The first Jefferson nickel was minted in 1938 instead of the Buffalo nickel. Designer Felix Schlag created the third American circulating coin without symbols like an American Indian or Lady Liberty. Nowadays, it is a modest and inexpensive coin.

However, many collectors and admirers of Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the US and one of the American Founding Fathers, add this coin to their collections. The crucial thing is to look for an attractive piece in high-grade overall condition and get the best 1940 nickel value.


1940 Jefferson Nickel History

1940 Jefferson Nickel History

The US Mint was producing Jefferson nickel from 1938 to 1964, but not all have the same composition. The 1940 nickel version from the early series was made of 75% copper and added nickel.

1940 Jefferson nickel

Location Year Minted Value
Philadelphia 1940 176,499,158 $0.10
Philadelphia 1940 proof 14,158 $75
San Francisco 1940 S 39,690,000 $0.25 to $1
Denver 1940 D 43,540,000 $0.10 to $0.25
Total / 259,743,316 /

You can see President Jefferson on the coin obverse. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the US. He was also the third President whose image appeared on the American coin after Washington and Lincoln.

His mountaintop home in Virginia, Monticello, is on the nickel reverse. The US Mint officials and the Treasury Department didn’t appreciate an original house image presented from an angle and required a direct view of the famous building.

1940 Jefferson nickel

Face value 5 cents ($0.05)
Compound 75% copper and 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

Felix Schlag‘s design wasn’t appreciated enough, and this coin has never been popular among collectors. However, collecting the Jefferson nickel series can be pretty challenging and rewarding.

You can recognize three collectible Jefferson series periods, including:

In 2020, the 1940 Jefferson nickel passed the 80-year mark and became a well-priced piece as an established collectible item. Therefore, you will see that many collectors begin to place a premium on less available uncirculated and AU coins.


1940 Jefferson Nickel Value

1940 Jefferson nickel with no a mint mark

1940 Jefferson nickel with no a mint mark

The Philadelphia mint produced 176,485,000 Jefferson nickels in 1940, significantly more than the previous year. Interestingly, you can’t find any significant variations even though this series is the third-most-common in the 1940s and is considered high minted.

1940 Jefferson nickel*

Quality 1940 1940 S 1940 D
Good $0.1 $0.1 $0.1
Very good $0.15 $0.15 $0.15
Fine $0.2 $0.2 $0.2
Very fine $0.3 $0.4 $0.4
Extra fine $0.4 $0.5 $0.5
AU $0.8 $1.1 $1.1
Mint state 60 $1.1 $2.5 $2.2
Mint state 65 $11 $16 $16
Proof 63 $137 / /

*by USA Coin book

Most 1940 Jefferson nickels are not worth much money. Therefore, you should look only for the most valuable and best possible piece you can find on the coin market.


1940 proof Jefferson nickel

1940 proof Jefferson nickel

With only 14,158 minted proof Jefferson nickels in 1940, you can consider reminded coins collectible, particularly those in the mint state. The Philadelphia mint prepared special dies on polished planchets to strike them.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1940 proof
PR 60 $24.3
PR 61 $27
PR 62 $33.75
PR 63 $47.25
PR 64 $94
PR 65 $108
PR 66 $143
PR 67 $390
PR 68 $5,000
PR 68 CAC $5,620

*by Greysheet

Typically, the 1940 proof Jefferson nickel is worth about $75, but you can find more expensive pieces with an estimated value of $250. One PCGS graded PR 68 1940 nickel was sold for $18,400, reaching the record price.


1940 S Jefferson nickel

1940 S Jefferson nickel

The remaining Jefferson nickels of 36,690,000 minted in San Francisco in 1940 are hard to find these days. Therefore, even low-graded coins will be worth $0.25 to $1.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Coin Extra fine quality Uncirculated quality
1940 nickel $0.4 $0.75
1940 S nickel $0.5 $1
1940 D nickel $0.5 $1

*by JM Bullion

On the other hand, you should pay about $5 for a piece in the mint state. The most paid 1940 S nickel was an MS 67+ specimen with Full Steps worth $5,170.


1940 D Jefferson nickel

1940 D Jefferson nickel

The Denver mint struck 43,540,000 Jefferson nickels in 1940. You can get approximately 10 to 25 cents for a circulated piece, while a specimen in the mint state is worth at least $3.50. The auction record of $21,738 went to a 1940 D MS 68 Jefferson nickel with Full Steps.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Coin Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1940 dime $0.05 $0.05 $0.1 $2.2
1940 S dime $0.05 $0.05 $0.1 $4.3
1940 D dime $0.05 $0.05 $0.1 $2.3

*by CoinStudy


1940 Jefferson Nickel Rarities

1940 Jefferson Nickel Rarities

Regular 1940 nickels are not pricey, but a few errors can be worth a significant amount of money. The most notable pieces include:

1940 Jefferson doubled die nickel

This scarce coin is the most popular and costly Jefferson nickel variety you can find. No major doubled die coin is currently known, but no one can confirm that it will stay that way. However, you can purchase a minor, relatively obscure doubled die piece for $25 to $100.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Coin Quality
AU MS 64 FS MS 65 FS MS 66 FS
1940 nickel $0.5 $16 $20 $84
1940 S nickel $1 $23 $31 $138
1940 D nickel $0.5 $14 $40 $115

*by COIN HelpU


1940 Jefferson nickel with die cuds

Die cuds are the most valuable crack types you can find on nickels, and they are highly appreciated among collectors. They appear as a result of coins aging.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Coin Coin value range
1940 nickel $0.10 to $3.25
1940 S nickel $0.10 to $6
1940 D nickel $0.10 to $4

*by Coinflation

When cuds occur near the rim, a chunk of blank metal will raise and look like connected to the coin edge. Depending on the cud location and size, such a nickel will cost $50 to $100.


1940 Jefferson nickel with the re-punched mint mark

Since the US Mint coiners punched the 1940 Jefferson nickel mint marks onto individual dies separately, they sometimes appeared in slightly different positions. Occasionally, you could even notice the mint mark hit several times.

Such coins are worth $3 to $5, but a piece with significant mint mark varieties will be more pricey. On the other hand, you can count on $50 to $100 for desirable error coins with doubled or even tripled mint marks.


1940 Jefferson nickel with off-center strike

You can recognize such a coin for imperfectly centered or misaligned dies. As a result, it will be off-center struck, and its value directly depends on complete date visibility and how far off-center the strike is.

The 5% to 10% off-center 1940 Jefferson nickel costs $10 to $20, while the 50% off-center piece with full date and the mint mark is worth at least $100. Unfortunately, coins with minor off-center strikes are common and practically worthless errors.


1940 Jefferson Nickel Grading

Uncirculated – This collectible nickel with mint luster has no wear on the surface. You can notice the raised lower Jefferson’s cheek line and deep jawline contour.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1940 1940 S 1940 D
Good $0.06 $0.08 $0.08
Very good $0.08 $0.1 $0.1
Fine $0.09 $0.2 $0.2
Very fine $0.15 $0.4 $0.35
Extra fine $0.25 $0.65 $0.5
AU $0.6 $1.8 $1.3
MS60 $1.3 $3.5 $2.65
MS 65 $2.75 $5 $3
Proof 65 $125 / /

*by Hobbizine

Extra fine – As a result of spending some time in circulation, you can see light signs of wear on the coin surface. Most changes are visible to high points, mainly on the President’s cheek. Plus, this nickel typically has a dull metal tone.

Fine – If you have such a coin, you can notice numerous signs of wear on many of Jefferson’s portrait areas. Large smooth spots spread over his hair, while the jawline is distinctively flat and extends upward. Luckily, most details in the hair are visible, making this piece still desirable.

1940 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1940 1940 S 1940 D
Extra fine / $0.75 /
AU / $1.1 to $1.9 /
MS 60 / $5.4 /
MS 61 / $6 /
MS 62 / $6.75 /
MS 63 / $8 /
MS 64 $13.5 $10.8 $10.8
MS 65 $30 $14.85 $20.25
MS 66 $47.25 $20.25 $33.75
MS 67 $306 $260 $214
MS 68 $3,120 / $11,900

*by Greysheet

Good – Good condition is the lowest possible grade for collectible coins. They typically have a distinct worn look, and you can notice that flatness that covers most of Jefferson’s face. The face contours and hair details are not visible on the nickel surface, while high and low areas are almost entirely merged.



Since the original design remained unchanged for decades, finding coins from this series in a decent condition is not hard. However, the high-grade 1940 Jefferson nickel is 80 years old, making it a valuable and desired piece among collectors.

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