US Coins

Jefferson nickel Denver Mint mark varieties: Bowers

The Joys of Collecting column from Dec. 21, 2015, issue of Coin World:

It was nearly three years ago that I became intrigued with a certain 1975-D Jefferson 5-cent coin with the D Mint mark in a strange position — to the left of the 5 of the date instead of down from it.

This was called to my attention by a Coin World article by Mike Diamond.

I contacted him and for $25 bought an example in, say, Very Fine grade.

The mintage of the 1975-D nickel is 410,875,300, or more than one for every man, woman, and child in America. Where the heck did they all go? 

If only one obverse die had an errant Mint mark, and if that die was used to strike 500,000 coins, then this variety is 800 times rarer than one with a regularly-placed D!

A few weeks later, and with some trepidation, I wrote this in my column:

“To the first Coin World reader who can supply me with a nice Mint State example of the misplaced D I will pay $500. I want just one coin, not dozens! Plus, I will donate another $500 to the non-profit numismatic organization the seller names. 

“I am doing this to have a little fun!

“Let’s see what happens.”

Certainly, among the tens of thousands of readers some had multiples, perhaps even a bunch of bank-wrapped rolls, of 1975-D nickels. I expected to be deluged and to have the chance to select the first one from dozens to give the $1,000 to.

Well, nothing happened at all!

Today as you read these words, the latest edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins prices a Mint State 63 1975-D 5-cent coin for just 25 cents.

I will repeat this offer — for the first person from whom I buy such a coin in the next 60 days I will put up $1,000.

Dedicated collectors of Jefferson nickels like coins with full steps on Monticello on the reverse. I will buy one with mushy steps. 

So, look to see what you have! 

The Guide Book describes and illustrates this variety on page 137, but no price is given — for, to the knowledge of contributors to this familiar book, no auction or other prices have been found.

Perhaps that will change in the future. It would be interesting to see what happens if a nice Mint State coin is featured in a prominent sale. (If I buy one, I’ll hang on to it, however.)

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