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Nickels Information

This page contains general and historical information about U.S. Mint Nickels. The nickels that we have for sale are divided into 4 sections Buffalo Nickels , 1942-1945 Silver War Nickels , 1939-2003 Jefferson Nickels and 2004-2009 Westward Journey Nickel Series. You can click the links, select the sub-category or search to browse our products.

History of the Nickel

The United States nickel is a unit of currency equal to 5/100 or 1/20 of the Dollar.

Shield Nickel (1866-1883)





The shield nickel was the first "nickel" 5 cent piece issued in the United States. The coin was also the first 5 cent coin issued that did not contain precious metal. The coin was designed by James B. Longacre, the Mint's chief engraver, featured a large shield on the obverse and a large 5 on the reverse in designs with or without rays.

Liberty Head (V) Nickel (1883-1913)





The V nickel was designed by Charles E. Barber, the Mint's chief engraver at that time, and features Lady Liberty on the Obverse and a V on the reverse. Originally the coin did not have the word "cents" but the word was added in 1883 due to confusion or fraud related to the coins size and design being close to that of the $5 Gold piece also in circulation at the time.

Indian Head Buffalo Nickel (1913-1938)





The buffalo nickel was designed by James Earle Fraser and features the profile of an American Indian on the obverse and an American Bison or Buffalo in the reverse. View Buffalo Nickel Product Page

Jefferson Nickel (1913-2004)





The Jefferson nickel, designed by Felix Schlag in a Mint contest, features Thomas Jefferson on the Obverse and Monticello on the reverse. View Jefferson Nickels Product Page

Wartime Nickels (1942-1945)





Due to a nickel shortage resulting from the war the composition of the nickel was changed to 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% Manganese. The coin is the same as previous nickels but the silver coins can be identified easily due to the large mint mark added above Monticello on the reverse. The mintmark returned to the obverse once the metal content was restored in 1946. These coins are generally collected for their precious metal content because each coin contains .0563 troy ounces of silver. View Silver War Nickels Product Page

Westward Journey Nickel Series (2004-2005)





The United States Mint issued new nickels to commemorate the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 2004 the normal Jefferson obverse was used and two designs, the "Peace Medal" and "Keelboat" were used on the reverse. In 2005 the Obverse was also changed to a new portrait of Jefferson. The reverse designs for 2005 include a new "Buffalo" and "Ocean in View" designs. In 2006 Monticello returned to the reverse but the new Obverse was retained. (images courtesy of us mint) View Westward Journey Nickel Series Product Page.