The Jefferson Nickel is a long running coin series featuring the 3rd President of the United States and one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence. The series was launched in 1938 and has been minted for all subsequent years to date. There are no significantly low mintages for the duration of the series, making it relatively approachable for the average collector.
Felix O. Schlag was the designer of the original Jefferson Nickel. His design featured a left facing portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse with an image of his home at Monticello on the reverse. This design was used continuously from 1938 to 2003. During the following three years design changes were make to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition. At the conclusion of the series a new obverse design by Joe Fitzgerald was adopted and used for subsequent years.
Jefferson Nickel Notes:
Through 2023, there are a total of 278 different date, mint mark, and design combinations for the series, with coins struck variously at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.
The total number of coins struck for circulation stands at 67,230,542,410.
During the years 1942 to 1945, nickels were struck containing 35% silver. The total mintage of silver nickels was 869,896,100.
On the other end of the spectrum, the highest mintage was for the 1964-D Jefferson Nickel at 1,787,297,160.
From 2004 to 2005, the U.S. Mint issued the Westward Journey Nickels to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark. During these years, the Jefferson Nickel featured four new reverse designs and two new obverse designs. In total, 3,198,886,849 Westward Journey Nickels were struck, including Proof versions struck at the San Francisco Mint.
In 2009, many collectors were surprised by the mintages of 39,840,000 Philadelphia coins and 46,800,000 Denver coins. These figures represented the lowest in many decades. However, in the following years, the mintage for Philadelphia and Denver coins has significantly increased.