Silver Nickels

Nickel silver, Maillechort, German silver, Argentan, new silver, nickel brass, albata, alpacca, is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Viejas casino bingo. Nickel silver is named due to its silvery appearance, but. Beginning in the middle of 1942 and through the end of the Great War, these 5 cent unique silver Wartime Nickels are coins struck in alloy of 35% silver, 56% copper and 9% manganese. The Jefferson Nickel actually had zero nickel content. Today these silver Jefferson Nickel coins are a great way to buy silver for those investing or coin collecting.

Nickels minted in the United States between 1942 and 1945 are made of 35% silver. These are commonly known as 'silver war nickels.'

Normally all other nickels are composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel. Due to the pressing need for industrial metals like nickel during World War II, five-cent coins were actually made from 35% pure silver during the duration of the war. The rest of the alloy was made up of copper (56%) and manganese (9%).

Interestingly, using this alloy meant that vending machines and coin-operated devices would still recognize and accept the silver nickels.

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How to Identify Silver War Nickels

At first glance, these silver nickels are difficult to distinguish from their copper-nickel counterparts. They look like any other old nickel to most of us. You'll see the same portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse. Even the color is virtually identical.

Pile of war nickels

There are a few key visual differences you can keep an eye out for, however.

The easiest way to check for a silver war nickel is the year-date on the coin. All nickels produced from 1942 to 1945 use the 35% silver composition.

On the reverse (tails) side of the coin, you'll still find the familiar building known as Monticello, Jefferson's famous estate that he supposedly designed himself.

However, only the silver war nickels will place the mintmark on this side of the coin. The letter will either be a P, D, or an S prominently placed above Monticello

How to Tell If Your Coins Are Silver

Silver war nickels aren’t the only valuable coins you might find in your spare change. There are, in fact, several other silver coins you could potentially come across—and they’re actually 90% pure silver.

Chief among these are silver dimes. They generally come in three different varieties:

  • Barber dimes (1892-1916)
  • Mercury dimes (1916-1945)
  • Roosevelt dimes (1946-1964)
Nickel

Because of their relatively small size, quite a few of these dimes have survived in circulation. Less often you can still find 90% silver quarters, as well.

Coin dealers usually sell bank rolls or large bags of this “junk silver” grouped together by face value. Common increments are $100 or $1,000 face value.

This works because the amount of fine silver (by weight) in each coin denomination was roughly proportional to their face value.

In other words,

  • a silver dime (10¢ face value) contains approximately 1/5th as much silver as a silver half dollar (50¢ face value);
  • a silver quarter (25¢ face value) contains approximately 1/4th as much silver as a silver dollar (100¢ face value);
  • and so on.

What Other Coins Are Silver?

Even in the United States, you may occasionally come across foreign silver coins in circulation. The most common are 80% silver coins from Canada.

Silver Nickels For Sale

Canadian 80% silver coins (quarters, half dollars, and dollars) were minted between 1920 and 1967. Prior to 1920, the 92.5% pure (.925 fine) sterling silver standard for British coins was used.

Some commemorative coins and proof sets issued by the U.S. Mint are still composed of 90% silver today in limited quantities.

Value Of Nickels By Year

The key thing to know:All U.S. dimes, quarters, and half dollars minted in 1964 or earlier are composed of 90% silver. Keep this fact in mind any time you decide to buy silver.

There are very specific dates for the Kennedy half dollar and Eisenhower dollar that are also made of 40% silver. Check the infographic below for more details!

War Nickel Value Chart

The CoinTrackers.com crew has compiled an awesome list we've dubbed 25 Most Valuable Nickels, and the page details the most valuable nickels minted in the United States from the late 1800's to the early 2000's. (Updated 2021) The values are descending so the most valuable are at the top. (so its a count up and not a countdown).

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Silver Nickels Years

  • 1.) 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $4,408,650
  • 2.) 1880 Shield Nickel - Worth $20,000
  • 3.) 1924 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $14,000
  • 4.) 1926 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $7,600
  • 5.) 1927 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $5,000
  • 6.) 1881 Shield Nickel - Worth $4,000
  • 7.) 1883 Shield Nickel - Worth $3,900
  • 8.) 1867 Shield Nickel - Worth $3,600
  • 9.) 1920 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,500
  • 10.) 1928 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,400
  • 11.) 1918 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,300
  • 12.) 1925 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,300
  • 13.) 1924 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,000
  • 14.) 1870 Shield Nickel - Worth $3,000
  • 15.) 1920 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $2,500
  • 16.) 1872 Shield Nickel - Worth $2,500
  • 17.) 1919 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $2,350
  • 18.) 1885 Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $2,328
  • 19.) 1912 S Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $1,945
  • 20.) 1886 Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $1,861
  • 21.) 1877 Shield Nickel - Worth $1,854
  • 22.) 1938 Jefferson Nickel - Worth $1,800
  • 23.) 1873 Shield Nickel - Worth $1,800
  • 24.) 1874 Shield Nickel - Worth $1,800
  • 25.) 1916 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $1,780

What Nickels Contain Silver

Most Valuable Coins by Type..

All US Dollar Coins

  • *list does not count the newer Presidential Dollars