Coin Value Finder » 1942 Nickel Value: are “D”, “S”, “P”, No mint mark worth money?

1942 Nickel Value: are “D”, “S”, “P”, No mint mark worth money?

The 1942 nickel is one of the most sought-after pieces among coin collectors due to its exciting history. The coin is also considered rare as it was minted during an ongoing World War.

Keep reading to know the features, value, different varieties, and minting errors that make the 1942 nickel a rare collectible,

1942 Nickel Details

1942 Nickel Details

  • Mintage: 154,557,200
  • Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Fineness: 0.9
  • Weight: 5 grams
  • Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Category: Jefferson Five Cents
  • Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
  • Diameter: 21.2 mm
  • Composition: Copper, Nickel, Silver Manganese

Obverse Design

The obverse surface has a portrait of the iconic figure Thomas Jefferson. It’s a side portrait where the second president of America is facing to the left side and has a hairstyle popular in colonial America. The portrait also shows him wearing a thick coat, used to accent the image.

Around the left edges of the coin, the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ is inscribed with uppercase letters, whereas on the right side, the word ‘Liberty’ and 1944 is printed. A small star separates the word and the date on the right edge of the coin.

Reverse Design

The reverse side represents the president’s estate in Virginia, known as Monticello. Besides the compelling representation of the building, several other words and phrases are inscribed on the coin. Right above the dome of the building, you’ll see a mint mark, while on the topmost edge, the phrase ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’ is written.

Below the depiction of Monticello, the words ‘five cents’ and ‘United States of America’ are written in block letters. The most distinct detail of the Monticello building depiction is the stairs. An uncirculated 1942 nickel will clearly show the first six steps of the building.

1942 Nickel Value Chart

Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated MS 65
1942 no mint mark nickel $0.06 $0.15 $0.45 $0.8 $5/5
1942 D nickel $0.5 $1.25 $4.5 $16 $55
1942 P nickel $0.50 $0.8 $1.4 $3 $20
1942 S nickel $1 $1.1 $2 $2.75 $18

1942 Nickel Value and Varieties Guides

Before we further read about the relevant varieties, please remember that in 1942, two types of nickels were produced with differences in their composition. At the start of the year, the nickels were produced using 75% copper and 35% nickel, but later in October, the US treasury changed the coin’s composition to 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. The change in composition was done during wartime to save copper and nickel.

Although the face value of the nickel is five cents, the coin’s condition determines how much the penny is worth.

1942 Nickel No Mint Mark Value

1942 No Mint Mark Nickel

  • Edge: Smooth
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Quantity Produced: 49,789,000
  • Type: Jefferson Nickel
  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Price: $0.45 to $75
  •  Mass: 5 grams
  • Place of Minting: Philadelphia
  • Face Value: $0.05
  •  Diameter: 21.2 mm

During the year’s first half, nickels without a mint mark were produced in the Philadelphia mint. 49789000 coins were produced in the mint, making the nickels common and inexpensive. Circulated nickels from the Philadelphia mint range between $0.10 to $0.50, depending on the nickel’s condition. However, uncirculated coins start from $5 to $20.

1942 P Nickel Value

1942 P Nickel

  • Mint Mark: P
  • Edge: Smooth
  • Price: $0.56 to $70
  • Quantity Produced: 57,873,000
  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Type: Wartime Nickel
  • Place of Minting: Philadelphia
  • Face Value: $0.05

The 1942 P nickel was minted in Philadelphia during wartime. The P mint mark was placed after the composition of the nickel was changed only to differentiate the previously minted nickels from the new ones. A total of 57,873,000 nickels were produced and regulated.

Due to the nickel’s interesting history, these coins have a significantly higher value than nickels without the mint mark. A good-condition 1942 P nickel will cost you $1.70, whereas a fine-condition coin starts from $2.5. The extremely fine go for $3-$4, whereas uncirculated pieces require a budget range of $8.5 to $23.

1942 D Nickel Value

1942 D Nickel

  • Mint Mark: D
  • Type: Wartime Nickel
  • Place of Minting: Denver
  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Edge: Smooth
  • Price: $1.75 to $100 and more
  • Quantity Produced: 13,938,000
  • Face Value: $0.05

These nickels were produced in the first half of the year, before the nickel’s composition was changed. No 1942 D nickels were produced with the new material composition. Due to their massive circulation, these nickels in good condition can cost $0.20, while those in extremely fine condition are worth $2.50 and more. The uncirculated 1942 D nickels go for $31 to $65 or above.

1942 S Nickel Value

1942 S Nickel

  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Place of Minting: San Francisco
  • Price: $1.8 to $150
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Type: Jefferson Nickel
  • Edge: Smooth
  • Face Value: $0.05
  • Quantity: 32,900,000

Minted in San Francisco, the 1942 S nickel is the least common of the nickels produced during wartime. Due to their rarity, they are the most valuable among the different variations. The nickels in San Francisco were made after the nickel’s composition was changed, minting $32,900,000 in total.

These nickels have a slightly higher value than the 1942 P nickels. An S nickel in good condition can cost around $2, a fine-quality nickel $4, and nickels in extremely fine condition go to $9 or higher. The uncirculated nickels are more valuable and start from $28 and upwards.

Also Read: 15 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1942 Nickel History

The 1942 Jefferson nickel replaced the Buffalo nickel already in production. The nickel depicted the United States’ third president and his Virginia residence. Felix Schlag was the artist behind this captivating design. The buffalo nickels already in circulation completed their 25 years term, making the mint change the nickel’s design.

The mint held a coin designing competition in 1938 with instructions to depict one of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, on the obverse, whereas his Virginia residence, Monticello, was on the coin’s reverse side. Felix won the competition but had to redesign the reverse before finalizing the production design.

Although the nickels before the war contained copper and nickel, the ones struck during the war had a different composition. The composition was changed to save more copper and nickel, strategic materials of the war.

The 1942 nickel was minted in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco mints. Unlike other coins, the 1942 nickel had a mint mark on its obverse side instead of the reverse side. The mint mark was placed above the Monticello building’s depiction. The mint mark was placed intentionally to sort out these metal-based coins after the war quickly.

While most of the nickels produced earlier in the Philadelphia mint didn’t have a mint mark, it was the first nickel in history to get a mint mark from the Philadelphia mint.

Throughout history, the Jefferson nickel series has drastically changed,d from placing mint marks to changing the material composition. Although the obverse of the nickel was the same till 2003, it was redesigned to represent the Louis and Clark expedition. The US treasury also announced the first two reverse redesigns, keeping Schlag’s obverse design. The improvised portrait was made by the famous sculptor Norman E. Nemeth, depicting the Indian peace medals crafted for Jefferson.

In 2005, Jefferson’s portrait was tweaked by Joe Fitzgerald, adding interesting details to the portrait side. The letters from the word liberty were taken from Jefferson’s official documents and scripts. More recently, in 2020, the Jefferson nickel was minted in the Wet point mint for the first time. These coins had a W mint mark and were kept uncirculated and used as premium coins in the mint’s coin sets.

Also Read: Top 110 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1942 Nickel Grading

Grading is a crucial process used to determine the value of a coin. The higher the grade, the higher will the piece cost. Due to the affordability of the 1942 nickel, collectors are always on the hunt for one with less wear. Here’s a quick rundown of different grades for comparison.

Here’s a video explaining different grades and how you can identify differences in these coins.

1942 Nickel Errors

Whether these are design flaws or a result of faulty imprinting, several 1942 nickels with errors have a higher value than their counterparts. Here are a few known errors found in the 1942 nickel.

1. 1942 Nickel Double Die Error

1942 Nickel Double Die Error

It occurs when the obverse side of the coin is struck twice during the minting process, resulting in a double image. The details imprinted on the surface are stamped twice and each piece is unique. These nickels have a higher value and go for hundreds of dollars.

2. 1942 Nickel D Over Horizontal D Error

1942 Nickel D Over Horizontal D Error

This error is found on the nickels produced in the Denver mint. The mint mark D in these nickels is struck twice, making the D imprints overlap each other. A D over horizontal D is a rare find and is valued at $33,000 and more.

Also Read: Top 19 Most Valuable Jefferson Nickels Worth Money

1942 Nickel FAQs

Are 1942 nickels rare?

The 1942 nickels were minted in two different compositions. The pre-wartime coins minted have less value than the nickels minted during the second half of the year using the new composition.

These new composition nickels contain silver and were produced during wartime. While you can find a pre-wartime 1942 nickel for $5 to $20, wartime nickels with the same condition can go for a few hundred dollars.

It’s easier to find these nickels as they were produced in massive quantities. Nevertheless, nickels with a higher grade like MS 65 are the most valuable and rare finds.

How much is a 1942 nickel worth?

It depends on the condition of the coin. If the coin is in mint condition, it can sell for a few hundred dollars. However, nickels with rare errors can fetch you $33,000 and upwards.

What is special about the 1942 nickels?

While the first composition of 1942 nickels is not popular, the 1942 nickels made with silver are referred to as wartime nickels as they were minted during the time. These nickels contain 35% silver and are seen as relics from history by collectors. A 1942 silver nickel in mint condition can sell for more than $20,000.

How can you tell if 1942 has silver?

Besides looking at the mint year (1942 to 1945), check where the mint mark is placed. If the mint mark is beside the Monticello building, it’s a pre-wartime nickel, whereas the mint mark placed above the dome of the building represents a silver nickel. Only the 1942 silver nickels had the mint mark above the Monticello building.

What are 1942 nickels made of?

The 1942 nickels were made in two compositions. The pre-war composition had copper and nickel, whereas the wartime composition had a mix of copper, manganese, and silver.

Congress authorized this composition change to save Nickel, a material used widely in the war. The nickels with the changed composition are higher in value than the other previous nickels due to their history and the presence of silver.

What errors can you find on a 1942 nickel?

The most common errors include the D over horizontal D, a double die error, and a mint mark error. Although the nickels with errors have a high value, the value further increases if the nickel is kept in pristine condition.

The nickels with little to no wear which are still retaining their luster and have any errors can sell for thousands of dollars.

Which nickels are worth keeping?

While the nickels from 1880, 1919, 1921, 1885, 1936, 1942, 1944, and 1937 are valuable finds, the most valuable nickel worth keeping is the 1913 Liberty Head V nickel.

What Jefferson nickels are the most valuable?

Here’s a list of the most valuable Jefferson nickels:

  • 1954 S S over D coin is valued at $30 to $100
  • 1939 D nickel falls in the range of $60 to $130
  • 1997 P Special $200 to $275
  • 1943 P 3 over 2 can cost you $250 to $750
  • 1955-D D over S is between $40 to $100

Leave a Comment