1955 Nickel Value Guide (“P”, “D”, “D/S” & Rare Errors)

Jenson Cambell

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The 1955 Nickel is a highly-regarded coin in the numismatic realm. It offers multiple varieties and carries some good stories. But before you dig through your grandma’s purse or hit the auction block, what is the 1955 Nickel worth? And what varieties are valuable?

Join us as we set out to answer these and other questions. But just to give you a rough idea of what some of these coins are worth, below is the 1955 Nickel valuation table:

1955 Nickel Valuation Chart

1955 Nickel Condition Mint Variety
1955-P Nickel 1955-D Nickel 1955-D/S Nickel
Good (G4) $0.10 $0.10
Fine (F12) $0.15 $0.15 $5
Extremely Fine (XF40) $0.6 $0.60 $12
Uncirculated (MS60) $2 $2 $42
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $28 $20 $225

Source: PCGS, 2023

1955 Nickel: Historical Background

1955 Nickel

The 1955 nickel is the 18th iteration of the Jefferson Nickel, a coin series running from 1938 to this day. We call it the 1955 Jefferson Nickel because it features the likeness of the third President, Thomas Jefferson.

The Jefferson Nickel replaced the Buffalo Nickel, and building up to its creation, the U.S. Mint ran a competition to find a design worthy of the nickel. So, it put $1,000 in prize money and invited all artists to submit their designs. The instructions were simple: President Jefferson’s image had to be on the obverse and his house, Monticello, on the reverse.

Felix Schlag won this competition, and after a few changes, his design was used in the Jefferson Nickel.

The die used on the Jefferson Nickel was so susceptible to wear that some detail was lost while striking the Nickel. This problem was so common that the unofficial way of knowing whether a coin was well-struck was whether it had “Full Steps” or not.

This trend led to the rise of the FS variety of the Jefferson Nickel. “FS” in this context stands for Full Steps. The 1955 Nickel also had “FS” varieties.

1955 Nickel design

1955 Nickel: Physical Features

The Jefferson Nickel has always been a silver-colored coin, and the 1955 Nickel is no different. Beneath that silver facade is a 75% copper and 25% nickel composition, which is a 3:2 ratio.

Below is a highlight of this coin’s key physical attributes:

1955 Nickel: Physical Characteristics

Physical Feature Notes
Color Silver
Metallic Composition 75% Copper

25% Nickel

Weight 5 grams
Diameter 21.2 mm
Edge Plain

Obverse Design and Features

1955 Nickel obverse feature.webp

It was Felix Schlag’s entry that won the design contest in April 1938. The U.S. Mint did not use Schlag’s original design. Instead, they invited him to make a few changes.

What seems most familiar about Schlag’s design is that the image of President Jefferson closely resembled his bust sculpted by Jean-Antoine Houdon. This bust currently resides in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Felix Schlag’s final design included the following elements on its obverse:

  • The left-facing portrait of President Thomas Jefferson at the center
  • The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is on the left, arching along the coin’s rim
  • The word “LIBERTY” is on the upper left side of the coin, arching along the rim
  • The year of issue “1955” is on the lower left side of the coin, arching along the rim
  • Separating “LIBERTY” from “1955” is a five-pointed star ⭐

Reverse Design and Features

1955 Nickel reverse feature

One of the changes the U.S. Mint requested of Felix Schlag was on his perspective of Jefferson’s home, “Monticello.” Schlag’s initial design featured a three-quarter view of Monticello and what appeared to be a palm tree. U.S. Mint officials preferred a more traditional head-on perspective of Monticello.

Schlag also had to update his lettering to what you see on the 1955 Nickel.

Below are the elements that made it to Felix Schlag’s final design of the Jefferson Nickel reverse:

  • The phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is at the top of the coin, arching along the upper rim
  • The image of Jefferson’s home, Monticello, is struck prominently at the center of the coin
  • The word “MONTICELLO” is embossed right below the titular home
  • The mint mark is punched on the right side of the coin just by the edge of Monticello’s image
  • The country of issue, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” is on the lower half of the coin, arching along the lower rim
  • Arching above the country of issue is the denomination “FIVE CENTS.”

Felix Schlag did not include his initials in any of the designs he submitted, so they were left out. It wasn’t until 1966 that the U.S. Mint introduced Felix Schlag’s initials “FS” to the Jefferson Nickel. His initials “FS” were struck beneath the cut off of Jefferson’s shoulder on the obverse.

To mark this change, the U.S. Mint struck two proof 1966 Jefferson Nickels (with the “FS” initials) and presented them to Felix Schlag.

When the obverse of the Jefferson Nickel was refreshed for the coinage of 2006, Schlag’s initials were moved to the reverse, effectively trading places with the mint mark.

1955 Nickel: Varieties and Valuation

Most coins have three mint mark varieties: P, D, and S. Not the 1955 Jefferson Nickel. Coin production at the San Francisco Mint was suspended in 1955, effectively killing what would have been the 1955-S Nickel.

Apparently, the Philadelphia and Denver Mints were working so well that they rendered the San Francisco facility obsolete.

No coin was struck at the San Francisco Mint until production resumed in 1968 with proof coins.

Without the San Francisco Mint, we only have two mint mark varieties: the 1955-P and the 1955-D Nickels.

1955-P Nickel Value

1955-P Nickel Value
1955-P Nickel (no mint mark)
  • U.S. Mint: Philadelphia
  • Mintage: 8,266,200
  • Mint Mark: None

In 1955, the Philadelphia Mint struck a surprisingly low number of coins. And when word got out, people began hoarding the precious coins. The good news is that these 1955-P Nickel are easy to track down, and most will be in excellent condition.

So how much money do they cost?

The value of these nickels largely depends on their condition and the quality of the strike.

Circulated coins do not hold much value because they are not in high demand. Who wants a worn coin when there are many better examples in the market? Circulated coins are worth between $0.10 and $1, depending on the quality of the coin.

Not all 1955-P Nickels were well-struck. Most of these coins were struck on worn dies that failed to show the full detail of Monticello’s steps. Uncirculated mint-condition 1955-P Jefferson Nickels of this variety are valued at $2 to $1,050, again, depending on the condition of the coin. The finest coin in this variety is graded MS67, and PCGS values it at $1,050.

Well-struck varieties of the 1955-P nickel will show Full Steps, and they’re almost always in mint condition. This variety is not cheap though, as prices range from $20 to $11,500; also depending on condition.

One sale that blew this valuation out of the water was an MS66 Nickel that sold for an amazing $12,650.

Below are the estimated values of 1955-P Nickels of various grades:

1955-P Nickel Condition Estimated Value
Regular Struck Full Steps
Good (G4) $0.10
Very Good (G8) $0.12
Fine (F12) $0.15
Very Fine (F20) $0.25
Extremely Fine (XF40) $0.6
About Uncirculated (AU50) $0.8
Uncirculated (MS60) $2 $20
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $28 $550
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $1,050 $11,500

Source: PCGS, 2023

1955-P Proof Nickel Value

1955-P Proof Nickel Value
  • U.S. Mint: Philadelphia
  • Mintage: 378,200
  • Mint Mark: None

The Philadelphia Mint also made a bunch of proof nickels in 1955. These were well-struck and showed Full Steps. Proof coins are always targeted at collectors, so you will always find them in mint condition.

Based on the coin’s mint condition and the strike’s quality, you can almost guess that 1955-P Proof Nickels are valuable. And you’d be right because prices range from as low as $6 to as high as $3,600, depending on condition.

A 1955-P Proof Nickel graded PR69CAM was sold for $950 on eBay. A similar coin with a PR69DCAM grading sold for $4,025.

Below are the estimated values of various grades of the 1955-P Proof Nickel:

1955-P Proof Nickel Condition Estimated Value
Proof (PR) Cameo (CAM) Deep Cameo (DCAM)
Uncirculated (MS60) $6
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $18 $25 $85
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $285 $1,000 $3,600

Source: PCGS, 2023

1955-D Nickel Value

1955-D Nickel Value

  • U.S. Mint: Denver
  • Mintage: 74,464,100
  • Mint Mark: D

The Denver Mint was quite busy in 1955. It had the highest mintage of the two mints. In general, the Denver Mint struck better coins. Sure, many were struck with worn-out die, but they had better luster than the Philadelphia nickels.

And despite all these factors, there’s not much difference in value between 1955-D and 1955-P Nickels of similar condition.

Like the Philly Nickels, circulated 1955-D are worth between $0.10 and $1. Uncirculated 1955-D mint state versions fetch slightly higher prices, typically between $2 and $1,100. As you would guess, these prices are highly dependent on the quality of the coin.

This MS66+ nickel was sold for $920. Imagine how much it would have sold for if it was in better condition.

Well-struck varieties with Full Steps are even worth more, with values ranging between $50 and $10,000. A 1955-D Nickel that came close is graded MS66FS, and it sold for $9,694.

Below is a highlight of the value of various 1955-D Nickels.

1955-D Nickel Condition Estimated Value
Regular Struck Full Steps
Good (G4) $0.10
Very Good (G8) $0.12
Fine (F12) $0.15
Very Fine (F20) $0.25
Extremely Fine (XF40) $0.60
About Uncirculated (AU50) $0.80
Uncirculated (MS60) $2 $50
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS64) $10 $725
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $125 $10,000

Source: PCGS, 2023

1955-D/S Nickel Value

1955-DS Nickel Value
1955-D/S Jefferson Nickel 5C
  • U.S. Mint: Denver
  • Mintage: Unknown
  • Mint Mark: D

Since the San Francisco Mint was absent in production, some of its S-branded dies were shipped to the Denver Mint. The coins struck by these dies originally had an S-mint mark, forcing mint employees to punch them with D-mint marks. This action yielded the 1955-D over S variety or, simply, 1955-D/S.

1955 D cover S Nickel

If you look at the edges on the left side of the D-mint mark, you’ll notice some rounding. This effect is caused by the S-mint mark underneath.

Below is a closeup of the regular D-mint mark vs. the D/S-mint mark.

1955-D/S Nickels are more valuable because they are a rare variety. Circulated coins have values that range from $5 to $36. Mint state coins of this variety can sell for up to $4,500 when in MS66+ condition.

One sale that came close was the auction of a 1955-D/S Nickel that sold for $3,738. This coin was rated MS66 by PCGS.

The table below highlights the value of the various grades of the 1955-D/S Nickels:

1955-D/S Nickel Condition Estimated Value
Good (G4)
Very Good (G8)
Fine (F12) $5
Very Fine (F20) $6
Extremely Fine (XF40) $12
About Uncirculated (AU50) $20
Uncirculated (MS60) $42
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS64) $125
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $1,100

Source: PCGS, 2023

1955 Nickel: Valuable Error 1955 Nickels

The 1955 Nickel has some interesting error coins. The most common is the D over S mint mark error. Below are some valuable examples of these error coins:

1. 1955-D/S Nickel with Repunched Mint Mark Error: Sold for $1,997.50

1955-DS Nickel with Repunched Mint Mark Error

The Repunched Mint Mark was a common error among the 1955-D Nickels. This nickel is just one of the coins initially struck with the San Francisco dies. It is in the pristine condition of MS66. This grade makes the coin a rare gem and a cool addition to any collection.

2. 1955-P Nickel Struck on Dime Planchet: Sold for $1,035

1955-P Nickel Struck on Dime Planchet value

Dime planchets are slightly smaller than nickel planchets. Striking a nickel on a dime planchet yields an interesting coin with a rare error. This particular coin looks as though its details are cramped for space. It may not be the most pristine example, but it’s still a cool find.

3. 1955-D/S Nickel with Repunched Mint Mark Error: Sold for $1,028.13

1955-DS Nickel with Repunched Mint Mark Error

Next is another nickel with a D over S Repunched Mint Mark Error. Since MS66 is the highest grade in this variety, this coin is tied with a few others as the finest examples in the variety. Unfortunately, the coin wasn’t well-struck, and the steps are fuzzy.

4. 1955-P Proof Nickel with Triple Die Reverse (TDR) Error: Selling for $95.00

1955-P Proof Nickel with Triple Die Reverse (TDR) Error1955-P Proof Nickel with Triple Die Reverse (TDR) Error

Triple dies error occurs when the die strikes the coin on three different spots. The error is subtle and can be identified by spotting doubling around the edges of the coin’s details. In this coin, the error occurs on the reverse, with a visible doubling over most of the lettering.

5. 1955-D/D with Repunched Mint Mark Error: Selling for $26

1955-DD with Repunched Mint Mark Error

While we’ve seen many nickels with D over S errors, D over D errors also exist. The D/D error occurs when the coin shifts during punching, causing a doubling around the D-mint mark. While this coin is ungraded, it appears to be in mint condition.

1955 Nickel: Is it Worth Collecting

Absolutely! The coin offers many interesting varieties, and you can find anything on any budget. Just remember to pay attention to the steps of Monticello. Well-struck varieties with full steps will cost a premium. It could also be the difference between finding a good deal and being ripped off.

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