Richard J. Bousquet is author of Photographs of Thomas
Jefferson Nickels: Die Varieties and Minting Errors. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
collectors who start with Jefferson “nickels” will break the mold.
“Nickels,” as copper-nickel 5-cent coins are commonly called, are the
“redheaded stepchild” of coin collecting. Without intrinsic value or
major rarities, the Jefferson nickel is one of the least collected of
U.S. coins. At most coin shows fewer than 1 percent of the coins are
Jefferson nickels. For the new collector, the entire series is
available either from circulation or even Uncirculated at a very
collecting a variety of U.S. type coins and a Lincoln Mint and date
set, I became fascinated by the simple, long-running Jefferson nickel
series. Beginning with a couple of Whitman folders, I discovered the
joy of expanding the set to include both Proof pieces and full-step examples.
a few pieces that didn’t fit the folders caused me to look into the
Walter Breen varieties and Cherrypicker’s Guide to Rare Die
Varieties. I started studying more about the unusual Jefferson
nickels and could not find enough photographs, or even any books of
complete information about the errors and varieties within this series.
become the resident “expert” in Jefferson nickels at the Greater
Jacksonville Coin Club, I compiled and delivered my first PowerPoint
program. I thought I had compiled a full set of Jefferson nickels.
learned that I had only begun!
writing my book Photographs of Thomas Jefferson Nickels: Die
Varieties and Minting Errors, I referenced Walter Breen’s
Complete Encyclopedia, which lists over 60 different die changes
or errors on the Jefferson nickel, and I found that many of the
varieties were so subtle that the new collector would not even notice
the difference in the coins. For example, in 1971 and 1977 the doors
and windows were recut to improve the design. The 1939-D Jefferson
nickel with machine doubled D and a Proof 1957 example with a small
star that was polished like the 1937-D Indian Head, Three-Legged Bison
nickel are two other examples.
many descriptions can only be enhanced with excellent photographs.
Over 300 detailed photographs and explanatory arrows pointing to the
particulars permit both new and seasoned collectors to see and
understand the details in the varieties and errors.
the “full-step” collectors, the steps on the reverse have large
pictures of each step showing the weak and strong strikes and nicks
that would preclude the full step designation.
to complete “a full set of Jefferson nickels” continues to be my
passion and unfinished task. Through the eight years of research,
photography and investigation into the errors, varieties, and man-made
alterations of the Jefferson nickel, I have accumulated pieces,
photographs, and an understanding of what is required to truly
complete “a full set of Jefferson nickels.” My book is my opportunity
to share this knowledge and information with others to encourage them
to continue the adventure of collecting Jefferson nickels.
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