Last Year For Silver Nickels

Last Year For Silver Nickels
Posted on May 27, 2024 by BOLD Precious Metals

Most people consider nickels as just pocket change, but for coin collectors, coins from the silver nickel years are rare and valuable. If you're curious about the years when silver nickels were struck or when was the last year for silver nickels, you've come to the right place.

The composition of U.S. Nickels has changed twice over the last 157 years. During World War II, they were minted with 35% silver content. This article will surely catch your interest in when the last year of minting for silver nickels was, how much a silver nickel is worth today, and how to identify silver nickels. Let’s start with its composition!

     The Nickel Composition Change


All nickel coins, from the original Shield Nickels to the Liberty Head and Buffalo Nickels, were composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

Nickel became vital to the war effort when the United States entered World War II. Ordnance, anti-aircraft guns, and plate armor were all made of nickel.

It was even employed in the construction of portable, lightweight bridges that made the invasion of Germany possible. The United States had to reduce and conserve the amount of nickel used in the five-cent coin. Silver was to be used in place of the nickel.

Although it may seem odd that nickel is thought to be more useful than silver, Congress approved a compositional change to the nickel when raw materials were already in short supply.

The decision to mint nickels with 50% copper and 50% silver was approved on March 27, 1942. In the interest of the public, the Mint was permitted to add or change these metals. The Jefferson Nickel's composition was adjusted to include 9% manganese, 35% silver, and 56% copper.

Following the end of World War II in 1945, the Nickel's composition was changed back to 75% copper and 25% nickel. Wartime Nickels are still well-liked nowadays.

When were Nickels Made from Silver?

The five-cent pieces, which contained thirty-five percent silver, would be minted between 1942 and 1945. These silver nickels are sometimes called the "War Nickel" due to their limited mintage and their connection to World War II.

But it's crucial to remember that in 1942, the US Mint introduced both a regular nickel and one that was alloyed with silver. The 1942 Type 2 Nickel is the one with a 35% silver content.

As silver contains an intrinsic value, do you wonder If the silver nickel holds more worth than its face value?

     How Much is a Silver Nickel Worth?

The silver content of the silver War Nickel has a melt value of about $1.50. However, a coin's numismatic appeal—that is, the amount collectors or dealers would pay for it—determines its actual value. The condition of the coin is also a significant component of its numismatic value.

When in perfect condition, the majority of silver nickels can fetch thousands of dollars. An MS68 "Full Step" 1945-D Nickel, for example, brought in $25,000 at a private auction in 2021! "Full step" refers to Jefferson Nickels that have all five steps of Monticello clearly visible on the reverse.

Now you know the potential value of a rare silver nickel. What if you come across one such silver nickel? How can you identify one?

     Identification of Silver Nickels

Silver War Nickels, with a left-side portrait of President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and his well-known Virginia home, Monticello, on the reverse, were all early issues of the Jefferson Nickel. In 1938, the Buffalo Nickel, which was in circulation from 1913 to 1938, was superseded by the Jefferson Nickel.

In order to sort and remove the silver nickels from circulation as soon as coinage made of the metal could again be produced, the U.S. Mint sought to make the silver nickels easily identifiable. To that end, on the reverse, the Mint struck mint marks above Monticello.

Silver War Nickels are only found with this placement of the mint mark on the reverse, which helps to identify them. Silver nickels from the U.S. Mint's Denver, San Francisco, and Philadelphia branches are available. As a matter of fact, these nickels were the first in American coinage history to feature the "P", which stands for the Philadelphia Mint.


In conclusion, silver nickels hold a special place in coin collecting history, especially those minted during World War II with a 35% silver content. While their melt value is around $1.50, their numismatic value can soar into the thousands, especially for coins in pristine condition like the MS68 "Full Step" 1945-D Nickel.

Identifying these silver nickels is made easier by the mint marks above Monticello on the reverse, a feature unique to these coins. Their rarity and historical significance make them prized additions to any coin collection.

BOLD offers the Silver War Nickels from randomized dates at the lowest prices. Get these to add some historical value to your collection.

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