Coin Value Finder » 1973 Nickel Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1973 Nickel Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

The 1973 Nickle goes under the name of Jefferson nickel since it portrays the American founding father Thomas Jefferson. This nickel replaced the would-be Buffalo nickel in 1938. The minting of the 1973 nickel was discontinued in 2004. The work of Felix Schklag, the 1973 nickel designer, has become some of the most famous coin designs in American coin history.

1973 Nickel Details

  • Category: Jefferson five cents
  • Mints: Denver, Philadelphia, San Fransisco
  • Total Mintage: 648,561,339
  • Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Edge: Plain
  • Composition: Copper-Nickel
  • Weight: 5g
  • Diameter: 2mm

There has been a couple of design changes since the coin first entered circulation in the 1930s. Felix Schalg’s initials first appeared underneath and slightly behind Jefferson only in 1966.

During the Second World War, the mint marks were a P struck on the reverse of the coin. The letter was placed right above the word Monticello. This WWII nickel also contained a low percentage of manganese. The design has since remained unchanged until production ceased in 2004.

Furthermore, the 1973 nickel design has some rare qualities when it comes to American coinage.

The obverse portrays the former president’s left side with a few inscriptions: “Liberty” and “In God We Trust”. 1973 is also engraved in the coin, just underneath the word Liberty. The initial of the designer, FS, is engraved underneath Jefferson’s shoulder in a modest style. Jefferson’s head and body take up a significant amount of space on the obverse. All the engraved words are therefore pushed to the very edge almost touching the rim.

On the reverse is an image of the Jefferson residence in Monticello, Virginia. Engraved underneath is the town name, Five Cents, and the United States of America. What makes this coin more special is the Latin print above the Jefferson household. It reads “E Pluribus Unum”.

This phrase was the motto of the early constellations of the states that made up the United States of America. The meaning is “out of many, one”. The 1973 Jefferson nickel, therefore, has two separate American mottos – one on each side. E Pluribus Unum” and “In God We Trust”.

One aspect of the coin that often determines value can be seen on this reversed side of the coin. The steps leading up to the Monticello residence ought to be full, clear, and visible to get a higher grading.

1973 Jefferson Nickel Value Chart

Condition 1973 No Mint Mark Nickel 1973 D Nickel 1973 S Nickel
MS 60 $0.28 $0.28
MS 65 $3.30 $3.30
MS 63 $1.71

1973 Nickel Value and Varieties Guide

The value of the 1973 nickel is somewhat modest. This is because it is essentially a modern coin. There hasn’t been enough time since the coin was discontinued to build up a historical value. A nickel is still a nickel.

There are a few of these coins, however, that could possess a much higher value among those who study numismatics. These are the coins with particular errors or mint marks that make the coin rare and extraordinary. We’ll discuss the 1973 nickel value errors further down.

Overall, this coin is a good beginner collector’s coin. They’re easy to find and would be a great way to start a new collection. However, the value of the coin, generally speaking, is not likely to reach a significant value. Copper and nickel are not precious metals. This will lower the potential of the 1973 nickel value.

A coin that remained uncirculated and has pristine steps can have a value of a few hundred dollars. The total amount of coins minted throughout all three minting sites was close to 650 million. However, not all three mints procured coins with the same purpose. Only Denver and Philadelphia produced coins meant for distribution to the public.

San Fransisco only minted coins for collectors. They struck the proof and were released only with the collector in mind.

1973 No Mint Mark Nickel Value

1973 No Mint Mark Nickel

  • Category: Jefferson five cents
  • Mints: Philadelphia
  • Total Mintage: 384,396,000
  • Mint Mark: None
  • Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Edge: Plain
  • Composition: Copper-Nickel
  • Weight: 5g
  • Diameter: 2mm

The Philadelphia mint produced the largest amount of coins. Here a total of 384,396,000 Jefferson no-mint mark nickels were minted. The vast amount and their modernity bring down the individual value of the coins.

The average 1973 no-mint mark nickel value won’t exceed $0.05. Depending on the exact MS grading the value may increase to $0.50, $4-5, or in the rarest cases a few hundred dollars. An auction can, and has, reached a value of $300 for a No Mint 1973 Jefferson Nickel.

In 2020 MS 67 graded nickel with full Monticello steps was sold for $1,528. As you can see, the general value is quite low, but there are instances where the value of the nickel can dramatically increase.

Also Read: 15 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1973 D Nickel Value

1973 D Nickel

  • Category: Jefferson five cents
  • Mints: Denver
  • Mint Mark: D
  • Total Mintage: 261,405,000
  • Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Edge: Plain
  • Composition: Copper-Nickel
  • Weight: 5g
  • Diameter: 2mm

Despite the mint in Dever producing far fewer coins than Philadelphia, the values are similar in the current marketplace for coins. The mint in Denver minted 261,405,000. Rationally, these are rare and should have a higher value, but that is not the case.

The price for a high-grade coin from Denver will sell for less than one from Philadelphia, despite being fewer in total numbers. The reason for this is simple. There have survived more coins from Denver in perfect condition than from Philadelphia.

The 1973 D Nickel value, in near-mint condition, will only reach about $300. Last year, in 2022, there was one 1973 D nickel sold for $510. This particular coin had the sough-after full steps and had received a high MS grade.

Generally, the average 1973 nickel will sell for $0.05. A few gradings have seen higher value among the D nickels compared to the No mint mark P coins. The MS 64 grading for the two coins is $1.25 for the No Mint Mark coin, but $3 for the 1973 D nickel. One grading higher, at MS 65, the No Mint Mark coin has a higher value of $4, compared to $3 for the D nickel. Once more the value alternates. MS 66 grading for the D nickel will result in $10. Whereas it’s only $7 for the No Mint Mark nickel.

Then, as mentioned, the average overall value of a near-mint perfect coin is $100 more in favor of the No Mint Mark Coin.

1973 S Proof Nickel Value

1973 S Proof Nickel

  • Category: Jefferson five cents
  • Mints: San Francisco
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Total Mintage: 2,760,339
  • Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag
  • Edge: Plain
  • Composition: Copper-Nickel
  • Weight: 5g
  • Diameter: 2mm

The number of coins minted in San Francisco is significantly lower compared to Denver and Philadelphia. Only 2.760.330 proof coins were ever produced in the year 1973. The value for these coins is still on the lower side.

The reason for this is that so many coins still exist in really good condition. This makes each coin less valuable. It’s important to keep in mind that this 1973 coin was still used in circulated in 2004, which is not long ago.

A proof coin graded PR 60 will have a value of $0.25. The value of PR 68 and PR 69 is $6 and $10 respectively.

In 2018, a grade PR 70 nickel was on eBay for $5,550. In 2022 a highly graded coin sold for $336. Even with these coins, you can strike gold, albeit it’s rare.

What we can see is that the three different types of coins are similar enough in value. This is why experts call this a perfect new collector’s coin. They’re fairly easy to come across and will be an exciting first start for any coin collector.

Also Read: Top 110 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1973 Nickel History

1973 Nickel History

The design of the 1973 nickel, by Felix Schalg, was decided by competition. Schlag’s design won and beat close to 400 participants. It earned him $1000 and a spot in the history books for designing one of the most famous American coins.

Originally, the coins portrayed Lady Liberty in various poses, when the minting production still struck the buffalo nickels. The buffalo nickel was hard and difficult to produce. The design was less than favorable for minting. The level of detail was nothing but an inconvenience.

Yet, the buffalo nickel was in production for a quarter of a century. After these years of minting struggles, the design of Thomas Jefferson arrived.

Previous nickels had had problems with cuds, die breaks and die cracks. A cud is damage on a coin that resembles a blob. It’s on the surface obliterating inscriptions. This type of damage comes from the pressure of minting coins.

When striking nickels you put the material through tremendous pressure, which sometimes causes the coins to form cuds (or blobs) on the surface. Weak strike was also common on the previous coins due to the amount of detail.

Weak strikes are not enough pressure put on the coin at the moment of minting to cause the loss of details.

The new 1973 Jefferson nickel solved some of these problems. The coin error experts and collectors needed new factors to grade coins. This is how they decided on the quality of the stairs to the Monticello residence.

While weak strikes still occur, it was now much less pronounced on the major parts of the coin; such as Jefferson’s face, or the inscribed texts. Whether or not the steps were full and detailed become the way to rate these 1973 Jefferson nickels.

Also Read: Top 19 Most Valuable Jefferson Nickels Worth Money

1973 Nickel Grading

Here is a video demonstrating what different versions of the Jefferson coin can look like. the video analyses the differences between coins in good condition, all the way to the uncirculated ones.

The uncirculated coins have a tremendous level of detail on the Monticello house. The level of detail is reminiscent of the buffalo coin which caused so many problems for the minting productions.

List of 1973 Nickel Errors

It’s quite difficult to find 1973 Jefferson nickels with major flaws or errors. The reason for this is that the modern time minting process and production are better than in the past. The overall quality of coins is going to be better the more technology advances.

With that said, errors still occur, and collectors work tirelessly to discover them. Here is one of the main errors that have occurred throughout the Jefferson nickel tenure.

The Monticello residence is supposed to have six well-defined steps. Improved technology should make this an easy task for minting production. However, the combination of copper and nickel made precise and highly detailed minting more difficult.

For that reason, it’s quite rare to find a 1973 Jefferson nickel with the full steps. Therefore, coin collectors and experts consider this “none mistake” of full steps to be an error and thus be more valuable.

Three other common errors found on these coins are:

  • Nickels struck on the wrong planchet. This is a rare condition but these coins do exist. This error is what the name suggests. The nickel was struck on a planchet meant for a different denomination. These coins can have a value of $180.
  • Misplaced mint marks on the nickels. This has been noticed more on coins from Denver. The D struck on the wrong locations. The distance between the rim and the date is sometimes reduced to due minting errors.
  • The die break error. A die break error is when a thick piece, or flake, of the interior of the coin falls off. This causes significant distortions of the coin.

1973 Nickel Value FAQ

What is a 1973 nickel made out of?

Copper and nickel. It’s the only coin named after what is made out of. Despite that fact, nickel only makes up 25% of the coin’s material.

Are nickels from the 1970s worth anything?

Generally, modern coins are still worth their face value. Some modern coins have defects or errors which can significantly increase their value. Some 1973 Jefferson nickels, graded MS 70, have been sold for thousands of dollars.

Are 1973 Coins Rare?

The Jefferson nickel of this year is not particularly rare. However, specific conditions and high grades of the coin can make the very rare and valuable.

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