1938 Nickel

Last updated: February, 04 2024

CoinTrackers.com estimates the value of a 1938 Jefferson Nickel in average condition to be worth $6.00, while one in mint state could be valued around $35.00.

1938 Nickel
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  • Key: Semi-Key Date
  • Year: 1938
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Type: Jefferson Nickel
  • Price: $6.00-$35.00+
  • Face Value: 0.05 USD
  • Produced: 19,496,000
  • Edge: Smooth

Notes: There were 19496 1938 Jefferson Nickels issued as proofs and they are worth well over $100 each. Great value taken from Heritage Auction.

Full Steps Monticello

Full steps on the reverse of the nickel leading up to Monticello the famous residence of Thomas Jefferson are one of the most coveted features for a graded specimen.

PCGS calls it FS (full steps), while NGS calls its 5FS (5 full steps), both are the same they have just been marked differently depending on who graded the coin. See examples below.

Does Your Nickel have Full Steps?

Well first make sure the coin is reverse side up and use a magnifying glass or something similar to magnify the coin. The reverse should have 5 steps clean and sharp. See image below.

FS NickelPCGS Using FS


Production Chart

Price Chart

Rates listed here refer to professionally graded and slabbed coins. If new to collecting the prices below might not make sense.

If this coins has been designated as FS or full steps by on of the primary grading companies like NGC and PCGS then there is often a 2-4x multiplier on the price of this coin making its significantly more valuable than the prices listed here.

  • Grade AU55 = $5-$9
  • Grade AU58 = $5-$8
  • Grade MS60 = $8-$10
  • Grade MS61 = $8-$13
  • Grade MS62 = $9-$15
  • Grade MS63 = $11-$19
  • Grade MS64 = $15-$25
  • Grade MS65 = $19-$31
  • Grade MS66 = $41-$69
  • Grade MS67 = $263-$438

Is the list above a little overwhelming? If so, take 5 minutes to learn all about Coin Grading.

It's also important to note...Prices are subject to the same supply and demand laws as everything else. Coins sold at the same auction house 10x, would fetch drastically different bids each session. To raise your chances of receiving top dollar read How to Get the Most for your Coins.

We've personally researched these values. If you enjoy our content please return the favor and share this page with your friends.

How much is a 1938 Nickel worth?

In Average Circulated (AC) condition it's worth around $6.00, one in certified mint state (MS+) condition could bring as much as $35 at auction. This price does not reference any standard coin grading scale. So when we say Average Circulated, we mean in a similar condition to other coins circulated in 1938, and mint state meaning it is certified MS+ by one of the top coin grading companies. *** [?].

What are your coins really worth?

Use the handy-dandy calculator below to find the real value of any jefferson nickel in your collection.

whats your nickel worth

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Specs & Design

This coin has a total mass of 5 g, a diameter of 21.21 mm, and a thickness of 1.95 mm. It's edge is smooth, and the coins are composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

Designer: Felix Schlag

Front (Obverse): The front of this coin has the bust of Thomas Jefferson featured front and center. The words IN GOD WE TRUST are on the left most portion, with the word LIBERTY on the right just above the date. If a mint mark is present it will be just below the date.

Back (Reverse): The reverse features the Monticello located in Albemarle County, VA. The Monticello was the long time home of Jefferson. The words E PLUIRIBUS UNUM, meaning out of many one are draped across the top, while the words FIVE CENTS, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are featured on the bottom.

Most Valuable

The most valuable Jefferson Nickel's. Prices listed are for MS-65 certified. Visit the link to learn more about each coin.

Image Year Mint Worth
Jefferson Nickel 1940 $170
Jefferson Nickel 1955 D $120
Jefferson Nickel 1963 D $102
Jefferson Nickel 1942 D $100
Jefferson Nickel 1940 D $90
Jefferson Nickel 1944 S $85
Jefferson Nickel 1939 S $80
Jefferson Nickel 1955 $80
Jefferson Nickel 1983 S $80
Jefferson Nickel 1938 D $75
Jefferson Nickel 1942 $75
Jefferson Nickel 1944 D $75
Jefferson Nickel 1946 $75
Jefferson Nickel 1947 $75
Jefferson Nickel 1943 D $72
Jefferson Nickel 1942 P $70
Jefferson Nickel 1941 $65
Jefferson Nickel 1943 S $65
Jefferson Nickel 1944 P $65
Jefferson Nickel 1962 D $65
Jefferson Nickel 1939 D $60
Jefferson Nickel 1941 D $60
Jefferson Nickel 1951 D $60
Jefferson Nickel 1941 S $55
Jefferson Nickel 1948 $55
Jefferson Nickel 1949 $54
Jefferson Nickel 1938 S $50
Jefferson Nickel 1939 $50
Jefferson Nickel 1940 S $50
Jefferson Nickel 1942 S $48
Jefferson Nickel 1946 D $45
Jefferson Nickel 1949 D $45
Jefferson Nickel 1961 D $45
Jefferson Nickel 1956 D $43
Jefferson Nickel 1964 $43
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1989 P $345.22
1989 $345,000
1989 D $345
Image Name Mint Worth

Want more? Click here to see the most valuable coins ever minted.

***Price subject to standard supply and demand laws, dealer premiums, and other market variations. Prices represent past values fetched at online auctions, estate sales, certified coins being sold by dealers, and user submitted values. While we wholeheartedly try to give honest price estimates there are many factors besides appearance, metal content, and rarity that help make up the coins overall value. Call or visit your local coin dealer for more information.