The 1964 nickel is a unique coin that stands out from the rest. It is a 5-cent coin that was first minted in 1866, but what makes the 1964 nickel rare and valuable.
This article will explore the factors that make the 1964 nickel unique and sought after by collectors.
One of the main reasons the 1964 nickel is rare is its limited mintage.
In 1964, the United States faced a coin shortage, leading Congress to authorize a dating freeze on the Jefferson nickel.
This meant no new nickels were produced in 1965, making the 1964 nickel the last of its kind.
Additionally, only a few special mint sets (SMS) were produced in 1964, making them even rarer and more valuable.
1. The limited mintage and special mint sets produced in 1964 make the 1964 nickel rare and valuable.
2. Collectors look for unique qualities that set a 1964 nickel apart from others, making preservation and proper storage important for maintaining its value.
The Rarity of 1964 Nickels
1964 nickels are considered rare due to a combination of minting errors and production volume.
This section will explore what makes these coins so valuable and sought after.
One of the main reasons why 1964 nickels are rare is due to minting errors. Some of these errors include the following:
- Missing Mint Mark
- Some 1964 nickels were produced without a mint mark, making them valuable to collectors.
- Double Die Obverse
- This error occurs when the obverse die is struck twice, resulting in a doubled image. This error is rare and highly sought after by collectors.
- Other errors include missing letters or numbers, die cracks, and more.
Another reason why 1964 nickels are rare is due to their production volume. In 1964, the United States Mint produced over 1.7 billion nickels.
However, due to the coin shortage, many of these coins were not released into circulation until later years. As a result, many of the 1964 nickels were melted, making them even rarer.
Furthermore, the production of 1964 nickels continued into the following year, with over 2.8 billion nickels dated 1964 being produced.
This means the 1964 nickel has the highest mintage total of any nickel in United States history.
Still, the fact that they were produced over multiple years makes them less common than other nickels with lower mintage totals.
Factors Affecting Value
When it comes to determining the value of this coin, there are a few factors that collectors and dealers consider. The two main factors are the condition of the coin and the demand for it.
The condition of a 1964 nickel can greatly affect its value.
Coins in excellent condition that have not been circulated are worth more than those that are heavily circulated or damaged.
Collectors use a grading system to determine the condition of a coin, with grades ranging from Poor (P-1) to Perfect Uncirculated (MS-70).
The demand for a 1964 nickel can also affect its value.
If a particular coin is rare and highly sought after by collectors, its value will be higher than a more common coin.
In the case of the 1964 nickel, a few factors make it rare and desirable to collectors.
One of the main reasons the 1964 nickel is rare is that it was the last year that nickels were made with a composition of 90% silver.
After 1964, the composition was changed to a blend of copper and nickel.
Additionally, there are a few varieties of the 1964 nickel that are even rarer and more valuable, such as the “D” and “S” mint mark varieties and the Special Mint Set (SMS) variety.
Historical Context of 1964 Nickels
In 1964, the United States faced a coin shortage due to the increasing demand for coins and a decrease in the supply of silver.
As a result, Congress authorized a dating freeze on the Jefferson Nickel, which meant that no new nickels would be minted with the current year’s date.
This allowed the US Mint to focus on producing more coins without worrying about changing the date.
The 1964 Jefferson Nickel was the last 5-cent coin to bear a mint mark until 1968.
The nickels were produced in large quantities at the Philadelphia and Denver mints, with the Philadelphia mint producing over 1.5 billion nickels and the Denver mint producing over 1.7 billion nickels.
Despite the number of 1964 nickels produced, some are considered rare and valuable due to certain errors and variations.
For example, the 1964 SMS (Special Mint Set) FS (Full Steps) nickel is one of the rarest and most valuable nickels, with only 40 examples believed to exist.
Another factor that can affect the value of a 1964 nickel is its condition and aesthetic appeal.
Top-grade examples without signs of wear or damage can be worth a premium over face value.
However, most 1964 nickels in circulation today are worth only their face value of five cents.
How to Identify a Rare 1964 Nickel
When identifying a rare 1964 nickel, the first thing to look for is the mint mark.
The 1964 nickel was produced in Philadelphia and Denver, so any nickels with the “S” mint mark are not genuine.
Additionally, the “D” mint mark is found on nickels from Denver, while the Philadelphia mint did not use a mint mark.
Another important marking to look for is the “FS” designation.
This stands for “Full Steps” and refers to the number of visible steps on the Monticello building on the reverse side of the coin.
A nickel with full steps is much rarer and more valuable than one without.
The coin’s condition is also important when identifying a rare 1964 nickel.
Coins that are in uncirculated condition or have minimal wear are worth more than those that are heavily circulated or damaged.
One physical attribute to look for is the strike quality. A well-struck nickel will have clear details and sharp edges, while a poorly struck one may have weak or missing details. This can affect the value of the coin.
Another attribute to consider is any errors or varieties in the coin.
For example, the 1964 SMS nickel has a unique finish and is much rarer than the standard nickels.
Additionally, there are some 1964 nickels with errors, such as double-dies or missing letters, which can significantly increase their value.
Preserving and Storing Rare Nickels
Regarding rare coins like the 1964 nickel, proper preservation and storage are essential to maintain their value and condition.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid touching the coin with your bare hands, as the oils and acids from your skin can damage the surface. Use gloves or hold the coin by its edges when handling it.
- Store the coin in a protective holder or capsule to prevent it from getting scratched or damaged. Avoid using PVC materials as they can react with the coin and cause damage over time.
- Keep the coin in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture and humidity from affecting it. Exposure to sunlight or extreme temperatures can also damage the coin.
- If you plan to display the coin, choose a display case designed for coin collecting that offers protection from dust and other environmental factors.
- Avoid cleaning the coin as it can cause damage and reduce its value. If you need to remove dirt or debris, gently wipe the surface with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.
By following these tips, collectors can ensure that their rare 1964 nickels remain in top condition and retain their value for years to come.
Before you go…
Overall, the 1964 nickel is a fascinating piece of American currency with a rich history and unique characteristics that make it a valuable addition to any collection. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting, the 1964 nickel is worth exploring.
Check out my next article: “What Years Are Nickels Made of Silver?“