Jefferson Nickel Overview
A coin that is as popular today as it was when first introduced, the Jefferson Nickel has had a long and unique history. Designed and later produced in 1938, the Jefferson Nickel replaced the highly successful Buffalo Nickel.
Even after 79 years, the Jefferson Nickel has only undergone some modest updating to its design, but still resembles the original design.
Felix Schlag’s original obverse design features a bust of President Jefferson facing left. To the left of the bust near the rim are the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”. In the right field, the word “LIBERTY” and the date can be found.
On the reverse, a rendition of Jefferson’s beloved home, Monticello, is centered. The classic US coin motto, “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, can be found directly above Monticello. Found below is the denomination, “FIVE CENTS”, and the words, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.
Jefferson Nickels, excluding those minted in 1942-45, are made of a 75% copper and 25% nickel composition. Each also has a diameter of 21.2 mm and a weight of five grams.
If you would like to learn more about the Jefferson Nickel and other collectible US nickels, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Rare Nickels!
History of the 1947 Jefferson Nickel
Early Jefferson nickels are known for having lower mintage numbers than some other coins of the same time period. The 1947 Jefferson Nickel is one of the few exceptions to this rule with the Philadelphia Mint producing 95,000,000 examples.
This is not that large a number but is still more than other dates near that time. This larger mintage affects the amount that has survived.
Strike quality is normally an issue for some dates of Jefferson Nickels, but the 1947 Jefferson Nickel had a very average strike quality. Because of this quality of a strike, a good number of examples have received the Full Steps designation.
Common Jefferson Nickel Errors
Although errors unique and rare, there are some varieties that become common for a certain series of a coin. Jefferson nickels are no exception and have some errors that show up more than others.
Clipped planchets are a common error that appears on almost every type of coin. This error occurs when the circular unstruck planchets are being cut from large sheets of metal. When the sheet of metal does not move far enough forward before the next cut is made, an overlapping cut will be made.
This results in a small “clip” from the edge of the coin. Most clipped planchets are small, but larger errors can command a very nice price.
Another common Jefferson Nickel error is repunched mint marks. This is a simple error where the manual mint mark placement on a working die is struck twice.
Sometimes a mint mark is punched twice to fix a bad mintmark placement or during the punching, something happens which causes the punch to move. This results in an almost ghost image behind or around the current mint mark.
Repunched Mint marks can sometimes be mistaken for the much more valuable doubled die errors.
Both of these errors are semi-common, but are still very rare. The value for each error depends on the date as well as the severity of the error.
Value of the 1947 Jefferson Nickel
Even with a higher mintage than most other dates of the period, the 1947 Jefferson Nickel still has a slight premium in grades under Uncirculated condition.
Grades Fine 12 and under are only worth face value and Very Fine 20 condition retail for a price of $0.25. Even in About Uncirculated 50 condition, $0.35 is the average value.
Mint State examples are where most price increases can be seen. MS-60 through MS-63 examples are valued at $3. A large jump in price to $24 is seen in MS-65 condition. PCGS estimates that only 147,500 examples still exist in MS-65 or higher.
A Full Steps designation barely increases prices, with only a $1 to $25 increase with an MS-65 Full Step designation example. This low increase can be explained by the relatively good strike quality that each coin received.