The 1970 Nickel comes from a series of coins called the Jefferson Nickel. This nickel replaced the 1938 Buffalo Nickel and is still in use today, although the image of Jefferson was redesigned in 2004.
The majority of these 1970 nickels have a simpler metal composition than other coins, so these aren’t worth much today. However, since there are many faults on the coins, some of the nickels end up as rare samples.
There are also 1970 Nickels in near-perfect condition that can be worth thousands of dollars. Interested in the value of a 1970 Nickel? If so, read on to find out more!
1970 Nickel Chart
|1970 D Nickel
|1970 S Nickel
|1970 S Proof Nickel
1970 Nickel Value by Mint Mark
Only two mints in the U.S. created nickels in 1970. Philadelphia did not strike Jefferson Nickels, with Denver producing twice as many regular coins as the San Francisco Mint. The San Francisco facility was also responsible for the proof coins.
The value of the coins will depend on their grading and rarity. It’s also important how well-struck the coins were. Jefferson coins, where you can see the full detailing on the steps, are generally much more valuable than less detailed coins.
Despite a total of 756,950,194 1970 Jefferson Nickels produced, coins with high grades can still be rare. Let’s look into the specific varieties to find out more.
1970 D Nickel
There were 515,485,380 1970 D Jefferson Nickels produced. For their value, these generally cost $0.05 to $45, but their price all depends on the condition. Only beautiful and attractive coins with the highest rating and Full Steps are considered expensive, and these cost around $1,000 but can be even higher.
When it is a piece with an MS60 grade, you can sell it for around $0.30 or higher. However, an MS65 piece has a per-piece value and can cost around $9. With its simple design, the 1970 D Jefferson Nickel often has a lower value than other coins.
If the nickel has an uncirculated and good form, you can expect it to be worth $5 or so. However, if the coin is considered extremely beautiful, it could cost a lot more, but determining an exact valuation can be difficult.
Keep in mind that you can only acquire these prices by auctioning off the piece. An example would be from a 2005 auction, where a 1970 D Jefferson Nickel with regular strikes, was bought for $719. Though a year before, a coin that had Full Steps was valued at $1,208.
During the 1970s, Full Step coins gained immense popularity among collectors who appreciated the original design. ‘Full Steps’ showcases unbroken steps on Monticello imprinted on the reverse. The complete Monticello steps, which should consist of six, have captivated collectors who are willing to pay a substantial amount to acquire one of these.
To determine how many lines are between the steps, there are two methods you can follow. One is by counting from the entrance, which represents the first step, then finishing with its foundation, which is the sixth step.
Another way is to check if there are four complete lines. If these are complete, it means you have a piece with all the steps. It’s important to note that the steps should be complete with no disturbance on them.
Most of these types of coins cost $100 to $3,250, depending on how preserved it is. With Jefferson Nickels, the grading on the coin isn’t the only important factor which is why we have a wide range in our table above.
For example, an MS66 coin without full steps may be worth $50 on average, whereas the same graded coin with full steps can be worth $1,000. Simply put, unless you have a coin perfectly showing all the steps, it won’t have a significant value.
1970 S Nickel
The 1970 S Jefferson Nickel had a total mintage of 238,832,004 pieces. If you check its current market value, the coins struck in Denver. These coins are extremely common in mint state, especially in grades MS60 to MS64.
Due to their abundance, even MS66 samples can be seen and acquired for higher prices. However, if you are searching for these pieces in higher condition than MS66, they are extremely difficult to find.
While circulated nickels are worth about $0.05, well-preserved examples can be valued at up to $45. Additionally, coins with Full Steps (clearly defined horizontal lines on the reverse) are more valuable. Although Full Step samples are rare, the 1970 S Nickel has a decent number compared to other mid-1960s to early 1970s dates.
This coin is not as rare as many others from that period, yet the finest examples of this coin are a pair of MS66FS gems.
Most of these coins are valued at $100 to $3,250, and the worth of each piece depends on the preservation level and overall condition. The most expensive nickel from the regular strike minted in 1970 has the S mint mark.
It is a coin with Full Steps and has a grade of MS66. In a 2016 auction, it was bought for a whopping $6,463. When it comes to the regular strikes, the most valuable coin recorded is an MS66+ piece that was sold for $660 in a 2020 auction.
It is interesting to note that a lot of coins from the 1970 S Jefferson Nickel series have many bag marks. But if you look well, there are still clean and detailed samples that you can acquire and add to your collection.
As with the Denver coin, the big valuations only happen with coins that have the Full Steps. As you’ve seen there, when grading these coins, the letters ‘FS’ are often added after the grading number to differentiate them from coins without Full Steps detail.
1970 S Proof Nickel
All Jefferson Proof Nickels made between 1968 and 2018 were minted in San Francisco. These are different from the old American proof coins that were typically produced in the Philadelphia Mint.
The 1970 nickel proof has a low value and regular strikes, including those with a cameo contrast. These are generally worth between $0.25 and $4. Only DCAM nickels with a PR69 rating are valuable, costing around $200.
The 1970 S Proof Jefferson Nickel is among the more common issues under the Proof Jefferson Nickel series. Because of this, even samples of up to PR68 in deep cameo are easy to find, but the pieces in PR69 deep cameo are more challenging to acquire. However, you can still find these quite easily if you properly search.
It’s a different case if you are searching for a piece in PR70 deep cameo since these are tougher to find. Samples of these pieces exist, but despite that, the coins are undeniably expensive to purchase.
A Proof 1970 S Nickel’s price can range from $10 to $2,000. Note that a circulated coin will not cost more than a few dollars, even if in great condition.
In auction records, the most valuable 1970 S Nickel proof coin that has a PR64 grade was sold for $1,725 in 2010. Also, a PR69 coin with a cameo contrast was sold for $625 in 2000. Another proof coin with a deep cameo surface was sold for $620 in 2021.
Proof coins are expected to be kept in an immaculate condition, which is why they generally aren’t as valuable as high-graded regular coins.
1970 Nickel Grading
A grading system of 1 to 70 is used to determine the value of a coin. The lowest and uncirculated pieces are given the lowest grade, which is P1. For the highest grade in the system, this could reach up to PR70.
The grades are usually preceded by two letters which are MS and PR. MS stands for Mint State and is used for circulated coins. PR stands for Proof Coins, which are in perfect condition and not made for circulation.
1970 Nickel Errors
The 1970 nickels aren’t that sought after due to their low worth, that’s unless they have special features like errors. Outstanding 1970 nickels, like those fine-proof pieces or coins with errors, can be valued at hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
1. Nickels with Mint Mark Errors
There are a couple of variations and types of 1970 nickels that feature a mint mark defect, and these can get quite expensive. Auctions would be willing to pay around $2,000 for Jefferson cents with the “S” mint mark error and an MS67 grade.
You can possibly acquire a 1970 D Nickel with an incorrect mint mark, and the value for such a piece is about $200. However, its value may even increase depending on the severity of its error. For instance, a D nickel is valued at over $200 if it features more than two die break cuts.
2. Double Striking
These errors on the 1970 nickel coins are even more valuable than those with incorrect mint marks. If you have a double-struck 1970 D Nickel, you can acquire around $350 for each coin.
As its name suggests, the error means the coin was struck twice. Typically, these double-struck coins get struck correctly on the first try, but then they will receive another strike either off or on-center.
Double striking means having multiple imprints on the piece, and the second strike is often 45% off-center. This gives the coin a distinct appearance, thus, boosts its value.
3. Clash Die
Sometimes, you will find a 1970 Jefferson Nickel that has a clash die. This error happens when the dies of the obverse and reverse hit each other without any coin in between them.
When this occurs, a portion of the design is left in the wrong piece, resulting in coins that feature odd shapes on their surface after minting. These pieces cost differently depending on the look of the error, and it also depends on how interested collectors are.
4. Doubled Die Error
Coin dies that strike double die pieces feature a partial or fully-doubled image, so the coin has two identical images that are a bit off-set. A few nickels created in the Denver Mint have doublings on their obverse. You can find it in one of these areas: “LIBERTY,” its date, the star, a part of “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
Additionally, coins from the same mint have doublings on the reverse. You can notice these in the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
1970 Nickel – FAQs
1. Which Jefferson Nickel is valuable?
The rarest production made was the 1938 Jefferson Coins which reached 4 million. The coin is valued more than its face value, even if it’s a piece in circulated condition. Between 1939 and 1942, production became quite slow, so there were just under 120 million nickel-copper coins produced.
However, a Jefferson Nickel from any year may be considered rare if it’s in perfect condition or has a significant error. If you think that your coin may be valuable, then it’s a great idea to have it graded, but make sure to keep it well protected.
2. Are older nickels silver?
1970 Jefferson Nickels do not have silver, and these contain 75% copper and 25% nickel instead. The only 5-cent coin that was struck with silver content were the pieces produced between 1942 and 1945, also called the Silver Nickel Years. The reason for this is that nickel was needed for the war effort in World War II. Once the war had finished, the coins reverted back to their original composition.
3. Is a 1970 S nickel a proof?
The ‘S’ mink mark means the coin was made in San Francisco. In 1970, their mint made both regular and proof coins. Therefore, the only way to determine if a 1970 S nickel is proof or not is by looking at its appearance. If it is shinier and has more luster than a regular coin, then it’s likely a proof.