How Much is a 1942 Silver Nickel Worth? (Price Chart)

The US Mint began the Jefferson nickel production in three mints, Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco, in October 1938. That year, this coin replaced Buffalo nickel, well-known for overly complicated print design. The production has continued until today, but the composition and appearance have changed over the years.

Nickel shortages occurred in America during World War II, so Congress approved a change in the coinage composition. That is why two nickel types appeared in 1942, pre-war composition and wartime composition. Therefore, the 1942 nickel value depends on the coin type, condition, and mint mark.

1942 Jefferson Nickel History

When the US joined World War II in 1942, nickel became scarce, so the US Mint reduced its use by changing the coinage composition.

1942 Jefferson nickel pre-war composition

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia 1942 49,789,000
Philadelphia 1942 proof 29,600
Denver 1942 D 13,938,000
Total / 63,756,600

The Philadelphia mint put its mark on this coin for the first time in history to distinguish between:

  • Nickel with standard composition
  • War nickel, with a changed composition

1942 Jefferson nickel wartime composition

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia 1942 P 57,873,000
Philadelphia 1942 proof 27,600
San Francisco 1942 S 32,900,000
Total / 90,800,600

The Jefferson nickel was designed by sculptor Felix Schlag. You can see a Thomas Jefferson portrait facing left on the coin obverse. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is on the left rim, while the legend LIBERTY is placed behind Jefferson’s image.

1942 Jefferson nickel

Features Pre-war composition Wartime composition
Face value 5 cents ($0.05) 5 cents ($0.05)
Compound 75% copper, 25% nickel 56% copper, 35% silver, 9% manganese
Coin weight 0.1764 ounces (5 g) 0.1764 ounces (5 g)
Coin silver weight / 0.0562 troy ounces (1.59 g)
Coin diameter 0.8346 inches (21.2 mm) 0.8346 inches (21.2 mm)
Coin thickness 0.0768 inches (1.95 mm) 0.0768 inches (1.95 mm)
Shape Round Round
Edge Plain Plain

Thomas Jefferson’s home is on the coin reverse with the MONTICELLO sign and denomination bellow. On the coin’s upper rim, you can see the Latin saying E PLURIBUS UNUM, while the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is on the bottom.

 

1942 Jefferson Nickel Types

In 1942, the US Mint minted 154,557,200 Jefferson nickels in two types. The difference is in the coin’s composition that changed due to World War II.

Pre-war composition type

1942 Jefferson nickel no mint mark

1942 Jefferson nickel no mint mark
Image

The Philadelphia mint made 49,789,000 Jefferson nickels with standard composition in 1942. Like most coins from this mint, you can quickly recognize these pieces because they don’t have the mint mark.

1942 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1942 1942 D 1942 D over horizontal D 1942 P 1942 S
Good $0.1 $0.2 $39 $1.7 $1.7
Very good $0.17 $0.3 $51 $2 $2
Fine $0.2 $0.6 $63 $2.25 $2.25
Very fine $0.3 $1.1 $83 $2.8 $2.8
Extra fine $0.5 $2.3 $227 $3.35 $3.35
AU $1.4 $5.7 $558 $4.1 $4.1
MS 60 $4.5 $31 $1,713 $8.4 $8.4
MS 65 $17 $67 $11,088 $23 $28
PR 65 $107 / / $228 /

*by USA Coin book

This nickel value in the coin market is often not much higher than its face value when it is in low grade. You should prepare $0.06 to buy one, while a coin with an MS 67 rating will cost you around $160.

1942 proof Jefferson nickel

1942 proof Jefferson nickel

In early 1942, the Philadelphia mint minted 29,600 proof nickels, making it very available on the coin market today. You should set aside $17.55 for a piece with a PR 60 rating, while the one in PR 68 grade can reach up to $2,250.

1942 proof Jefferson nickel value*

  Type 1 Type 2
Quality 1942 1942 CAM 1942 P 1942 P CAM 1942 P DCAM
PR 60 $17.55 / $68 / /
PR 61 $20.25 / $74 / /
PR 62 $32.40 / $88 / /
PR 63 $39.15 / $115 / /
PR 64 $59 / $130 / /
PR 65 $68 $2,750 $136 / /
PR 66 $94 $3,750 $162 $2,500 $6,500
PR 67 $156 / $234 $4,380 /
PR 68 $2,250 / $3,000 / /

*Greysheet

1942 D Jefferson nickel

1942 D Jefferson nickel

The Denver mint produced 13,938,000 nickels in 1942. By default, these coins are marked with the letter D, so you can effortlessly distinguish them from other nickels minted that year.

1942 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1942 1942 D 1942 P 1942 S
Good $0.06 $0.5 $0.5 $1
Very good $0.09 $0.9 $0.6 $1.
Fine $0.15 $1.25 $0.8 $1.1
Very fine $0.22 $2.75 $0.95 $1.65
Extra fine $0.45 $4.5 $1.4 $2
Uncirculated $0.8 $16 $3 $2.75
MS 60 $2.65 $30 $7.5 $4.6
MS 65 $5.5 $55 $20 $18
PR 65 $110 / $190 /

*by Hobbizine

As always, their availability on the coin market affects their price. A specimen in good condition can be yours for only $0.05, but you will need to spend a bit more money for a coin in MS 67 grade, around $180.

 

Wartime composition type

1942 P Jefferson nickel

1942 P Jefferson nickel

In the second half of 1942, the Philadelphia mint minted 57,873,000 nickels with a changed composition. These coins are made of silver, copper, and manganese and are better known as silver nickels.

1942 Jefferson nickel

Type 1 value* Type 2 value*
Quality 1942 1942 D 1942 D oh D 1942 1942 S
Very fine / / / $1.9 $1.9
Extra fine $1.5 to $1.9 $6.75 $176 to $208 $1.9 $1.9
AU $2.6 to $3.4 $8.1 to $12.1 $325 to $520 $3.4 to $5.4 $2.6 to $5.4
MS 60 $4 $29.7 $1,500 $9.4 $8.1
MS 61 $5.4 $32.4 $1,750 $10.8 $9.4
MS 62 $6.7 $35.1 $2,250 $12.1 $10.8
MS 63 $10.8 $37.8 $3,250 $13.5 $12.1
MS 64 $12.1 $40.5 $3,750 $16.2 $16.2
MS 65 $13.5 $47.2 $4,620 $24.3 $24.3
MS 66 $32.4 $68 $7,190 $33.7 $33.7
MS 67 $162 $182 / $81 $68

*by Greysheet

This coin’s value doesn’t significantly differ from the nickel with standard pre-war composition. You can get a piece in good condition for a face value of $0.05, while an MS 67 coin can cost you $80.

1942 proof Jefferson nickel

The Philadelphia mint struck 27,600 proof nickels in 1942 with a changed composition. Their value ranges from $68 to $6,500 on the coin market, depending on the condition.

1942 S Jefferson nickel

1942 S Jefferson nickel

All 32,900,000 Jefferson nickels minted in 1942 had the mint mark S, indicating that it originated in San Francisco. Their presence in the current market is significant.

As expected, that affects the value so that you can get this coin in good condition for as little as $1. Pieces in MS 67 grade are worth approximately $68.

 

1942 Jefferson Nickel Error

1942 Jefferson Nickel Error

One of the rarest nickels from 1942 is the coin with the error D over horizontal D. It occurred as a result of manual striking the mint mark on the working matrix.

Collectors estimate that there are between 500 and 1,000 of these coins worldwide. They are worth $39 to $11,090, depending on the condition.

1942 Jefferson Nickel Grading

1942 Jefferson Nickel Grading

When you want to determine the coin condition, you need to look at it carefully. Although collectors most often want coins with an uncirculated rating, even those in a slightly worse condition are collectible.

Only specialized companies can make an officially recognized assessment. However, you can also estimate the coin condition on your own by following specific guidelines.

Uncirculated – It is the coin that every collector wants. Since it wasn’t in circulation at any time, you can still see the original luster on the surface and the intact relief details. Always look for signs of wear on the collar line on Jefferson’s neck before making a final conclusion.

1942 Jefferson nickel value*

Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1942 $0.05 $0.05 $0.1 $5.33
1942 D $0.05 $0.05 $0.75 $19
1942 P $0.97 $0.97 $0.97 $7
1942 S $0.97 $0.97 $0.97 $6.17

*by CoinStudy

Extra fine – You can see the signs of wear on the Jefferson nickel with this rating only if you look it closely. Since the coin was in circulation for a short time, you can no longer see the original luster. Besides, there are lightly visible flat surfaces at pronounced relief points.

Fine – The coin with this rating was in circulation for a long time, and you can see signs of wear on its surface visible to the naked eye. These changes are most noticeable on Jefferson’s coat collar and his cheek. On the other hand, the inscriptions and the date are still legible.

1942 Jefferson nickel value*

Year Extra fine quality Uncirculated
1942 $0.45 $1.25
1942 D $2 $5
1942 P $2.5 $3.25
1942 S $2.5 $3.25

*by JM Bullion

Good – The Jefferson nickel with this rating was in circulation for a long time, and you can see numerous scratches on its surface. Damage to the relief is clearly noticeable, particularly on Jefferson’s coat collar, hair, and shoulder lines.

 

Summary

When you want to check how much your 1942 Jefferson nickel is worth, it is first necessary to determine its type. The US Mint produced Jefferson nickel pre-war composition and Jefferson nickel wartime composition. Their value is affected by the mint mark, composition, and condition.

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