A Dave's Collectible Coins Article

Silver War Nickels

A few months ago we sent out an email about steel pennies that were produced to support the US during WWII. This week’s topic is similar: war nickels. They may be lesser-known than steel pennies, but they are just as exciting to collect and even more exciting to find.

How did the war nickels come into existence? In an effort to make more copper available for the war effort, the mint switched from producing nickels that were made of 75% copper and 25% nickel to a new composition of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. They were produced from 1942 to 1945. This was the first time that the Philadelphia mint mark was included on US coins. The “P” mint mark would not return again until 1979 when the mint began including it with the introduction of the Susan B. Anthony dollars.

What’s so special about war nickels? There are a few features that make war nickels worth more, the most obvious being the silver content. This fact alone makes them more valuable.  They are also different with regard to the mint mark, which is a much larger and more prominent feature on the reverse of the coin. The mint mark on war nickels is above the dome on Monticello and is present on all war nickels, even those minted in Philadelphia.

How much are war nickels worth? This depends on many factors including the condition of the coin. You can be assured that they are at least worth the value of silver content in the coins. As of this writing, a single war nickel contains 0.05626 troy ounces of silver and is worth about 90 cents, based only on the value of the silver contained in the coin.

Where can war nickels be found? If you check your pocket change often, there’s a good chance that you will still not find a single war nickel unless you happen to be extremely lucky; however, as a reminder, the quickest way to identify them is to look for the large mint mark on the reverse of the nickel. The most certain way of finding them is to purchase them from a reputable dealer. We have quite a few to offer right here on our website.

Hopefully, you feel inspired to keep an eye out for war nickels. Good luck, and happy collecting!

Thanks for reading!

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