US Coins

Lustrous Jefferson Wartime 5-cent coin tops $5,000

Collectors of 5-cent coins generally fall in two camps. Some want a single example of each design for a type set, while others dive right in and specialize in the denomination. The denomination has relatively few design types: The Shield 5-cent piece from 1866 to 1883 was followed by the Liberty Head type from 1883 to 1912 (or 1913, depending on your view of the rare 1913 “V-nickel”). The Indian Head 5-cent piece (the “Buffalo nickel”) ran from 1913 until 1938 when it was replaced by the Jefferson 5-cent piece, which continues today, with some design changes.

Here is one of several cool “nickels” that sold at Heritage’s April 25 to 29 auctions at the Central States Numismatic Society’s annual convention in Schaumburg, Illinois, which realized $20,950,441.

The Lot:

1945-S Jefferson 5-cent coin, Mint State 67+ full steps

The Price:


The Story:

During World War II, starting in 1942 and continuing to 1945, Jefferson 5-cent coins were struck from an alloy of 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver, and 9 percent manganese (resulting in a net weight of .05626 ounce of silver). The silver content means that many Mint State examples of “Wartime Nickels” exhibit beautiful toning, including this 1945-S 5-cent coin graded MS-67+ full steps by PCGS that sold for $5,280. It is tied with four others as the finest graded by PCGS, with fully defined steps of Monticello depicted on the reverse, and PCGS has graded none finer with an “FS” designation.

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For a Jefferson 5-cent coin to be given a “full steps” designation, PCGS requires the following standards be met: “MS60 or better, at least five complete steps must appear on Monticello. Any steps that join or fuse together, whether created that way or subsequently damaged, cannot be considered for the Full Steps designation.”

The coin in the auction also benefited from what Heritage described as “extraordinary orange, gold, and lavender toning,” and booming luster.

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