Most Valuable Nickels
1) 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
What makes the Liberty Head Nickel so unique is the fact that it was produced by the US mint illegally The coin was never authorized for production but somehow 5 coins were minted anyway. It’s widely speculated that mint employee Samuel Brown was responsible for minting the coins because he later became the only known person to have owned all 5 coins at once. In fact, the coins were unknown until 1920 when he showed them off at a coin collectors convention. The last known sale of a Liberty Head Nickel occurred in 2005 for $3.7 million at auction to an unknown collector. The Liberty Head Nickel is on the list of the most valuable world coins on the homepage.
2) 1918/7 D Buffalo Nickel
This buffalo nickel was minted in 1918 but the die used for some of the nickels said both 1917 and 1918. The result was a nickel with a date where the last digit looked to be both a 7 and an 8. It’s unknown how many of these nickels were produced or how they got past quality control. The mistake wasn’t noticed until the early 1930s which means most coins had been in circulation for almost 15 years. A high quality coin, which is very rare given the coins were in circulation for so long before the error was discovered, can fetch as much as $70,000.
3) 1926 S Buffalo Nickel
The rest of this list is all buffalo nickels. The buffalo nickel was minted between 1913 and 1938
and features an indian on one side and a buffalo on the other. This is one of the few US coins that doesn’t feature either a president or lady liberty. Several million 1926 buffalo nickels were minted, however less than a million were produced in San Francisco. You can determine where a buffalo nickel was minted by the small letter below where it says “five cents” on the buffalo side of the coin. An “S” identifies this coin as having been produced in San Francisco. A mint condition coin is worth as much over $10,000.
4) 1924 S Buffalo Nickel
Like most of the other buffalo nickels on this list, this coin was also minted in San Francisco. The San Francisco mint wasn’t to able to produce as many coins as other mints throughout the country which is why a “S” coin tends to be more valuable than coins produced elsewhere. This coin has the exact same style of the 1926 nickel above. In mint condition this coin is worth more than $4,000 dollars.
5) 1918 S Buffalo Nickel
The buffalo head nickel was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser in 1911. There was a
move at the time to improve the look and condition of US coins and also to try and deter counterfeiters by making the design more complex. Coins at the time became worn quickly making it easy for counterfeiters to duplicate. Using new metals and more complex designs helped the US deter people from counterfeiting coins. A mint condition coin is worth more than $1,200.
This list of valuable nickels leans pretty heavy towards the buffalo nickel but other important designs include the Liberty Head and Jefferson nickels.