Nickel is a 5-cent coin with a shiny coating of nickel that resembles silver. Although nickels in circulation have a low face value, the nickels minted during Wartime, like the 1943 nickel, carry immense historical value.
We’ve put together this post to aid you in determining the 1943 nickel value, getting familiar with different varieties, and discovering what makes this coin a valuable relic from history.
1943 Nickel Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated||Mint State|
|1943 P Nickel||$1.5||$1.9||$3.2||$6.1||$23|
|1943 S Nickel||$1.5||$2.09||$2.9||$6.1||$23|
|1943 D Nickel||$1.5||$2.1||$4.2||$7.1||$23|
1943 P Nickel Value
Knowing the history and the design details is imperative if you are interested in collecting or trading coins. Before exploring the value, let’s quickly review the history, design details, and features of the 1943 nickel that make the coin a valuable find. The first dimes produced many years earlier than 1943 were referred to as half dimes.
While mints used silver to produce the coins, the silver composition changed as it was replaced with a mix of copper and nickel. The authorities stopped the use of silver in coins because the silver at the time rose in value, and hoarders started storing circulating silver coins and melted them to extract silver.
The silver was extracted and sold because it gave hoarders more money than the coin’s face value. To stop this silver stacking, the government proposed replacing the silver content with a mix of 75% copper and a 25% nickel coat surrounding the copper base.
Shortly the Second World War began, increasing the demand for precious metals like Nickel. The treasury had to again come up with another composition to save the nickel that was at the time used to make weaponry. The coins minted between 1942 and 1945 had silver instead of the nickel found in the previous year’s coins.
The silver was now used in limited quantities to prevent the coins from getting stacked again for silver. The low silver content and its minting years give the 1943 nickel a unique position among coin collectors and traders.
The 1943 nickel is from the Thomas Jefferson Nickel series, which was introduced in 1938. Felix Schlag designed these nickels. The artist competed with 390 other entries and was selected to design the nickel. Felix was a German immigrant with a passion for sculpting and art. The authorities took nearly four days to review every entry and announce the winner.
The nickel was explicitly designed to commemorate the 3rd President of the US with his portrait on the front, whereas the illustration of his home at the coin’s back side. The 1943 nickels are also seen as a prized find as they were minted during wartime.
As these coins were wartime nickels, the mint came forward with a move to remove these wartime nickels after the war ended. As these coins had several distinct features, they were easily identified. Let’s review the design details and particular features that make the 1943 war nickel unique.
The reverse side of the nickel features the Monticello building, zoomed in, and almost touches the coin’s edges. The phrase E Pluribus Unum is clearly written on the top rim, while the mint mark is struck just below the phrase.
You’ll see the United States of America struck on the lower rim. Directly below the building, the building’s name Monticello is written in block letters, whereas the value, five cents, is written below it. The mint mark locations on the Jefferson nickel have changed a lot. From 1938 to 1941 and 1946 to 1964, the mint mark was placed to the right of the Monticello building.
From 1965 to 1967, no mint marks were included in the nickel, but starting in 1966, the artist’s initials FS were added to the right of the Monticello. Finally, in 1968, the mint mark was placed on the coin’s obverse side.
While this wartime nickel had the same diameter (21.2 mm), thickness (1.95 mm), and weight (5 grams) as other nickels, the composition of the 1943 nickel was different. These coins comprised 56% copper, 9% manganese, and 35% silver. The coins are easily identifiable as they have smooth edges and use large fonts to represent the mint marks.
The 1943 nickels had their mint mark placed right above the dome. While the melt value of these wartime nickels is more than the clad composition, the wartime coins were specifically minted during the war and were destined to be destroyed and salvaged. Therefore, wartime nickels that have not been recalled and are still in possession of people have immense value.
These coins can easily get you a premium price, way above their value. Another unique feature in the 1943 nickels is the FS designation. FS refers to full steps, which means the Monticello building depicted on the coin has six steps. The pieces in pristine condition have all six steps distinctly visible.
However, in coins that have suffered more wear, you might see five steps, or the steps might not be identified separately. A coin with five visible steps will be called a 5FS, whereas coins with six steps are called 6FS.
Now let’s review the value of the 1943 P nickel and other varieties. The Philadelphia mint 1943 minted 271,165,000 nickels. The Philly mint used to strike their mint mark at the time for easy identification and recall.
While you can purchase a mint condition coin for not more than $30, the coins with rare and exciting errors are valued at thousands of dollars. An MS 68 nickel is easily sold at $780, whereas a higher quality nickel with full steps can sell for more than $2760.
1943 D Nickel Value
Although the Denver mint produced the least number of coins, the value of these nickels never sold for a premium price, even with the coins having particular errors. The 1943 D nickels with DDO and DDR errors can be bought for less than $15.
Only the 1943 D nickels graded MS 68 are sold for $850, whereas MS 68 FS pieces sell for more than $5000.
1943 S Nickel Value
The San Francisco mint produced approximately 104,060,000 silver nickels in 1943. As all the 1943 wartime coins were immediately recalled after the war, they circulated less, making it easier to find higher grades at affordable prices.
You can purchase an MS 65 1943 S nickel for under $14. However, the coins graded MS 68 5FS are sold for more than a thousand dollars. Surprisingly, a Non-FS piece also surfaced recently, graded MS 68, and sold for $3600.
1943 Nickel Grading
Coin grading is imperative if you want to put a value. Several grading systems are used to categorize coins according to their condition and to determine their value. Here’s a video explaining the different grades you can possibly find in the 1943 nickel.
Rare 1943 Nickel Errors List
Particular errors and misprints in coins can increase their value by manifolds. Let’s review the common errors reported in the 1943 nickels.
1943 Nickel Doubled Die Obverse
This error is seen clearly in the portrait’s eye. The eye doubles in this error as the die strikes the coin at a slightly displaced angle. The double die error is sometimes also visible on the date, making the numbers appear double.
An MS 67 DDO error coin is valued at $840, whereas the MS 67 FS sells for $5400. Higher grades like MS 68 can go more than $11,000.
1943/2 P Nickel Overdate Error
The overdate or the three over two error occurs when the mint date is stamped twice at a slightly different angle. In this particular error, one date is 1943, while the other date, 1942, is also struck on the same coin, making the three over two appearances.
Although the error was recognized early in 1947, the 1943/2 error was not reported until 1977. Good condition coins with this error sell for $23, whereas an MS 65 piece can fetch more than $800.
A 1943,2 MS 64 was valued at $312, a 6FS MS 64 coin was sold for $541, and an MS 66 was sold for $575. Higher grades like MS 66 are valued at $1900, MS 67 at $1200, and MS 67 FS for a range between $4137 to $8000.
1943 Nickel Off-Center
Blank discs known as planchets are used to mint coins of different sizes. The coin is typically punched out of the sheet, but when the planchet sheet slips or the die strikes the planchet at a different angle, an off-center image gets imprinted. The portrait is struck off-center, leaving some areas of the coin blank.
The higher the off-center percentage, the pricier the coin will become. For reference, a coin in normal condition with ten off-center errors was sold for $170 last year.
1943 Nickel D/D RPM
Before 1989, the mint marks you see on coins were punched afterward. Hand-held tools were used to punch the mint marks, resulting in the D/D RPM error. During the mint mark striking, if the coin shifts from its original position, it can make a double or D/D mint mark. This doubling or tripling mint mark error is valued at over $200 for an MS 66 5FS.
1943 Nickel on Penny Planchet
Minting a coin on a smaller planchet resulted in this error. As a smaller planchet was used, coins with these errors weigh 2.7 to 2.9 grams. For comparison, a 1943 nickel struck on its own planchet will weigh 5 grams.
An uncirculated 1943 nickel with this error was sold earlier for $3000, while an MS 62 with evident wear was sold for over $4800. Likewise, an MS 66 6FS was sold for $13200, and a 1943 S with an MS 65 grade was sold at an auction for $18,000.
1943 Nickel Struck on Cupronickel Planchet
As we all know, the Jefferson nickels were composed of copper and nickel. However, the 1943 nickels used silver instead of nickel. However, some 1943 nickels were struck on the previous Cupronickel planchet, making them a rare find. In 2008, a 1943 nickel with this error was sold for $1850.
1943 Nickel Retained Lamination Flap
Lamination errors look similar to a die-break or a cud error. This error shows flaking around Jefferson’s portrait. Good-condition coins with the retained lamination error are sold for an average price of $200.
1943 Nickel Struck on Australian Six-Pence Planchet
In this error, the six-penny planchet was accidentally used to mint the 1943 nickels. The similarity in the planchet’s color caused the error. Several letters on the coin seem to be sliced off and appear truncated. An uncirculated coin with this error was sold for $1055.
1943 Nickel FAQs
Why is 1943 Considered Rare?
These nickels are rare as the coins only stayed in circulation for two years. The coins had a different composition than the composition already in use. These 1943 nickels were the only silver nickels made after 1873. Historically, the coin is referred to as a wartime nickel and a bicentennial nickel.
Is a 1943 P nickel rare?
The 1943 Philadelphia nickel is one of the most common wartime nickels and is found easily. However, higher-graded coins are daunting to find and sell for premium value. The higher the grade, the rare and more valuable the coin becomes.
Are all 1943 nickels made of silver?
All the nickels minted in 1943 contain a silver alloy, but the silver content was kept low intentionally to prevent the hoarding and stocking of these nickels.
Can the minting year tell whether the nickel is silver?
The mint year does reveal crucial information regarding the coin’s composition. For example, if the nickels were produced between the years 1942 to 1945, the coins will most likely be composed of a silver, copper, and manganese mix.
Which nickels are considered rare?
The nickels from 1879, 800, and 81 are rare as these coins were minted in limited quantities. Poor condition shield nickels from the mentioned years sell for more than a hundred dollars. Liberty nickels are also rare finds from the V nickel series.