US Coins

Jefferson 5c offers opportunity

Searches through rolls of U.S. 5-cent coins yielded nearly a dozen 35 percent silver 1942 through 1945 Jefferson, Wartime 5-cent coin, with Mint-marked examples representing the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints.

Images by Bill O’Rourke.

I truly enjoy searching through rolls of 5-cent coins and when I am offered the opportunity to examine a large number of hand-wrapped rolls, I grab that opportunity with gusto.

When looking through rolls of 5-cent coins, it is not unusual to find older coins that are still in circulation.

It seems that while many roll searchers are concentrating their efforts on looking through coins of other denominations, to find as many pre-1959 Lincoln cents or pre-1971 silver half dollars as they can, some great 5-cent coins are escaping detection as they remain in circulation.

I would simply like to remind you that the Jefferson 5-cent coin series, minted from 1938 to the present, can still offer up some really neat finds, and you just might want to look through them a little more often.

I am happy to say that my finds for this month included not just one or two older 5-cent pieces, but when all was said and done, I was actually the proud owner of what turned out to be a complete collection of silver alloy Jefferson 5-cent coins.

Popularly known as “Wartime Nickels,” even though they contain no nickel, the coins are composed of an alloy containing copper (56 percent), silver (35 percent) and manganese (9 percent).

Minted from 1942 to 1945, the silver alloy 5-cent coins can easily be identified by a large P (Philadelphia Mint), D (Denver Mint) or S (San Francisco Mint) Mint mark above the dome of Monticello as seen on the reverse of the coin.

In the rolls I searched, I found the 1942-P, 1942-S, 1943-P, 1943-D, 1943-S, 1944-P, 1944-D, 1944-S, 1945-P, 1945-D and 1945-S 5-cent coin. In all, I found 11 Jefferson, Wartime 5-cent coins.

It is interesting to note that the rolls also contained copper-nickel 5-cent coins minted in 1942 at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints with the Denver coins having a small D Mint mark in its usual location to the right of Monticello.

Since the Denver Mint struck no wartime silver alloy 5-cent coins in 1942, the lack of a 1942-D Jefferson, Wartime 5-cent coin among the coins found was no surprise.

The finds were profitable as well as fun. Based upon a $32 spot price of silver, one silver alloy Jefferson 5-cent coin has a bullion value of $1.80. Naturally, the price of silver can change dramatically, so by the time you read this, each coin may have a greater or lesser worth.

Please share your finds with me at by simply clicking on the Submit Question button.

Let me wish you all a Happy New Year. Have a safe and healthy 2012.

Happy hunting.

Bill O’Rourke is a collector who has spent the past several years searching coin rolls in pursuit of his hobby.

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