How Much is a 1946 Nickel Worth? (Price Chart)

The Jefferson nickels replaced Buffalo nickels in 1938, and the US Mint kept producing them until these days with a few changes in design. Most have no collectible value, but collectors sometimes look for specific types in the mint state that can be worth.

Three mints produced these coins in 1946, and most spent years in circulation, affecting their quality and price. Even though the 1946 Nickel value is low and looks pretty ordinary, you can expect a few surprises minted this year. For instance, four pieces contain silver, and they can be pricey. Let’s see.

1946 Jefferson Nickel History

The Jefferson nickel production started in 1938 when this new design replaced the Buffalo nickel minted since 1913. Sculptor Felix Schlag won a design competition and got $1,000 for his work.

However, many officials at the US Mint disliked the coin’s lettering style and Monticello display. They required a head-on view of the Jefferson home and one of the most iconic American buildings.

1946 Jefferson nickel

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia 1946 161,116,000
San Francisco 1946 S 13,560,000
Denver 1946 D 45,292,200
Total / 219,968,000

The significance of this nickel is reflected in the President’s image, which was the third struck on the coin after the Lincoln penny and Washington quarter. This nickel contained copper and nickel, except during the war when the US Mint added silver in its composition.

Three mints struck these coins, including Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. So, you can find pieces with no mint mark and those with S or D letters ​to the right of Monticello.

1946 Jefferson nickel

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

The Jefferson nickel has the President image facing left on the obverse with the date and inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST placed on the sides.

The Latin saying E PLURIBUS UNUM is struck above Jefferson’s house on the coin reverse. The denomination and inscriptions MONTICELLO and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are written on the bottom.

 

1946 Jefferson Nickel Types

Once you decide to buy a 1946 Jefferson nickel, it is necessary to determine its type and condition. This year, the US Mint produced four different varieties, including D/D errors, that are worth differently.

1946 Jefferson nickel

1946 Jefferson nickel
Image

Precisely 161,116,000 Jefferson nickels without the mint mark came from the Philadelphia mint that first post-war year. Most have no collectible value, and you can purchase any of them for less than a dollar.

1946 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1946 1946 S 1946 D
Very fine $0.28 $0.45 $0.4
Extra fine $0.3 $0.5 $0.45
AU $0.4 $0.6 $0.5
MS 60 $0.8 $1.1 $1.1
MS 65 $17 $13 $13

*by USA Coin book

As always, only those in the mint state will cost you more, particularly Full Steps pieces. A specimen from this category was fully struck and had at least five complete steps at the Monticello base. You can expect such a coin to be costly.

However, tiny details will affect the price significantly. For instance, an MS 64 piece will cost you less than $50, while the rare coin in MS 67 grade can reach an impressive $7,500.

1946 proof Jefferson nickel

The Philadelphia mint produced proofs from 1938 to 1942, so none was struck in 1946.

1946 S Jefferson nickel

1946 S Jefferson nickel

The San Francisco mint produced 13,560,000 coins, the lowest mintage that particular year. However, that doesn’t mean a significantly higher 1946 S nickel value.

1946 Jefferson nickel value*

Year Extra fine quality The mint state
1946 $0.3 $0.35
1946 S $0.45 $0.5
1946 D $0.4 $0.45

*by JM Bullion

This piece will be cheap in low grades, and only coins in the mint mark cost more than a dollar. Rare Full Steps nickels are worth about $7,500, and the most expensive specimen graded as MS 67 Full Steps reached an impressive $7,800 at auction.

1946 D Jefferson nickel

1946 D Jefferson nickel

The 1946 Jefferson nickel minted in Denver has the D mint mark to the right of Monticello on the coin reverse. This mint struck 45,292,200 pieces, and their value varies from less than a dollar to over a few hundred dollars. As always, their price will mostly depend on the condition.

Only a Full Steps specimen in an MS 67 grade will cost you $520. The most valuable 1946 MS 67 Full Steps Jefferson nickel was sold for $8,625 at auction.

 

1946 Nickel Rarities and Key Dates

1946 Nickel Rarities and Key Dates

The most common 1946 Jefferson nickel errors include:

1946 Doubled Die Jefferson nickel

Even though you can’t find this error coin worth a high sum of money, some minor doubled dies pieces are available on the market. Typically, you can see doubling in Thomas Jefferson’s eye on the coin obverse.

1946 Full Steps Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1946 1946 S 1946 D 1946 D/D
MS 64 $47.2 $20.2 $10,8 $845
MS 65 $88 $40.5 $20.2 $1,020
MS 66 $585 $162 $47.2 $2,000
MS 67 $7,500 $7,500 $520 $3,120

*by Greysheet

The most common error visible on the reverse includes MONTICELLO and FIVE CENTS inscription doubling. Such coins can bring you $20 to $50, but a specimen in MS 67 condition with significant doubling will probably be worth at least $2,500.

1946 Off-center Jefferson nickel error

It is a common 1946 Jefferson nickel error, and most pieces are practically worthless technical errors with 1% or 2% off-center.

On the other hand, 10% to 20% or more off-center are more valuable and are typically worth $25 to $50. The most pricey is a specimen with the complete date and mint mark with 50% off-center, and you can get $100 for it.

1946 Jefferson nickel with Die Cuds or Die Cracks

Pieces with a Die Crack are in high demand, and their price is $5 to $10. A die cud anomaly is even more desirable and worth over $100.

Silver 1946 Jefferson nickel

After temporary silver nickel mintage during the war, the US Mint returned to copper and nickel production in 1946. However, collectors discovered four silver nickel transitional errors struck on a silver planchet accidentally.

As you can expect, these coins are worth thousands of dollars. It is estimated that there are a few more pieces somewhere, but you can’t distinguish them from regular nickels because they weigh the same. Therefore, the best option is to ask an expert to determine the difference.

 

1946 Nickel Grading

1946 Nickel Grading

Coins minted in the first postwar year are over 75 years old now, so you should be careful when finding one on the market. It is crucial to check the condition to determine its value appropriately. Let’s see.

Uncirculated – Collectors consider 1946 nickels in the mint state a top choice, so they have the highest value on the coin market.

These pieces never spent time in circulation, so they stayed clean and with original luster and texture. Sometimes, you can spot so-called bag marks on the surface, but nothing else disturbs their beauty and appearance. 

1946 Jefferson nickel value*

Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1946 $0.05 $0.05 $0.05 $1.52
1946 S $0.05 $0.05 $0.05 $1.22
1946 D $0.05 $0.05 $0.05 $1.50

*by CoinStudy

Extra fine – After a few weeks or months in circulation, such coins show light wear and soft silver-tan toning, and their appearance is a bit dull. The highest design points are slightly reduced but not too much flattened.

You can see the well-defined President’s eye, eyebrow, and cheek. Since imperfections on the surface are barely visible, most collectors appreciate these pieces.

Fine – These coins circulated for a long, and you can notice numerous signs of wear and scratches on the surface.

However, their main design details, including the President’s profile and inscriptions, are mostly intact. The problem is in the occurrence of significant flat areas, particularly in hair and his shoulder, and flattened cheek.

1946 Jefferson nickel value*

Quality 1946 1946 S 1946 D 1946 D/D
Extra fine $0.5 to $0.6 $0.5 / /
AU $0.7 to $1.1 $0.7 to $1 $0.5 to $1.1 /
MS 60 $1.6 $1 $1.8 /
MS 61 $1.8 $1.1 $2 /
MS 62 $2 $1.1 $2.1 /
MS 63 $2.6 $1.5 $2.4 /
MS 64 $5.4 $5,4 $4 $650
MS 65 $10.8 $10.8 $10.8 $910
MS 66 $27 $33.7 $20.7 $1,750
MS 67 $403 $370 $169 $2,500

*by Greysheet

Good – Most 1946 Jefferson nickels spent years on the open market, so they lost their beauty and original look. You can recognize noticeable scratches and dents, and some pieces are even more or less bent. Collectors pick out coins of this grade only when they have a limited budget or can’t find better specimens for their collections.

 

Summary

The US Mint struck 219,968,000 Jefferson nickels in 1946, and they usually have no collectible value. You can collect these inexpensive coins only if you like the series, but there is no need to look for specimens in any condition less than the mint state. Remember that there are four variations minted this year, so you should find all of them to complete the date.

4 thoughts on “How Much is a 1946 Nickel Worth? (Price Chart)”

  1. Thank you for the post. Does the Silver 1946 Nickel have a color that differs from the
    updated Planchet. That is, will I be able to see copper coloring.

    Reply
  2. Hi there, I just found one of those coins today . The 1946 5 cent piece . I wonder if it is worth anything and I’m not sure who to ask.

    Reply

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