The Jefferson nickel debuted in 1938, replacing the Buffalo nickel in the 25th year that its production run. A style contest come commemorate founding Father and third president the the United states Thomas Jefferson, open up to “all American sculptors”, was held in 1937. German émigré and also American artist Felix Oscar Schlag to be the winner. He got $1,000 because that his effort.

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Schlag’s concept for the obverse, which art scholar Cornelius Vermeule declared was similar to Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1789 bust the Jefferson, showed up essentially the same on the five-cent nickel because that 66 years. His original reverse concept, however–featuring an imaginative three-quarters view of Jefferson’s mansion Monticello–was rubbish by the Treasury Department. Various changes were requested, the most significant of which gift the flat, head-on portrayal that Monticello the is discovered on Jefferson nickels minted to this very day (though commemorative worries with different reverses have also been released). Follow to the rules of the design competition, the winning artist would get no extr compensation because that this extra work.

1947-D Jefferson Nickel

37,822,000 Jefferson nickels were struck in ~ the Denver Mint in 1947, substantially less 보다 Philadelphia’s output for the year (95,000,000), yet not rather as low as the 24,720,000 mintage placed forward by mountain Francisco. Comparing these mintages to other years, 1947 to be a center of the roadway year because that pre-1965 Jefferson nickel mintage.

As a numismatic collectible, the 1947-D nickel drops in heat with most 20th-century “modern” issues. That is, the coin has a niche of dedicated collectors–many that have graduated indigenous penny and nickel boards come collecting collection registry high quality pieces in certified holders, when others seek to build traditional to adjust with among each date and mintmark. There’s nothing wrong with building a Jefferson nickel set following one of two people of this strategies, return the last is markedly cheaper. But even if structure a complete collection of superb gem full Step Jefferson nickels is no your collecting ambition, the is well worth her time to recognize the nuances of this issue; the coins that you seek to include to your set might it is in much an ext valuable 보다 you or your coin dealer realize.

The 4 Categories that the 1947-D

In stimulate to breakdown the various pricing tiers the the 1947-D, we must break the coin down into four categories: circulated coins (like those generally found in change); uncirculated examples (like those frequently sold in uncertified grades at coin shops); numerical Mint State coins (those in PCGS or NGC holders); and also numerical Mint State coins with complete Steps designations (without a doubt the most desirable of all Jefferson nickels for specialists).

Circulated come well-worn examples of the issue can be built up for the sheer fun of it, but it is unconvinced that the 1947-D, or any kind of non-Wartime (1942-1945) regular concern nickel that this duration will ever appreciate in value beyond face in grades listed below MS63. Unless pulled the end of circulation year ago, the typical grade of a 1947-D nickel still circulated today will be between About an excellent and really Good. These coins space worth face value.

Uncirculated specimens that are marketed “in the raw” will certainly run the gamut in regards to potential grade and eye appeal. We italicize the word potential because an uncirculated coin in the raw may have all of the look and also condition that a Gem or Superb Gem coin, however until the is actually reviewed by expert graders and also certified together such, most coin dealers and serious collectors will not act the coin together such. This is specifically true once there is a high price swing in between grades. The prevailing rate for an uncirculated “raw” 1947-D nickel is between $1 and also $3, depending on the dealer and also the look of the coin. Together an aside, if your regional dealer has actually a choice of an especially nice uncirculated coins that are not encapsulated, you might want come poke around and see what else you deserve to find.

In Uncirculated certified grades, we see where the actual potential of the 1947-D nickel lies. Uncirculated coins, once professionally graded, will fall into one of two categories: Mint State, or Mint State v the Full Steps designation. The 1947-D, like countless D-mint coins that the 1940s, surrendered a fair variety of Full actions examples and many of these survive. Far much more common, however, are examples in Mint State that carry out not exhibit complete steps early to contact marks or a absence of fullness that strike.

The PCGS population includes much more than 900 Mint State 1947-D nickels, the majority bunching increase in the grades of MS65 and also MS66. 65 is the more populous great of the two. The NGC census shows more than 650 piece in Mint State, their census conforms with the grade dispersal that PCGS reports. Simply put, the most common certified Mint State 1947-D Jefferson nickel is a MS65. In this grade, these coins have a market value of about $15-$20.

Finally, we obtain to the many coveted classification of Jefferson nickel, fully-struck pieces with complete Steps. A variety of references have been written about the complete Steps designation, but an easy explanation can be derived from the following graphic:


In this graphics you see that the steps, situated on the style between the stylobate, a level pavement section on which rest the four front columns that the design, and the foundation block in ~ the base of the steps. Components such as die condition, striking pressure, and incidental call with various other coins, beat a far-ranging factor in even if it is a Jefferson nickel will earn the complete Steps designation.

PCGS uses the attribution FS, together did NGC until 2004, when that company split that designation right into 5FS (for five full steps) or 6FS (for six complete steps). The NGC census mirrors a populace of 21 pieces with 6FS, 19 in MS66 and 2 in MS67. Through 5FS, the NGC populace accounts for 199 pieces, the highest being a sole example in MS67+. MS67 is scarce with just 14 pieces, while MS66 and MS65 counting 85 piece each.

PCGS accounts for a full of 766 pieces with complete Steps. A singular piece sits in ~ the top, earning MS67+, when 28 pieces space counted in the MS67 census. The highest concentration of PCGS complete Steps instances are uncovered at MS65. In MS67, a full Steps 1947-D nickel from either service is intended to lug in excess of $400. In MS66FS, expect to pay $50-$60, while a full Steps MS65 will certainly likely carry a price on par through the cost of the coin and its submission.

Just as vital as class is look, or eye appeal.

Of the 1947-D, countless brilliant white examples survive, but it is just as likely, if not an ext likely, that you will encounter uncirculated instances with some level of tarnish. Vintage Jefferson nickels tend to take on increased gold coloration through age, and also some develop pastel toning, periodically faint, choose watercolor, various other times, vividly technicolor v “monster” color. The an ext individualized and also unique the eye appeal is because that this issue, the much more desirable it i do not care to significant collectors. The price realized because that this worry at auction bear this out fairly dramatically.


A left-facing bust of President cutting board Jefferson, including a colonial-era pigtail and also strikingly similar in information to the file of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1789 bust, takes increase the majority of the obverse. The optimal of his head virtually touches the rim, and also the barest the truncations is clearly shows at the bottom wherein Jefferson’s left shoulder meets the sheet of the coin. The motto IN GOD us TRUST–which became the national motto in 1956–arcs clockwise along many of the length of the left side of the coin, starting from Jefferson’s chest and extending to his hairline. The inscriptions LIBERTY and the day 1947 run clockwise follow me the right side behind Jefferson. A little five-pointed star divides the two inscriptions


The reverse attributes a front watch of Monticello, Jefferson’s mansion close to Charlottesville, Virginia. The polymath Jefferson designed the neoclassical structure himself, based on architectural principles from the Italian Renaissance; the name “Monticello” comes from the Italian because that “mound” or “little mountain”. The structure loses much of the dimensionality in the planarization rendering, yet the octagonal nature of the dome deserve to still it is in interpreted, and better strikes reveal far-reaching detail in the steps and also portico.

Atop the turning back is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out the Many, One”). The name MONTICELLO–the location of i beg your pardon on the coin was among the revisions required upon Schlag through the Mint–is discovered in a directly line automatically under the building; the positions and spacing the the various other inscriptions had actually to be adjusted to do room for it. The denomination 5 CENTS develops a tenderness curving line beneath that, and also the inscription UNITED claims OF AMERICA runs counterclockwise follow me the bottom sheet of the coin. A tiny mint note “D” is uncovered to the much right that the mansion.

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Interestingly, Felix Schlag’s initials walk not appear on a Jefferson nickel until 1966.

Coin Specifications:

Country:United States
Year that Issue:1947
Denomination:Five Cents
Mint Mark:D (Denver)
Alloy:75% Copper, 25% Nickel
Weight:5 grams
Diameter:21.21 mm
OBV DesignerFelix Schlag
REV DesignerFelix Schlag