How Much is a 1939 Jefferson Nickel Worth? (Price Chart)

The US Mint started producing Jefferson nickels in 1938 instead of popular Buffalo nickels. This Felix Schlag’s design has been struck until these days, despite initial problems and alterations to the coin reverse.

It is the longest-running of four minted US nickels, including Shield, Liberty Head, and Buffalo series. Even though the 1939 Jefferson nickel value is not exceptionally high, specimens in high grades and some rare pieces are often pricey.

 

1939 Jefferson Nickel History

1939 Jefferson Nickel History
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The Jefferson nickel production has lasted from 1938 to the present. A Felix Schlag‘s design included Former US President Thomas Jefferson’s profile on the obverse and his famous home Monticello on the reverse.

1939 Jefferson nickel

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia 1939 120,615,000
Philadelphia 1939 proof 12,535
San Francisco 1939 S 6,630,000
Denver 1939 D 3,514,000
Total / 130,771,535

You can find four 1939 Jefferson nickel categories, including:

  • Circulated coins
  • Nickels in the mint state
  • Numerical pieces in the mint state estimated by PCGS or NGC
  • Numerical coins in the mint state with Full Steps designations

1939 Jefferson nickel

Face value $0.05 (5 cents)
Compound 75% Copper – 25% Nickel
Coin weight 0.17637 ounces (5 g)
Coin diameter 0.83465 inches (21.2 mm)
Coin thickness 0.07677 inches (1.95 mm)
Shape Round
Edge Plain

 

1939 Jefferson Nickel Types

1939 Jefferson nickel no mint mark

1939 Jefferson nickel no mint mark
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An impressive 120,615,000 Jefferson nickels without the mint mark were struck in 1939. Numerous pieces have survived until these days, but most are in circulated condition.

1939 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1939 1939 D Mont 1939 S 1939 D
Good $0.11 $34 $0.33 $3.30
Very good $0.17 $39 $0.67 $5.70
Fine $0.22 $63 $0.96 $7.88
Very fine $0.28 $91 $1.71 $11
Extra fine $0.56 $121 $5.70 $14
AU $1.13 $169 $11 $34
MS 60 $2.28 $227 $20 $67
MS 65 $13 $1,134 $83 $135
Proof 65 $140 / / /

*by USA Coin book

Such worn-out coins are worth only $0.7 to $1, while pieces in uncirculated condition are worth at least $2. Although you should set aside only $20 for most 1939 Full Steps Jefferson nickels, one specimen in MS 68 grade reached a price of $23,500 at auction.

1939 proof Jefferson nickel

1939 proof Jefferson nickel

Philadelphia minted 12,535 top-quality Jefferson nickel proofs in 1939. They were intentionally struck several times on specially prepared polished planchets, and you can still see the most delicate details on their surface.

1939 proof  Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1939 r. 1938 1939 r.1940 1939 r. 1940 CAM
PR 60 $22 $25 /
PR  61 $25 $32 /
PR  62 $34 $40 /
PR  63 $45 $60 /
PR  64 $75 $100 /
PR  65 $110 $150 /
PR  66 $140 $400 to $450 $700
PR  67 $325 to $375 $1,000 to 1,100 $2,000
PR  68 $3,500 to $5,000 $8,000 to $10,000 /

*by Greysheet

Although you should pay $90 for a regular proof, an auction record is $18,400 for a premier 1939 PR 68 Jefferson nickel.

1939 S Jefferson nickel

1939 S Jefferson nickel

The San Francisco mint produced 6,630,000 1939 S Jefferson nickels, making it the fifth-lowest mintage in the series. You can quickly recognize this coin thanks to a small letter S on the reverse, left of Monticello.

1939 Full Steps Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1939 r. 1938 1939 double Monticello 1939 r. 1940
MS 63 / / /
MS 64 $85 $1,200 $12
MS 65 $160 $1,800 $30
MS 66 $300 $3,300 to $5,000 $85
MS 67 $1,200 $7,800 $270
MS 68 / / $5,100

*by Greysheet

Interestingly, this coin is not considered scarce, but it is not easy finding one in the mint state either. Most circulated for years and now show heavy signs of wear. A piece in the low grade is inexpensive and is typically worth $2 to $5.

An uncirculated specimen costs about $15, but pieces with Full Steps often reach a price of $100. One 1939 MS 66 Full Steps Jefferson nickel holds an auction record of $8,050.

1939 D Jefferson nickel value

1939 D Jefferson nickel value

With only 3,514,000 minted pieces, the 1939 D Jefferson nickel is the second-lowest mintage in the series. Most collectors consider these rare coins a semi-key date that is pretty difficult to find.

1939 Full Steps Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1939 S r. 1938 1939 S r. 1940 1939 D r. 1938 1939 D r. 1940
MS 63 / $60 / /
MS 64 $85 $80 $150 $130
MS 65 $165 $130 $320 $200
MS 66 $400 $425 $480 $475
MS 67 $900 $5,000 $760 $1,600
MS 68 / / / $22,000

*by Greysheet

It is estimated that a third of the entire mintage still exists, and most are in a circulated condition and are worth $8 to $15. On the other hand, you can find specimens in the mint state for approximately $50 to $100.

The most valuable are 1939 D Full Steps Jefferson nickels with an average price of $200+. The auction record of $26,400 reached one almost perfect 1939 D MS 68 Full Steps Jefferson nickel.

 

1939 Jefferson Nickel Errors

1939 Jefferson Nickel Errors

Thanks to high mintage, even rare and error Jefferson nickels are not too expensive. The most popular errors include:

Re-punched 1939 Jefferson nickel

This error occurs after double hand-punching the die with the date. You can find a few of these varieties in standard and Full Step Jefferson nickels struck in 1938. Such coins are worth a few hundred dollars, while rare 1939 D r. 1940 MS 68 Full Steps Jefferson nickel can reach an impressive $22,000.

1939 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1939 r.1938 1939 double Monticello 1939 r.1940
Extra fine $0.50 $125 to $162 $0.50
AU $0.75 to $1 $150 to $263.25 $0.75 to $1.25
MS 60 $2 $250 to $290 $1.75
MS 61 $3 $300 to $345 $2
MS 62 $5 $425 to $488.75 $3
MS 63 $7 $650 to $747.50 $5.50
MS 64 $9 $900 to $1,035 $6
MS 65 $20 $1,250 to $1,438 $18
MS 66 $40 $1,600 to 1,920 $35
MS 67 $140 $2,400 to $3,000 $115

*by Greysheet

1939 Full Steps Jefferson nickel

You can find two versions of this coin, five Full Steps with four complete lines and six Full Steps with five complete lines.

1939 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1939 S r. 1938 1939 S r. 1940 1939 D r. 1938 1939 D r. 1940
Extra fine $0.40 to $0.50 $2 to $3 $4 to $5 $4 to $5
AU $2 to $8 $4 to $9 $12 to $22 $12 to $22
MS 60 $20 $22 $35 $35
MS 61 $22 $24 $36 $38
MS 62 $24 $26 $38 $40
MS 63 $26 $30 $40 $48
MS 64 $30 $35 $50 $50
MS 65 $40 $60 $55 $60
MS 66 $75 $165 $75 $80
MS 67 $220 $750 $165 $290

*by Greysheet

1939 Doubled date and Monticello dome Jefferson nickel

This rare doubled die Jefferson nickel variety sometimes appears in pieces produced in the Philadelphia mint. Although the exact number of these rarities is unknown, experts from PCGS estimate that about 1,500 pieces still exist.

Any 1939 doubled die nickel is worth up to $50 in well-worn circulated condition, but you should set aside about $150 for a piece in a higher grade. Specimens in the mint state are the most expensive, with an approximate price of $300.

You can expect that 1939 doubled die Full Steps Jefferson nickel with MS 63 ranking is worth over $600, while the one in MS 67 grade can reach up to $19,000. An auction record of $23,500 holds a coin in an MS 67 grade.

 

1939 Jefferson Nickel Grading

1939 Jefferson Nickel Grading

Uncirculated – Such a nickel is recognizable thanks to the intact luster and delicate texture since it wasn’t spent time out of the coin bag. You can see Jefferson’s profile with sharp and preserved highest points. In other words, it appears brand new.

 1939 Jefferson nickel value*

Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1939 $0.05 $0.05 $0.25 $2.31
1939 S $0.32 $0.58 $1.83 $21
1939 D $1.67 $3.58 $4.79 $31

*by CoinStudy

Extra fine – You can’t find any flaw on this nickel surface without a detailed inspection with a magnifying glass. However, slight imperfections on the surface have ruined its initial luster, while smooth areas have first occurred on the highest points. It is possible to notice a flat hair area and the coin’s slightly different color.

Fine – It is possible to notice visible wear on this nickel’s surface, particularly in high areas. Although Jefferson’s face contours are preserved, a central part of his hair is flattened. You can also see a partial absence of the line separating the forehead and hair.

1939 Jefferson nickel value*

Year Extra fine quality Uncirculated
1939 $0.50 $1
1939 S $0.50 $1
1939 D $13 $30

*by JM Bullion

Good – Unfortunately, most Jefferson nickels you can find on the current coin market are in this grade because of long-term circulation. Most high areas are flattened, and you can see heavy signs of wear on the entire surface.

Jefferson’s hair and an area above the eye are smooth with rare details on his back head part. In most cases, the date and lettering are legible.

 

Summary 

Since most 1939 Jefferson nickels are in poor condition due to long-term use, their price on the current coin market is often low. However, rare pieces in top condition can be pretty expensive. Plus, one of the most recognizable errors was minted this year, and such coins can be worth a fortune.

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