My Jefferson nickel collection.

leothelyonleothelyon Posts: 7,407 ✭✭✭
edited November 17, 2018 9:00AM in U.S. Coin Forum

Showing years 1938 through 1970, more to come. Some time ago, I think I showed only a list of my collection. Regards Leon
In the beginning when PCGS started grading full step Jefferson nickels, they didn't grade the wavy steps right away. This one is obviously an example that also grades higher. Incredible hair detail. (All captions reference the coin below)

This proof is awesome because it shows all 6 wavy steps.

Another look;

If you don't feel a need to read all my garb, simply keep scrolling down.
If there was ever a lesson to be learned while the observer browses through this collection, he or she may notice that most of the coins are fully struck. Of course this depends on the experience one has with this series. If your goal is to complete a high grade set within a year or 2, expect many of the coins to have mushy or weak soft strikes. Spend 10 years, the quality of your collection will go up/improve. That is, if your mind is/was set on locating fully struck nickels with steps. I have 28+ years into this set and if you have been around the block a few times, one just might recognize a few other nice qualities about this set. But for now, every coin will show as much detail the sculptor intended to engrave in his design of the Jefferson nickel. This means the coin was stamped early in the life of fresh new dies. The above info is important to understand including a few other aspects you will need to know about collecting Jefferson nickels. The one major problem being the search for quality material and one can’t easily find them for many particular dates. So a collector settles for less, coins with mushy strikes with the idea such coins will eventually upgrade if and when better quality examples are found.
Consequently, after a pair of working dies have stamped tens of thousands coin blanks, the details in the working dies have the tendency to wear off/down to almost nothing. For instance, the windows on the Monticello would faded away and/or the deep hairlines on Jefferson would not be all that prominent anymore. Such coins with missing/lacking details are considered to have a mushy or a weak worthless strike and should not grade higher than MS64. Grading such coins higher is calling something it is not, becomes a misnomer, an incorrect call in coin grading. MS65 and up should be reserved for coins with complete strikes. But this has not been the case. Under what exclusive grades do full strikes fall under/get credit? 0 because poor strikes and full strikes have all been lumped together under all grades. A coin with a poor strike takes away the most aesthetic, beautiful aspect/appeal of the coin....the 3 dimensional designs/devices, the initial works of the sculptor Felix Schlag. Granted, assembling a set where every date is fully struck with the best of full steps will take an enormous amount of effort over a long period of time. But here, you will see in each coin, one after another, as you scroll down, deep hairlines and very detail Monticello buildings.
Subsequently, as the details on a die wear down, the steps on the Monticello begin to strike up more/fill in more frequently, become more visible on the Monticello. Full steps on the Monticello building on the reverse side of the Jefferson nickel is a very hot item for many collectors. Professional grading companies have and will designate full steps (FS) on the Jefferson nickel whether the coin has a complete detailed strike or not. You will become aware that many Jefferson nickels struck from worn dies will have very detailed steps have been designated FS. This phenom occurs when the metal can’t flow where there were once details to flow into. So...with no place to go, the metal will eventually make its way the steps. This is the phenom of this series where we see that only the steps have struck up on a coin and all the other details are mushy. But in this collection, superior fully struck coins are on display here for every date. As you will see in this collection, I have searched long and hard for the best of strike, condition and steps for every date and mint mark. I also loved finding 6 step and proof-like examples but they still needed to have crisp strikes.
I believe the US Mint made every effort in the production of US coins to give coin collectors true collector coins. They did this by spending many man hours in the design of the coin and by using higher coining pressure in striking well centered fully detailed designed coins for our enjoyment and to preserve our nation’s history. Once a set of working dies started to show signs of wear, the coining pressure was lowered to reduce the stress to the dies to make the dies last longer and to strike as many additional coins for circulation as possible for commerce before retiring the dies. I said, every coin has the best strike I could find them in which took some 28+ years to assemble. There's no "fools gold" in this collection. Years ago, someone once quipped, jokingly, 'you have the million dollar collection". I have also receive much fanfare and many great comments and a few offers for this set over the years.
But anyway, keep the above in mind as you sift through this collection. If anything, I guess the above info was important to pass along because many are unaware of the difficulty in building a set like this. After viewing this collection, hopefully you will have gained/walk away with a renewed sense of respect for this series. Thanks, Leo

Those raised lines on the rim were made by a cutting lathe bit as it was applied to the master hub, than transferred three times down to the working die. This rarely seen detail leads me to believe this coin has a very early die state (EDS) strike. This 1939-D Type 1, a 1940-P, 1950 and 1950-D 6 steps in this set all have these cutting tool die markings.

The only thing I like about this coin are the colors. The strike, condition and luster all could be better. But I tried adding a colorful coin for every date but didn't succeed.

The thing about a photo, you're viewing a coin from one single direction. In hand, a coin is viewed in many angles. So...for certain, a coin in hand will look many times better and this coin rocks!

What caused those concentric circular lines? Viewing the following YouTube film, 'How coins are made.', likely produced in 1938. At the 2:20 mark, one will see how those lines came about. I might not be able to show you an example of a very first struck coin made for a specific date but I've come very darn close.

I remember.....buying this coin, I had asked the seller if he had a "return policy". His reply was, 'when you see this coin, you won't need one". And right he was.

At that 2:20 mark of this video, see how those raised lines were made.

A weak obverse strike is the reason there are 6 full steps on this one But the reason it's being shown is due to the rare proof-like fields. Besides this coin, there are 11 others in this set that exhibit proof-like finishes. 41S, 46P, 46S, 51S, 57P, 59P, 61P, 62-D, 63P, 68D, 70S.

A MS68FS piece, IMO.


Three silver nickels went into a #1 Registry set, all MS67FS coins. 43-P & S, 44-D all upgraded to
MS67+FS. The 44-D somehow ended up in 1 of only 2 coins NGC has ever graded MS68 6 Steps. I have pics of this awesome coin if you would like to see it.
Also sold a 1943/2-P that eventually graded MS67FS.

Well....I'm giving up on putting these coins in order P,D and S, my apologies.

This 1946-P has 6 steps, proof-like fields and a very strong strike making it a very rare coin to own.

Came in a PCGS MS64FS holder, cracked it to see how NGC would grade it.
Questionable color. Got a chuckle out of it anyway over the whole ordeal. Aside from the very noticeable cheek mark that may be a planchet flaw that didn't smooth out when stamped or a struck-thru, the strike is very strong and rare for this date, perhaps EDS. There are also 6 full steps with a long thin nick and the luster being subtle is another indication of EDS. And there are 5-6 other marks, mostly hidden in the hair and on the Monticello but someone like me could value this coin very high and I have, although one could argue technically, doesn't grade very high.....but it does with me...MS66+FS awesome EDS example. Depends, from experience, how one should look at it. But, than again, most of my coins do have that EDS-ish look about them. :smile:

A coin from the #1 PAKman Adolf Weiss.

Believe it or not, the obverse is not fully struck on this 6 stepper.

Toothpick Thomas variety (My discovery?) See CoinFacts for another example.

1949PDS are very tough dates to find fully struck.

Cutting tool bit markings from obverse working die circumferences the entire obverse
of this coin. The lack of metal flow lines inhibit the luster although north to south die polish
lines have help it. West to east die polish lines on reverse. Very EDS strike.

Exhibits cutting tool bit markings from obverse working die at 2:00 to 5:00.
This example has a very early EDS strike. The prevalence of 6 steps and subtle
golden luster (not the grey you see in picture) are also indications of an EDS strike.
Thousands of unc. rolls were save of this lowest mintage date but ANACS certified only two 6 steppers. And remember, the tread and riser need to be on that 6th step, no squeakers allowed. And this one could easily grade MS68 with all it has going for it.

Locating fully detailed lustrous examples for many of the dates 1950 to 1970 was extremely

MS68FS quality this one.

Very first coin ANACS certified FS, than another came 6 months later.

I used to own a MS65FS example, now in a MS65+FS holder. Click here to see that coin, top right. The following coin is the 2nd best 53-S to own, due to the fact no-one has ever shown me a better struck example with steps.

Here's one with remarkable clean surfaces.

Here's another with color. The coin above and below have less than a full strike.

Weak strike, full steps? Why is that? The metal has to flow somewhere when details on one die have been stamped out. One can easily see Jefferson's deep hairlines are missing but wah-lah, the steps magically appear.

Here's another flawed strike. When one can knock holes in your collection because of coins like this, the quality of your set will go south in a hurry. Potential buyers will stop, in a second, from viewing your coins. But since this is the 1954-S/D variety which is prone to defects/weak strike, I decided to post it anyway to illustrate this flaw that can be seen on many dates in this series careful. I believe it's rare to locate this variety with a complete strike. I have seen at least one. Coin grading companies have encapsulated coins with such a flaw as high as MS67FS.

Can you see the scuffs on the holder of this colorful high grade 55D? This coin in slab was tossed back and forth across a table.

Very tough dates to find fully struck.

A black beauty.

Time for a coin grading lesson. The way to tell a fully struck coin from a coin with a less than a full strike is by looking at the very top of Jefferson's head. Grading the next two coins, both 1958-Ds, the first is smooth, missing the hairlines while the second coin has hairlines that are much bolder. This is the very last area to look to verify a full strike........every time. This is also the way to distinguish 2004 to 2018 mint set coins from coins made for circulation..... it's in the hair bangs.
I should also note here that the following example is the last of several six steppers in the 1938 to 1970 set.

I was surprised finding this second 1960-P with a nice strike.

The early set ends in 1970 not 1964 because 1970 was the last year/date the U. S. Mint struck with the 1st set of master hubs. New master hubs were made for 1971. Try remembering this fact folks.

A big thanks to you if you browsed down this far.
Regards, Leo


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