept.

By 1835 Christian Gobrecht, a talented engraver and medallist had unofficially worked for the Mint for over a decade. In the summer of ’35 Gobrecht was appointed second engraver, he was immediately set to work on bringing Patterson’s ideas to life.

Liberty seated on a rock and holding a shield was designed in 1835 as a silver dollar patterns. The design was first used for circulation on the half dime in 1837. It is the smallest in size and lowest in denomination of the six coins bearing the Seated Liberty designs.

From an artistic standpoint this coin is one of the most uncluttered coins ever struck in the United States. There are two distinct varieties known.

  • First there is a large date with the date curved, the 1 in the date has a tall peak.
  • The second variety has a small date in a straight line, the 1 in the date has a flat top.
  • The large date is more common than the small date, but surprisingly, there is usually no premium accorded to the small date.

    The 1837 No Stars half dimes is more available in uncirculated grades than would be normally expected. As a explanation for this, it has been suggested that many pieces were saved as first-year-of-issue souvenirs.

    In 1838, and for that year only, No Stars half dimes were coined in New Orleans.

    Type 1 Liberty Seated Design Specs. & Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    1837 1,405,000
    1838-O 70,000
    Obverse Designer: Thomas Sully
    Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
    Diameter: 15.9 millimeters
    Weight: 1.3 grams
    Content: 90% silver 10% copper
    Edge: Reeded
    Mint Mark Location: Below "DIME" on the reverse

    Back to Top

    Type 2 Stars No Drapery & Type 3 Stars and Drapery

    Click to Enlarge
    Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 2) Obverse Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 2) Reverse

    Type 2 Liberty Seated
    Stars No Drapery (1838 1840)

    Click to Enlarge
    Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 3) Obverse Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 3) Reverse

    Type 3 Liberty Seated
    Stars & Drapery (1840 1853)

    In 1838 thirteen stars were placed in a circle around Liberty. In the beginning, each star was hand punched into a older style die. Collectors refer to the coins as the No Drapery variety. This is because the hand punched stars gave it a somewhat different appearance, and the drapery at the elbow had not yet been added.

    In 1840 Robert Ball Hughes modified the coin adding extra drapery at Liberty's left elbow. The reason for the modification is unclear. Both mints made both kinds of coins (with and without drapery) resulting in four different half dimes being minted in 1840.

    One possible explanation for the four designs may be because of the cost of dies used to stamp coins. Using a die until it was time to replace it seems like a frugal or thrifty method of operations.

    Types 2 & 3 Liberty Seated Specs.

    Liberty Seated Type 2
    Obverse Designer: Thomas Sully (modified by Robert Ball Hughes)
    Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
    Diameter: 15.9 millimeters
    Weight: 1.3 grams
    Content: 90% silver 10% copper
    Edge: Reeded
    Mint Mark Location: Below "DIME" on the reverse

    Liberty Seated Type 3
    Obverse Designer: Thomas Sully (modified by Robert Ball Hughes)
    Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
    Types 2 & 3 Liberty Seated Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    Type 2 Liberty Seated Stars & No Drapery
    1838 2,255,000
    1839 1,069,150 1839 O 1,034,039
    1840 included below 1840 O included below
    Type 3 Liberty Seated Stars & Drapery
    1840 1,344,085 1840 O 935,000
    1841 1,150,000 1841 O 815,000
    1842 815,000 1842 O 350,000
    1843 1,165,000
    1844 430,000 1844 O 220,000
    1845 1,564,000
    1846 27,000
    1847 1,274,000
    1848 668,000 1848 O 600,000
    1849 1,309,000 1849 O 140,000
    1850 955,000 1850 O 690,000
    1851 781,000 1851 O 860,000
    1852 1,000,500 1852 O 260,000
    1853 135,000 1853 O 160,000

    Back to Top

    Liberty Seated Half Dime Type 4 With Arrows at Date (1853-1855)

    Click to Enlarge
    Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 4) Obverse Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 4) Reverse

    Type 4 Liberty Seated
    Arrows at Date (1853 1855)

    Click to Enlarge
    Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 5) Obverse Liberty Seated Half Dime Coin (Type 5) Reverse

    Type 5 Liberty Seated
    with Legend (1860 1873)

    In 1853, (because the price of Gold fell sharply in relationship to silver) in order too combat the melting of silver half dimes the amount of silver in each coin was slightly reduced. To make these reduced weight coins easily distinguished from older and heavier coins, Chief Engraver James B. Longacre added arrowheads on both sides of the date.

    The Stars obverse design, without arrows, returned in 1856, the weight remained the same, and continued until 1860, when the Legend Obverse design debuted.

    On the brink of a civil war, the Mint removed the thirteen stars from the obverse and replaced them with the Legend: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Other changes can be found on the last half dime issue. Liberty‚s arm was reduced, the size of the cap and the size of the head were both changed.

    In addition to the above variations, the Seated Liberty half dime is a collectors dream. This is because of the many errors on the dates, repunched and recut dates, over-dates, repunched Mint marks, and large, medium and small dates to name a few minor variations.

    In 1873 the 5 cent nickel brought an end to the seated liberty half dime and the half dime denomination. The 5 cent nickel met with resounding public approval.


    Type 4 & 5 Liberty Seated Specs.

    Type 4 With Arrows at Date Specs.
    Obverse Designer: by Thomas Sully (modified by Robert Ball Hughes)
    Reverse Designer: by Christian Gobrecht
    Diameter: 15.9 millimeters
    Weight: 1.2 grams
    Content: 90% silver 10% copper
    Edge: Reeded
    Mint Mark Location: Below "DIME" on the reverse

    Liberty Seated Type 5 Specs.
    Obverse Designer: Thomas Sully (modified by Robert Ball Hughes and James B. Longacre)
    Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
    Diameter: 15.9 millimeters
    Weight: 1.2 grams
    Content: 90% silver 10% copper
    Edge: Reeded
    Mint Mark Location: Below "DIME" on the reverse except for:
    1872 Within or below the wreath on the reverse
    1873 which is below the wreath
    Type 4 & 5 Liberty Seated Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    Type 4 With Arrows at Date
    1853 13,210,020 1853-O 2,200,000
    1854 5,740,000 1854-O 1,560,000
    1855 1,750,000 1855-O 600,000
    Type 5 with Legend
    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    1860 799,000 1860-O 1,060,000
    1861 3,361,000
    1862 1,492,000
    1863 18,000 1863-S 100,000
    1864 48,000 1864-S 90,000
    1865 13,000 1865-S 120,000
    1866 10,000 1866-S 120,000
    1867 8,000 1867-S 120,000
    1868 88,600 1868-S 280,000
    1869 208,000 1869-S 230,000
    1870 535,000 1870-S 1
    1871 1,873,000 1871-S 161,000
    1872 2,947,000 1872-S 837,000
    1873 712,000 1873-S 324,000

    Back to Top

    ★★★★★ Shield Nickel Five Cent 1866 - 1883 ★★★★★

    Click to Enlarge
    Shield Five Cent Coin (Type 1) Obverse Shield Five Cent Coin (Type 1) Reverse

    Type 1 Shield Nickel
    With Rays (1866 1867)

    Click to Enlarge
    Shield Five Cent Coin (Type 2) Obverse Shield Five Cent Coin (Type 2) Reverse

    Type 2 Shield Nickel
    W/O Rays (1867 1883)

    The nickel five-cent piece was originally proposed to weigh 3.88 grams and be composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The House Coinage Committee wanted the new coin‘s weight to be expressed in grams but would not publicly say so, and while four grams was the next metric weight, this was passed over, and five grams was the weight used. But still unwilling to express the weight as five grams, the enabling legislation required the coin weigh 77.16 grains (the English equivalent of five grams)!

    As Chief Engraver it fell to James Longacre to design the new coin. Several patterns were created, the most interesting ones featured profiles of Washington or Lincoln. Unfortunately, the issue of portraying actual persons on coinage was a matter for great debate. In this round of debate, the opponents won. Unable to use Washington or Lincoln's portrait, Longacre modified a motif he had used earlier on the two-cent coin. The modified design had a certain geometric balance, but it is artistically quite weak.

    Initially, the reverse was controversial. The central device shows a large numeral 5 and is surrounded by thirteen stars with thirteen sets of rays between the stars. Surprisingly, some citizens believed Southern sympathizers had infiltrated the Mint and placed the Confederate Stars and Bars on the reverse. Despite objections, the rays were retained on the reverse the first two years of issue. Early in 1867 the rays were eliminated. This was because Mint officials believed the rays prevented the coins from striking completely.

    Shield nickels were struck only at the Philadelphia Mint from 1866 until the design change in 1883. This short-lived series has a surprising number of rarities. The two key issues are from 1877 and 1878, when only proofs were struck. Business strikes for the years 1879 - 1881 were low mintage and command large premiums in all grades. There are two over dates, the 1879/8 an over dated proof and the 1883/2.

    In 1883 the Shield nickel was replaced by Charles Barber's new Greco-Roman Liberty head. However, the Shield nickel was the first nickel five-cent piece. While the design was originally intended to be temporary, it has changed several times since 1866, but the basic 5-gram nickel has remained a mainstay of our coinage system.

    Shield Nickel Design Specs. & Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    Type 1 With Rays
    1866 14,742,500 1867 Rays 2,019,000
    Type 2 Without Rays
    1867 28,890,500 1868 28,817,000
    1869 16,395,000 1870 4,806,000
    1871 561,000 1872 6,036,000
    1873 4,550,000 1874 3,538,000
    1875 2,097,000 1876 2,530,000
    1877 0 1878 0
    1879 25,900 1880 16,000
    1881 68,800 1882 11,472,900
    1883 1,451,500
    Designer: James B. Longacre
    Content: 75% copper 25% nickel
    Diameter: 20.5 millimeters
    Edge: Plain
    Weight: 5 grams
    Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)

    Back to Top

    U.S. Liberty Head Five Cent 1883 - 1913

    Click to Enlarge
    Liberty Head Five Coin (Type 1) Obverse Liberty Head Five Coin (Type 1) Reverse

    Type 1 Liberty Head
    W/O "CENTS" (1883 only)

    Click to Enlarge
    Liberty Head Five Coin (Type 2) Obverse Liberty Head Five Coin (Type 2) Reverse

    Type 2 Liberty Head
    With "CENTS" (1883 1913)

    In 1881 Loudon Snowden, Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint, believing that the nation’s three minor coins (the cent, three-cent piece and five-cent piece) should be uniform in design and metallic composition directed Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber to prepare suitable sketches for these denominations. All three were to feature a classical head of Liberty. Later that year trial strikes were made of the three coins.

    All three were simple in design, Liberty on the obverse and a Roman numeral (I, III or V) signifying one, three and five cents, respectively inside a wreath. They were struck in copper-nickel, the same alloy used in the three-cent piece and the Shield nickel. They quickly discovered that Congress was opposed to a change in composition for the bronze cent. Farther discovery determined that the Treasury would not permit a design change for the three-cent piece. This left only the five-cent piece, and Snowden and Barber began overhauling it.

    The first V nickels had barely been released when a fundamental flaw in the design was discovered: The word CENTS had been omitted from the design. The oversight soon created a crisis: The coins were being plating with gold and passed off as five-dollar gold pieces. As brand new coins, which were virtually the same size as half eagles, they were unfamiliar to the public, and they lacked a statement of value outside of the letter V (which, of course, could have been either five cents or five dollars).

    Barber quickly corrected the flaw, this time he placed CENTS in large, bold letters below the V. Unfortunately, the Mint had already struck nearly 5.5 million of the No CENTS nickels, and many had already been gold-plated and passed. Called racketeer nickels, they are still found today in hoards and collections of old coins. They have little value as collector's items, but many people find them appealing as a historical curiosities.

    The 1885, 1886 and 1912 S are considered low mintage, but there are no great rarities. The 1912 S, at 238,000, is the only coin with a mintage less than a million. The 1911 is the highest mintage with just over 39.5 million.

    In 1913 the Indian Head/Buffalo type nickel went into production replacing the Liberty nickel. But that is not the end of the story! Some years later the collecting world was stunned to discover that five 1913 examples had surfaced. They were apparently secretly made by someone at the Philadelphia Mint. Despite their origins, they came to be accepted as highly prized collectibles. Today, they rank among the most coveted and valuable of all U.S. coins.

    Liberty Head Nickel Specs.

    Designer: Charles E. Barber
    Diameter: 21.2 millimeters
    Metal content: Copper: 75% Nickel: 25%
    Weight: 5 grams
    Edge: Plain
    Mint Mark Location: Reverse below the button to the left of CENTS.
    Liberty Head Nickel Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    1883 No Cents 5,474,300 1883 Cents 16,026,200
    1884 11,270,000 1885 1,473,300
    1886 3,326,000 1887 15,260,692
    1888 10,715,901 1889 15,878,025
    1890 16,256,532 1891 16,832,000
    1892 11,696,897 1893 13,368,000
    1894 5,410,500 1895 9,977,822
    1896 8,841,048 1897 20,426,797
    1898 12,530,292 1899 26,027,000
    1900 27,253,733 1901 26,478,228
    1902 31,487,581 1903 28,004,930
    1904 21,403,167 1905 29,825,124
    1906 38,612,000 1907 39,213,325
    1908 22,684,557 1909 11,585,763
    1910 30,166,948 1911 39,557,639
    1912 26,234,569 1912-D 8,474,000
    1912-S 238,000
    1913 0 1913 Proofs 5 known

    Back to Top

    Indian Head "Buffalo" Nickel 1913 - 1938

    Click to Enlarge
    Indian Head Five Cents Coin (Type 1) obverse Indian Head Five Cents Coin (Type 1) Reverse

    Type 1 Indian Head
    "FIVE CENTS" Raised
    (1913 only)

    Click to Enlarge
    Indian Head Five Cents Coin (Type 2) Obverse Indian Head Five Cents Coin (Type 2) Reverse

    Type 2 Indian Head
    "FIVE CENTS" In Recess
    (1913 1938)

    Even though Theodore Roosevelt was no longer in office, his desire to have more classical designs on our coins was very much alive.

    The Coinage Act of 1890 permitted a change in coin design after 25 years. Not about to pass up the opportunity Secretary of the Treasury Franklin MacVeagh, MacVeagh, bypassing the competent but mediocre Barber, and began the process for a new design. James Earle Fraser, a former assistant to Saint-Gaudens and a prolific artist created a truly unique design for the new coin. Unlike earlier "Indian" designs, Fraser's design accurately portrays a male Native American on the obverse, and an American Bison on the reverse.

    Fraser's design was beautiful, and for that reason was favored by Secretary MacVeagh. However, its allure seemed to escape chief engraver Barber. The design remained unchanged over Barber's objections. On March 4, 1913, coins from the first bag to go into circulation were presented to outgoing President Taft and 33 Indian chiefs at the ground breaking ceremonies for the National Memorial to the North American Indian at Fort Wadsworth, New York.

    As early as April, rapid wear of the words FIVE CENTS became evident on the coins reverse. The denomination FIVE CENTS was on a raised mound. Barber finally had his opportunity to modify Fraser's design. These type 1 nickels were minted only during the first few months of 1913.

    Barber cut away the mound, creating an exergue into which the FIVE CENTS was set. Even though Barber had solved the reverse wear problem, he kept going. He smoothed out much detail and granularity in both the Indian's portrait and the bison's hide. Because of this, much of the artistic impact was lost. This resulted in the Type 2 Buffalo Nickel.

    In 1916, Barber made additional minor modifications. Some experts consider this a third subtype, but most type collectors only recognize the Type 1 and 2 coins as true varieties.

    What really seems strange is with all his modifications, Barber never worked on the problem of the date wearing down too rapidly.

    Click to view: & Examples.

    Indian Head Nickel Specs.

    Type 1 Designer: James Earle Fraser
    Type 2 Designer: James Earle Fraser, modified by Charles E. Barber
    Diameter: 21.2 millimeters
    Metal content: Copper: 75% Nickel: 25%
    Weight: 5 grams
    Edge: Plain
    Mint Mark Location: Reverse below "FIVE CENTS"
    Indian Head Nickel Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    Type 1 Date on Mound
    1913 30,992,000 1913 D 5,337,000
    1913 S 2,105,000
    Type 2 Buffalo Nickel
    1913 29,857,186 1913 D 4,156,000
    1913 S 1,209,000 1914 20,664,463
    1914 D 3,912,000 1914 S 3,470,000
    1915 20,986,220 1915 D 7,569,000
    1915 S 1,505,000 1916 63,497,466
    1916 D 13,333,000 1916 S 11,860,000
    1917 51,424,019 1917 D 9,910,000
    1917 S 4,193,000 1918 32,086,314
    1918 D 8,362,000 1918 S 4,882,000
    1919 60,868,000 1919 D 8,006,000
    1919 S 7,521,000 1920 63,093,000
    1920 D 9,418,000 1920 S 9,689,000
    1921 10,663,000 1921 S 1,557,000
    1923 35,715,000 1923 S 6,142,000
    1924 21,620,000 1924 D 5,258,000
    1924 S 1,437,000 1925 35,565,100
    1925 D 4,450,000 1925 S 6,256,000
    1926 44,693,000 1926 D 5,638,000
    1926 S 970,000 1927 37,981,000
    1927 D 5,730,000 1927 S 3,430,000
    1928 23,411,000 1928 D 6,436,000
    1928 S 6,936,000 1929 36,446,000
    1929 D 8,370,000 1929 S 7,754,000
    1930 22,849,000 1930 S 5,435,000
    1931 S 1,200,000 1934 20,213,003
    1934 D 7,480,000 1935 58,264,000
    1935 D 12,092,000 1935 S 10,300,000
    1936 118,997,000 1936 D 24,814,000
    1936 S 14,930,000 1937 79,480,000
    1937 D 17,826,000 1937 S 5,635,000
    1938 D 7,020,000

    Back to Top

    Jefferson Five Cent 1938 - Present

    Click to Enlarge
    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 1) Obverse Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 1) Reverse

    Type 1 Jefferson five cent

    Click to Enlarge
    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 2) Obverse Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 2) Reverse

    Type 2 Jefferson five cent
    (Silver 1942 - 1945)

    When the Treasury Dept. decided to discontinue the Buffalo design on the nickel, a nationwide competition was announced. The mint wanted the design to portray Thomas Jefferson on the Obverse and the reverse was to be his home Monticello.

    Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents and a boundlessly curious nature. He achieved fame at home and internationally as a architect (eg. Monticello), as a statesman, scientist and philosopher. Jefferson's lasting legacy has proved him to be one of the truly great figures in American history.

    Jefferson began his career as a public servant in 1769 by when he joined the Virginia House of Burgesses. With the start of the American Revolution, he became a member of the Second Continental Congress where he became one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence. He later returned to Virginia to serve as governor during the last part of the war, then he later rejoined the Continental Congress in 1783 and 1784.

    Once George Washington had been honored with a circulating coin in 1932, it seemed natural that Jefferson would be right behind him in achieving such a recognition.

    German-American sculptor Felix Schlag, out of 390 entries, won the competition and collected the $1,000. but his design was modified by the mint and in September of 1938 production began! In spite of the popularity of coin collecting, there was little interest in the new coin.

    All three mints coined Jefferson Nickels from 1938 onward. With the exception of the silver nickels used in World War Two, mint marks appeared to the right of Monticello through 1964. Use of mint marks were suspended because of a nationwide coin shortage, and were restored in 1968. Since 1968, they have been placed beneath the date, to the right of Jefferson’s wig.

    During World War II Nickel (the metal) was scarce and in great demand. The Jefferson nickel was changed to 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese during this critical period. To distinguish these coins from the original coins, the mint mark was place above Monticello with a large letter. At the end of WWII use of the original alloy and the original mint marks were resumed.

    In 2004 & 2005 there were four new designs. The new designs were to commemorate the Lewis and Clark expedition, who's official task was, at the order of President Jefferson, to explore the newly acquired Louisiana purchase. Unofficially, they were to explore all the way to the Pacific Ocean and thereby lay claim to that land in the name of the United States.

    Jefferson Five Cent Westward Journey Coins Types 3, 4, 5 & 6


    2004 Type 3

    2004 Type 4

    2005 Obverse

    2005 Type 5

    2005 Type 6

    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 3) obverse

    In 2004 the Obverse of the coins were left unchanged.

    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 3) Reverse

    Norman E. Nemeth's adaptation of an Indian Peace Medal struck for Jefferson was the first new design.

    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 4) Reverse

    A depiction by Mint sculptor-engraver Al Maletsky of a keelboat (like used by the Expedition).

    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 5) Obverse

    In 2005 the image and legend were both changed. "LIBERTY" was traced from Jefferson's handwriting.

    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 5) Reverse

    The reverse depicts an American bison observed by Lewis and Clark, and also recalling the Buffalo nickel.

    Jefferson Five Cent Coin  (Type 6) Reverse

    This coin shows the coastline and the words Ocean in view! O! The Joy! from a journal entry by William Clark.

    Click to view 2005 D Jefferson image example

    2006 Jefferson Five Cent Type 7

    Click to Enlarge
    Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 7) Obverse Jefferson Five Cent Coin (Type 7) Reverse

    Type 7 Jefferson Portrait
    (2006 Present)

    Since 2006 another Franki design has been used for the obverse. This design depicts Jefferson from the front. The image is based on an 1800 drawing by Rembrandt Peale and includes the word "Liberty" in Jefferson's script similar to if not exactly as it appears when hand written in documents by Jefferson. Mint Director David Lebryk is quoted as saying, "The image of a forward-facing Jefferson is a fitting tribute to his [Jefferson's] vision." The reverse beginning in 2006 was again Schlag's Monticello design, but it was sharpened by Mint engravers.

    As Schlag's obverse design, on which his initials were placed in 1966, is no longer used, his initials were placed on the reverse to the right of Monticello

    Jefferson Five Cent Specs.

    Type 1 - Monticello Nickel Planchets (1938-1942)
    Designer: Felix Schlag
    Content: 75% Copper 25% Nickel
    Weight: 5 grams
    Diameter: 21.2 millimeters
    Edge: Plain

    Type 2 - Monticello Wartime Planchets (1942-1945)
    Content: 56% Copper 35% Silver 9% Manganese

    Types 3 - Westward Journey (2004-2005)
    Peace Metal Reverse Designers: Norman E. Nemeth
    Content: 75% Copper 25% Nickel

    Types 4 - Westward Journey (2004-2005)
    Keel Boat Reverse Designers: Al Maletsky

    Types 5 - Westward Journey (2004-2005)
    American Bison Reverse Designers: Jamie Franki

    Types 6 - Westward Journey (2004-2005)
    Ocean View Reverse Designers: Joe Fitzgerald, from a photo by A. E. Cier

    Type 7 - Jefferson Poritrate/Monticello (2006 - Present)
    Obverse Designer: Jamie Franki
    Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag
    Jefferson Nickel Mintage

    Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
    Type 1
    1938 19,496,000 1938-D 5,376,000 1938-S 4,105,000
    1939 120,615,000 1939-D 3,514,000 1939-S 6,630,000
    1940 176,485,000 1940-D 43,540,000 1940-S 39,690,000
    1941 203,265,000 1941-D 53,432,000 1941-S 43,445,000
    1942 49,789,000 1942-D 13,938,000
    Type 2, WWII Silver
    1942-P 57,873,000 1942-S 32,900,000
    1943-P 271,165,000 1943-D 15,294,000 1943-S 104,060,000
    1944-P 119,150,000 1944-D 32,309,000 1944-S 21,640,000
    1945-P 119,408,100 1945-D 37,158,000 1945-S 58,939,000
    Type 1 Resumed
    1946 161,116,000 1946-D 45,292,200 1946-S 13,560,000
    1947 95,000,000 1947-D 37,822,000 1947-S 24,720,000
    1948 89,348,000 1948-D 44,734,000 1948-S 11,300,000
    1949 60,652,000 1949-D 36,498,000 1949-S 9,716,000
    1950 9,796,000 1950-D 2,630,030
    1951 28,552,000 1951-D 20,460,000 1951-S 7,776,000
    1952 63,988,000 1952-D 30,638,000 1952-S 20,572,000
    1953 46,644,000 1953-D 59,878,600 1953-S 19,210,900
    1954 47,684,050 1954-D 117,183,060 1954-S 29,384,000
    1955 7,888,000 1955-D 74,464,100
    1956 35,216,000 1956-D 67,222,940
    1957 38,408,000 1957-D 136,828,900
    1958 17,088,000 1958-D 168,249,120
    1959 27,248,000 1959-D 160,738,240
    1960 55,416,000 1960-D 192,582,180
    1961 73,640,100 1961-D 229,342,760
    1962 97,384,000 1962-D 280,195,720
    1963 178,851,645 1963-D 276,829,460
    1964 1,028,622,762 1964-D 1,787,297,160
    1965 136,131,380
    1966 156,208,283
    1967 107,325,800
    1968-D 91,227,880 1968-S 100,396,004
    1969-D 202,807,500 1969-S 120,075,000
    1970-D 515,485,380 1970-S 238,832,004
    1971 106,884,000 1971-D 316,144,800
    1972 202,036,000 1972-D 351,694,600
    1973 384,396,000 1973-D 361,405,000
    1974 601,752,000 1974-D 277,373,000
    1975 181,772,000 1975-D 401,875,300
    1976 367,124,000 1976-D 563,964,147
    1977 585,376,000 1977-D 297,313,422
    1978 391,308,000 1978-D 313,092,780
    1979 463,188,000 1979-D 325,867,672
    1980-P 593,004,000 1980-D 502,323,448
    1981-P 657,504,000 1981-D 364,801,843
    1982-P 292,355,000 1982-D 373,726,544 1982-S 3,857,479
    1983-P 561,615,000 1983-D 536,726,276
    1984-P 746,769,000 1984-D 517,675,146
    1985-P 647,114,962 1985-D 459,747,446
    1986-P 536,883,483 1986-D 361,819,140
    1987-P 371,499,481 1987-D 410,590,604
    1988-P 771,360,000 1988-D 663,771,652
    1989-P 898,812,000 1989-D 570,842,474
    1990-P 661,636,000 1990-D 663,938,503
    1991-P 614,104,000 1991-D 436,496,678
    1992-P 399,552,000 1992-D 450,565,113
    1993-P 412,076,000 1993-D 406,084,135
    1994-P722,160,000 1994-P Matte167,703
    1994-D 715,762,110
    1995-P 774,156,000 1995-D 888,112,000
    1996-P 829,332,000 1996-D 817,736,000
    1997-P 470,972,000 1997-P Matte25,000
    1997-D 466,640,000
    1998-P 688,292,000 1998-D 635,380,000
    1999-P 1,212,000,000 1999-D 1,066,720,000
    2000-P 31,200,000 2000-D 168,480,000
    2001-P 675,704,000 2001-D 627,680,000
    2002-P 529,280,000 2002-D 691,200,000
    2003-P 441,740,000 2003-D 383,040,000
    Begin Westward Journey
    Type 3 Peace Medal
    2004-P 361,440,000 2004-D 372,000,000
    Type 4 Keelboat
    2004-P 366,720,000 2004-D 344,880,000
    Type 5 American Bison
    2005-P 448,320,000 2005-D 487,680,000
    Type 6 Ocean in View
    2005-P 394,080,000 2005-D 411,120,000
    Jefferson Poritrate Type 7
    2006-P 693,120,000 2006-D 809,280,000
    2007-P 571,680,000 2007-D 626,160,000
    2008-P 279,840,000 2008-D 345,600,000
    2009-P 39,840,000 2009-D 46,800,000
    2010-P 260,640,000 2010-D 229,920,000
    2011-P 450,000,000 2011-D 540,240,000
    2012-P 464,640,000 2012-D 558,960,000
    2013-P 607,440,000 2013-D 615,600,000
    2014-P 635,520,000 2014-D 570,720,000
    2015-P 752,880,000 2015-D 846,720,000
    2016-P 260,160,000 2016-D 248,640,000

    Back to Top