Top 110 Most Valuable Nickels (Price Chart)

The US Mint produced numerous nickels, often dedicated to famous and esteemed figures in American history. The first pieces were minted in 1866, most were initially made out of copper and nickel, but their composition changed over time. Their value varies and typically depends on the coin mint mark, date, and condition.

The most pricey nickels are often the oldest ones and those from years with low mintage. However, it is not always the case, and some errors are costly because of scarcity and uniqueness. On the other hand, proofs minted in Philadelphia often have low mintage, making them valuable.

 

Nickel Series

Five-cents became the first official US coin in 1792, but the US Mint started producing the first nickels in 1866. The list of the US nickels includes:

Nickels are not popular among collectors like silver dollars and pennies, so their prices are not high as you would expect for such old coins. Paradoxically, five existing 1913 Liberty nickels are in a group of the top expensive pieces ever appeared on the coin market.

As you can see, it is possible to enjoy this beautiful series without spending an insane amount of money. Luckily, there are enough pricey pieces you can look for to make things interesting. Let’s see.

what year nickels are worth money?

Since the nickel series didn’t have many rare pieces, it was affordable for most collectors, including novices and those with limited budgets. Once you decide to add costly specimens to your collection, you should pay attention to rare coins and errors, including:

1. Shield nickels

Shield nickels
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While an average coin typically costs about $20, a few will be worth significantly more:

  • 1877 and 1878 proofs
  • 1879, 1880, and 1881 regular coins
  • 1879/8 and 1883/2
  • Re-punched 1866

2. Liberty Head nickels

Liberty Head nickels
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Most of these coins are inexpensive, except for:

  • 1885, 1886, and 1912 S regular coins
  • 1913 (only five are known to exist)

3. Indian Head (Buffalo) nickels

Indian Head (Buffalo) nickels
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Most of these nickels are moderately priced, and you should set aside more money only for a few pieces:

4. Jefferson nickels

Jefferson nickels
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This series didn’t have famous rarities but had a few key dates and errors:

 

The most valuable US nickels

Coin type Estimated value
USA Coin Book Coin Trackers
1913 Liberty head V nickel (Olsen specimen) $3,737,500 $4,408,650
1918 DDO 7-D Buffalo nickel $350,750 /
1926 S Buffalo nickel $322,000 /
1916 DDO Buffalo nickel $281,750 /
1913 D Type 2 Buffalo nickel $143,750 /
1917 S Buffalo nickel $138,000 /
1920 D Buffalo nickel $138,000 /
1867 proof with rays Shield nickel $132,250 /
1918 S Buffalo nickel $125,350 /
1927 S Buffalo nickel $125,350 /
1916 doubled die obverse Buffalo nickel $159,442 /
1918 D 8 over 7 Buffalo nickel $64,395 /
1936 D 3 and a half legs Buffalo nickel $22,441 /
1942 D D over horizontal D Jefferson nickel $11,088 /
1926 S Buffalo nickel $10,502 $7,600
1880 Shield nickel $8,510 $20,000
1914 4 over 3 Buffalo nickel $7,132 /
1935 doubled die reverse Buffalo nickel $7,125 /
1937 D 3 legs Buffalo nickel $5,842 /
1924 S Buffalo nickel $4,175 $14,000
1885 Liberty head V nickel $3,836 $2,330
1877 proof Shield nickel $3,163 /
1918 S Buffalo nickel $3,127 /
1883 3 over 2 Shield nickel $3,080 /
1886 Liberty head V nickel $2,962 $1,860
1921 S Buffalo nickel $2,397 /
1912 S Liberty head V nickel $2,277 $1,945
1927 S Buffalo nickel $2,277 $5,000
1925 S Buffalo nickel $2,058 $3,300
1919 S Buffalo nickel $1,981 /
1920 S Buffalo nickel $1,981 $2,500
1919 D Buffalo nickel $1,713 $2,350
1878 proof Shield nickel $1,712 /
1920 D Buffalo nickel $1,593 $3,500
1917 S Buffalo nickel $1,318 /
1913 S Buffalo nickel $1,226 /
1918 D Buffalo nickel $1,181 $3,300
1939 double Monticello Jefferson nickel $1,134 /
1915 S Buffalo nickel $1,134 /
1879 Shield nickel $1,133 /
1881 Shield nickel $1,133 $4,000
1923 S Buffalo nickel $1,028 /
1866 re-punched date Shield nickel $1,027 /
1945 P doubled die reverse Jefferson nickel $910 /
1924 D Buffalo nickel $874 $3,000
1925 D Buffalo nickel $847 /
1917 D Buffalo nickel $847 /
1943 P 3 over 2 Jefferson nickel $784 /
1943 P doubled eye Jefferson nickel $721 /
1871 Shield nickel $689 /
1873 closed 3 Shield nickel $657 /
1928 S Buffalo nickel $608 /
1914 D Buffalo nickel $607 /
1867 Type 1 (with rays) Shield nickel $558 /
1949 D D over S Jefferson nickel $558 /
1926 D Buffalo nickel $533 /
1914 S Buffalo nickel $507 /
1866 with rays Shield nickel $481 /
1894 Liberty head V nickel $481 /
1912 D Liberty nickel $454 /
1913 D Buffalo nickel $454 /
1875 Shield nickel $410 /
1915 D Buffalo nickel $399 /
1888 Liberty head V nickel $383 /
1918 Buffalo nickel $371 /
1874 Shield nickel $371 $1,800
1876 Shield nickel $371 /
1921 Buffalo nickel $357 /
1927 D Buffalo nickel $352 /
1870 Shield nickel $343 $3,000
1872 Shield nickel $343 $2,500
1873 open 3 Shield nickel $343 /
1884 Liberty head V nickel $343 /
1916 S Buffalo nickel $314 /
1896 Liberty head V nickel $301 /
1916 D Buffalo nickel $293 $1,780
1997 P special frosted matte Jefferson nickel $285 /
1867 Type 2 (without rays) Shield nickel $256 /
1868 Shield nickel $256 /
1869 Shield nickel $256 /
1882 Shield nickel $256 /
1883 with cents Liberty head V nickel $227 /
1883 Shield nickel $227 $3,900
1890 Liberty head V nickel $227 /
1891 Liberty head V nickel $227 /
1895 Liberty head V nickel $227 /
1887 Liberty head V nickel $215 /
1898 Liberty head V nickel $205 /
1913 S Buffalo nickel $204 /
1889 Liberty head V nickel $198 /
1892 Liberty head V nickel $177 /
1893 Liberty head V nickel $177 /
1897 Liberty head V nickel $177 /
1923 Buffalo nickel $177 /
1924 Buffalo nickel $177 /
1917 Buffalo nickel $169 /
1920 Buffalo nickel $162 /
1909 Liberty head V nickel $160 /
1899 Liberty head V nickel $148 /
1900 Liberty head V nickel $148 /
1929 D Buffalo nickel $148 /
1901 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1905 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1906 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1907 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1908 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1910 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1911 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1912 Liberty head V nickel $140 /
1919 Buffalo nickel $140 /

Coin Trackers consider a few other coins as pricey, like:

 

Nickels Auction Records

Nickels Auction Records

Even though the Nickel series is pretty inexpensive compared with others, some coins reached incredible sums of money at auctions.

For instance, the King of 20th Century Coins is the best-graded Liberty head nickel minted in 1913 of only five existing. The so-called Olsen specimen was surrounded by numerous controversies and attempts to counterfeit from the very beginning.

The PR 66 graded coin was sold during the Rarities night in 2018 for a record $4,560,000. That price makes this specimen the most valuable nickel ever sold.

Nickels auction records by SomethingBorrowed

Date Coin Grade Auction price Auction date
1913 Liberty head nickel PR 66 $4,560,000 2018
1918/7 D DDO Buffalo nickel MS 65 $350,750 2006
1926 S Buffalo nickel MS 66 $322,000 2008
1916 DDO Buffalo nickel MS 64 $281,750 2004
1913 D type 2 Buffalo nickel MS 68 $143,750 2008
1920 D Buffalo nickel MS 67 $138,000 2008
1917 S Buffalo nickel MS 67 $138,000 2008
1867 with rays Shield nickel MS 66 $132,250 2004
1918 S Buffalo nickel MS 66 $125,350 2008
1927 S Buffalo nickel MS 66 $125,350 2008
1880 Shield nickel MS 66 $117,500 2015
1919 S Buffalo nickel MS 66 $109,250 2006
1924 S Buffalo nickel MS 66+ $105,750 2016
1935 DDO Buffalo nickel MS 65 $104,650 2007
1937 D with three legs Buffalo nickel MS 67 $97,750 2009

You can also find information about the mysterious 1964 Jefferson mirror brockage on reverse. This two-headed coin is actually an error with a mirror coin image struck on each side. Appearing two head sides makes it unique, and one collector paid an impressive $1,150,000 for it on eBay.

 

Summary

After many years of minting gold and silver coins, the US Mint started to use a nickel alloy to produce five-cent nickels in 1866. The mintage of four existing types varied over time, directly affecting these coins’ current value.

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