I searched with my an initial roll of nickels in 1993, as soon as I was 12 years old and an initial getting right into coin collecting. Ns remember finding one or two pre-1960 Jefferson nickels in practically every roll ago in those days, however I didn’t discover my first wartime nickel, a Jefferson nickel made between 1942 and also 1945 and also containing a 35% silver composition, till some 15 year later. It was a 1943-P nickel in Fine problem that I found in jukebox change from a Johnny Rockets retro diner – a fitting place for together a mid-century coin find.

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I’ve picked with nickel rolls here and also there end the years, but never much more than five, possibly 10, in ~ a time. My finest roll finds were another well-circulated battle nickel and also a multitude that common-date piece from the 1940s and ’50s, through an occasional 1939 Philadelphia Mint specimen popping increase from time come time. So newly I determined to search with a $100 box of nickels, which has 50 roll of 40 nickels each. I had hopes that, maybe – finally – I’d make part really good finds. Probably I’d stumble top top one or two an ext war nickels, maybe discover a 1939-D or 1950-D nickel, or maybe even score my first roll-find Buffalo nickel.

I was admittedly enthusiastic about venturing with a box of nickels ~ having uncovered a an extremely well-worn 1903 Liberty Head nickel in adjust from McDonald’s a couple of weeks earlier, representing my oldest circulation find to date. Interestingly, it was at the same ar where in 1995 I found the coin the tied because that my previous-oldest circulation find: a 1919 Lincoln cent. I thought there could be some an excellent coin vibes flowing about there, and it works out well the my financial institution is just next door. I’m lovin’ that!

I dubbed the financial institution to stimulate a box of nickels, and within a week my rolls were all set for pickup. I walked in, confident I’d be walking out with something spectacular. I obtained home, placed the box on mine dining room table, and also went come town.

What did I find in my Nickel Rolls?

Things got exciting when, on my very first roll, ns uncovered a 1947 Jefferson nickel. “Surely that’s just the start of things,” i quietly assured myself.

Then, roll after roll started coming up dry. No pre-1960 Jeffersons. No Buffalos. Finally, around the 10th roll, i came throughout two pre-1960 Jefferson nickels – both typical dates indigenous the ’40s and ’50s. Yet otherwise there to be nothing of keep in mind rolling top top to my table.

Among every 50 rolls, i made the following pre-1960 finds:


Let me call you, follow to this single box the nickels, it wasn’t 1993 anymore. I ultimately uncovered a lower frequency the pre-1960 Jefferson nickels 보다 I experienced in the mid-1990s. Just 19 of the coins dated before 1960, and also none were from the ’30s. No one were there any war nickels. Or Buffalo nickels.

Perhaps the most valuable find the the night? A CR 2032 watch battery, i beg your pardon sells for around $3 new at the grocery store store. There to be also around 20 brilliant Uncirculated Jefferson nickels dated before 2001, an arbitrary cutoff date I collection for myself in regards to which Uncirculated nickels ns kept.

A 1984 Canadian nickel likewise popped up.

I maintained a tally of every Jefferson nickels I found ranging in date from 1960 through 1969. This 1960s nickels aren’t have to scarce in the numismatic feeling (yet), and I quiet don’t go the end of my method to keep them. Nevertheless, they seem come be turning up with less regularity these days, most likely in huge part because of attrition from years of heavy circulation.

Combining in one complete all mint marks because that each given year, here’s what I discovered for 1960s Jefferson nickels:


If you’re adhering to along in ~ home, you’ll establish that just 96 nickels out of 2,000 to be dated native the 1960s, representing just 4.8 percent the the whole box. The complete percentage of every nickels in this crate dating before 1970 is only 5.75 percent. Again, I’m talking about pre-1970 nickels, not simply pre-1960 nickels. So possibly we collectors should broaden our horizons top top the selection of nickels us pull out of circulation. Perhaps, in a te or so, all nickels indigenous the 1960s will be much more desirable come the mean collector.

On that note, I uncovered three 1970s nickels worn listed below a class of Fine. This stood the end to me during the roll search since even in all at once color, these three coins from the ’70s looked every little bit like nickels native the ’40s and also ’50s.

I need to say, i felt substantially older for a moment.

Coming off my momentary lapse right into premature sexagenarianism, I returned to my search for anything of keep in mind in this comparatively unexciting box of nickels. I soon realized my most exciting keepers weren’t neighbors from the an excellent White North, well-worn piece dated before 1960 (or 1970), or also anything that had actually the capability to power my Swatch Watch.

My most stirring finds of the evening? 2 2009-dated Jefferson nickels. 2009 is a day that has proven elusive in circulation for plenty of collectors.

Why room 2009 Nickels for this reason Scarce?

Only 39,840,000 business-strikes to be made at the Philadelphia Mint in 2009 and 46,800,000 were struck at the Denver Mint that very same year. Including those figures together, along with the 2,179,867 proofs that rolled the end of the San Francisco Mint, and also the all at once mintage for the 2009 nickel looks much more like other one can expect from the 1950s. In fact, the last time the Philadelphia Mint had struck fewer than 39.8 million business-strike nickels to be 50 years earlier in 1959, when it produced 27,248,000 pieces. The critical time the Denver Mint had made fewer 보다 46.8 million nickels remained in 1952, as soon as the basic eked out a reasonably anemic 30,638,000 nickels (mintages pulled from the 2017 Red Book).

The Great Recession, i m sorry technically lasted from December 2007 with June 2009, dampened the need for turn coinage in the united States. However the recession didn’t just influence the manufacturing of business-strike nickels. Additionally seeing considerably lower mintages in 2009 to be the various other two higher-denomination, widely circulating coins: dimes and quarters. The Philadelphia Mint win a just 96.5 million dimes and also a accumulation 300.6 million quarters throughout all 6 District the Columbia and Territories designs, and the Denver Mint added just 49.5 million dimes and also only 335.6 million quarters. In all cases, these were the shortest business-strike, year-over-year mintage figures for dimes and also quarters in two generations.

And the helps to describe why the 2 2009 Jefferson nickels i encountered throughout my roll search to be the first I’ve seen!

Summing Up my Search

Having just searched through a likewise disappointing box of fifty percent dollars a few weeks earlier, ns was all set to throw in the roll-searching bath towel after this quite dull crate of nickels. Then i remembered the this is merely one the thousands upon thousands of boxes that nickels the end there waiting to be searched through.

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I freshly made my very first Liberty nickel uncover during a just transaction at McDonalds, and also I’ve uncovered a Buffalo nickel and also a war nickel in consistent pocket change, too. Why not take an additional look and also see what the next box of nickels lends?

As coin collectors, we discover that lot of the enjoyment the this understanding isn’t uncovered simply in getting the coins we desire – it’s in looking because that the coins we want. The thrill that the hunt is what keeps numerous of united state going. That’s the instance whether we’re searching for old Jefferson nickels, problem-free Seated Liberty dollars, or copper-nickel clad business-strike Eisenhower dollars grading Mint State-67 (which is certainly harder to uncover than you may think!).

At the finish of the day, I’m walking far from this box with a couple of new Jefferson nickels because that my gradually growing accumulation of scarce circulation finds. I’m pumped to handle some much more nickel roll soon. Besides, I’ve got a 1938-61 Jefferson nickel Whitman folder v a couple of holes to fill…

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For an ext roll looking adventures v Josh, inspect out his earlier entries in the series:

A $25 box of Lincoln Cent rolls | The $1,000 Kennedy fifty percent Dollar roll Search Challenge