1961 Nickel Value (“P,” “D,” “PF,” & Error Coins)

Jenson Cambell

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Coming in at the edge of the 1961 coin shortage, only a few coins were left in an uncirculated state. This gives them a lot more value and higher estimated prices than the face value. With this 1961 Nickel Value Guide, we will tell you all about the facets you need to understand the value of this coin.

1961 Nickel Value Summary

For 1961, only the Philadelphia and Denver Mints produced this coin. San Francisco Mint did not produce any nickel for this year.

As an older coin, the 1961 Nickel typically holds considerable value. Starting with the regular strike, both the P and D coin starts with $0.10 for the circulated ones. Meanwhile, they can go as high as $375 and $2,750 respectively.

Mint Location Mintage Nickel Series Estimated Value


1961 P 5C MS $0.10 to $375.00
1961 P 5C MS 6FS $150.00 to $35,000.00
1961 P 5C MS 5FS $725.00 to $5,000.00
3,028,144 1961 P 5C Proof $10.00 to $100.00
1961 5C PF CA $15.00 to $175.00
1961 5C PF UC $40.00 to $1,250.00
Denver 229,342,760 1961 D 5C MS $0.10 to $2,750.00
1961 D 5C MS 5FS $150.00 to $20,000.00

The proof coin came from the Philadelphia Mint for this year. It ranges from $10 to $100 for the standard ones. Meanwhile, the cameo is not that far, with $15 to $175. The highest quality ultra cameo also has the highest price at $40.00 to $1,250.

1961 Nickel History

1961 Nickel History

This coin series was minted before the onset of the coin shortage in the mid-60s. This affected their price, being forced into circulation for most of the late ’60s. Also, before 1964, most nickel production totals were below 500 million coins.

When the coin shortage happened in the mid-60s, it pushed the US Mint to produce coins into billions. The result is those coins have a lower market value today.

Fortunately, the 1961 Nickel was minted before this massive increase in production. It only has a total of 306,011,004 coins, increasing its value today.

However, the dies are also getting worn out, especially in the Denver Mint. It makes the uncirculated and higher-quality strikes to be very sought after. So, if you’re lucky enough to stumble with a high-quality 1961 Nickel, it sure to have a value within hundreds or even thousands!

1961 Nickel Details

  • Category: Jefferson Five Cents
  • Weight: 5g
  • Diameter: 21.2mm
  • Composition: Copper-Nickel Clad, Copper Core
  • Edge: Plain

Felix Schlag is the one who designed both sides of the Jefferson Nickel. It’s pretty simple, with large bold letters and a big centerpiece.

The President’s bust is a testament to his time period, featuring a Peruke wig and coat. Framing the left rim of the coin is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.’’ Meanwhile, the right features ‘‘LIBERTY’’ and the mint year, divided by a five-point star.

On the back is Jefferson’s home in the middle, with the accompanying title ‘MONTICELLO’ at the bottom. The other country’s motto, ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM,’ sits at the upper rim. Meanwhile, the denomination and country name are at the coin’s base.

How Much Is A 1961 Nickel?

The nickel’s value depends a lot on the strike quality. Most regular strike coins are made with worn-out dies. So, it can be hard to find a coin with a clear and precise strike.

Having a specific identifier is essential for collectors in order to evaluate their values. With that, the unique designation known as the 5FS and 6FS or Full Step Nickel is born.

These strike characters are purely dependent on the nickel’s reverse side. It refers to the amount of discernible steps at the Monticello engraving at the back of the coin.

Since they are fewer in quantity, it’s considered rare and holds more value than the standard nickels. If you want to know about FS coins, you can check it here.

1961 P Nickel Value and Auction Record

1961-P Nickel Value
1961 5C (Regular Strike) Jefferson Nickel

Compared to previous years, the 1961 P Nickels created at the Philadelphia Mint exhibit more excellent strike quality. However, it’s still not as excellent compared to the earlier production of the Jefferson Nickel.

1961 P Nickel: Grade and Value Chart
Grading 1961 P Nickel 1961 P 5FS Nickel 1961 P 6FS Nickel
Circulated $0.10  




AU 50 $0.10
AU 58 $0.15
MS 60 $0.25 / $150.00
MS 61 $0.50 / $300.00
MS 62 $0.75 / $450.00
MS 63 $1.00 $725.00 $700.00
MS 64 $4.00 $1,350.00 $1,450.00
MS 65 $12.50 $3,000.00 $4,000.00
MS 66 $45.00 $5,000.00 $10,000.00
MS 67 $375.00 / $35,000.00

Based on our research, a 1961 Jefferson Nickel in circulation is valued at approximately $0.10 to $0.15. Although not as high as a jump with the coin from the Denver Mint, you’ll still see an increase from the MS-66 to the MS-67 coin. The former comes at an estimated price of $45, with a sudden increase to $375 for the latter.

That said, there are some MS-67 1961 P Nickels that go well over that estimate. Take this coin from Heritage Auction and sold for $6,325 in 2008.

1961 P Full Step Nickel Value

1961 P Full Step Nickel Value
1961 5C, FS (Regular Strike) Jefferson Nickel

There is a meager number of Full Step nickels from the Philadelphia Mint. This increases their value significantly, with the base estimate of the 5FS MS-63 being $725. Its highest is $5,000 for the MS-66.

The 6FS has a higher estimated price of $150 to $35,000. Especially the MS-66 to MS-67 is very rare, with just a very few graded.

1961 D Nickel Value and Auction Records

1961 D Nickel Value
1961-D 5C (Regular Strike) Jefferson Nickel

The Denver Mint produced the most number of coins for this series, at a total of 229.3 million. You can differentiate it through the ‘D’ mintmark present on the reverse side of the coin.

This high amount of production cost the quality of the coins that came from this mint location. Many suffer poor-quality strikes, so D nickel errors are pretty common.

1961 D Nickel: Grade and Value Chart
Grading 1961 D Nickel 1961 D 5FS Nickel
Circulated $0.10  


AU 50 $0.10
AU 58 $0.15
MS 60 $0.25 $150.00
MS 61 $0.50 $250.00
MS 62 $0.75 $450.00
MS 63 $1.00 $2,500.00
MS 64 $7.50 $8,000.00
MS 65 $20.00 $20,000.00
MS 66 $650.00 /
MS 67 $2,750.00 /

With this coin mostly being for circulation, having an uncirculated gem such as MS-66 and MS-67 is very sought-after. With their rarity, the higher grades are a far cry from the value of the lower ones.

You can see the jump from the MS-65, which has an estimated value of $20, to an astonishing $650 for the MS-66. Meanwhile, the MS-67 more than quadrupled the value of the grade before It at an estimated $2,750.

1961 D Full Step Value

1961 D Full Step Value
1961-D 5C, FS (Regular Strike) Jefferson Nickel

Still, in relation to the poor-quality strikes, the Denver Mint did not produce a lot of 6FS nickels. In fact, the census is so tiny that there is no mention or estimated price for it at all.

However, it still offers a good number of the lower 5FS strike characters. The base price for it comes at around $150 to $450 for the grades MS-60 to MS-62. Then, it’s a jump to the thousands with MS-63 with a price of $2,500.

The Full Step from Denver Mint only goes up to MS-65 for $20,000. Its lower grade is a mix of worn dies and the coin being mostly for circulation.

These coins were already selling for thousands in the early 2000s. You can check this particular 5FS D Nickel, which sold for $23,000 in 2004. With that being almost twenty years ago, there is a great chance that the value of this coin has increased.

1961 Nickel Proof Value

1961 Nickel Proof Value
1961 5C (Proof) Jefferson Nickel

In the year 1961, sales for proof sets almost doubled compared to the previous year. This surge in interest can largely be attributed to the rare Small Date proof cents minted in 1960.

The coin market boomed over the next few years before abruptly declining at the end of 1964. Today, the 1961 Small Date proof cent is easily found in all conditions up to PF-68. However, only a small percentage of these coins will exhibit excellent quality strikes.

The 1961 Nickel Proof coins start at the MS-64 and end at the MS-69. The standard proof coin starts at $10 and can go up to $100.

1961 Nickel Proof: Grading and Value Chart
Grading 1961 Proof 1961 Cameo Proof 1961 Ultra Cameo Proof
MS PF 64 $10.00 $15.00 $40.00
MS PF 65 $15.00 $20.00 $55.00
MS PF 66 $20.00 $25.00 $75.00
MS PF 67 $25.00 $40.00 $100.00
MS PF 68 $35.00 $65.00 $375.00
MS PF 69 $100.00 $175.00 $1,250.00

Meanwhile, the Cameo Proof has a higher value at $15 to $175. Although they are already higher in price than the face value, the Ultra Cameo more than doubles this estimate.

The 1961 Nickel Ultra Cameo Proof has a value of $40 to $1,250.

On the other hand, proof versions of the nickels showcase distinct variations caused by repeated stampings. Nevertheless, since only a small quantity of these were released into circulation, their effect is minimal.

1961 Nickel Error Coins

The 1961 Nickel has a surprisingly short list of error coins. Despite having lower quality dies, the amount of these coins in the market is fairly low. Some of the samples are:

1. 1961 Triple Die Reverse Error

1961 Triple Die Reverse Error

Triple Die Reverse happens when the die engraves double the coin’s image. This happens in the striking press, where the blank or the die is not aligned and struck well.

The 1961 Nickel production produced a couple of these errors, added as a variety of DDR-013 FS-801. They vary in price and are very dependent on how noticeable the error is.

The coin in the picture has reached $169. It has a triple strike obverse and is very noticeable. It also has a PF-66 grading, increasing its value.

Compare that to this circulated D Nickel also with a triple die obverse. It’s up for only $45.00.

2. 1961 Repunched Mintmark Error

1961 Repunched Mintmark Error

An RPM or repunched mintmark variety occurs when the mintmark stamp accidentally makes multiple overlapping impressions on a coin die. This type of error is often caused by the letter punch not hitting the die correctly, resulting in slightly offset or shifted marks. It is a common and well-known error among coin collectors.

Most RPMs are described as D over D or D/D for the Denver Mintmark. It’s the same with the other mint locations: S/S or P/P.

With its commonality and very subtle features, most RPMs do not cost much. This 1961 Nickel with a D/D RPM error, just fetches for $25. Not as high as some of the errors mentioned above.

1961 Nickel Value Grading Based on Four Conditions

Aside from the Full Step special strike character we discussed earlier, the value of the 1961 Nickel is also reflected in their grading.

Uncirculated State

Uncirculated or coins with the grading MS-60 and above are amongst the most sought-after grading you can go after. These coins show little to no wear, even under magnification. You’ll notice that Jefferson’s hair detail will still be intact. Also, the details of the Monticello are easily seen, especially in the steps.

Extremely Fine State

Extremely Fine (XF-40) grading shows a small amount of wear, especially in the part of Jefferson’s hair. It’s due to the slight circulation it went through, with the higher details tend to flatten first. That said, most elements are still intact and easily separated by sight.

Fine State

Fine (F-12) nickels have a good amount of wear and loss of luster. In its current state, much of the intricate features in Jefferson’s hair are lost. The forehead appears flattened and blends into the hairline on the sides.

Good State

Most surviving nickels today fall into the lower end of the grading scale. One noticeable effect is intricate features such as hairlines have blended into Jefferson’s face. Additionally, the depiction of Monticello on the reverse side lacks distinct separation in the steps.

In Conclusion

To summarize, the 1961 Jefferson Nickel offers excellent value due to being an old series and quality strike. Although there are not many rare errors for this year, having a Full Step or uncirculated grade will ensure that your coins are higher than their face value.

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