My Jefferson Nickel Collection.
Showing years 1938 through 1970, more to come. Some time ago, I think I showed only a list of my collection.
Regards Leon [email protected]
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.
A brilliant lustrous example.
Simply keep scrolling down If you don't feel like reading all my garb.
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 set within a year or 2, expect many of the coins to have a mushy or weak soft strikes. Spend 10 years, the quality of your collection will go up/improve. That is, if your mind is set on locating fully struck, high grade nickels with the best of Monticello 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 Felix Schlag intended to engrave in his design of the Jefferson nickel. This means, a coin stamped early in the life of fresh new dies will have a very sharp detailed strike. The above info is important to remember including a few other aspects you will need to know about collecting Jefferson nickels. The one major problem being the search for fully detailed material and one can’t easily find them for many particular dates. So a collector has to settle for less, with coins with mushy strikes with the idea that such coins will eventually upgrade if and when better quality examples are found......if they're even looking for them as many have given up.
Consequently, after a pair of working dies have stamped tens of thousands coin blanks, the details in the working dies had the tendency to get hammered out, worn off/down to almost nothing. For instance, the windows on the Monticello will appear faded away and/or the deep hairlines on Jefferson would not be all that prominent anymore. When there are little details left on the die, not much of anything will get transferred over to the planchet. This was due to the very hard chemical element nickel used to make the planchets/coin blanks. Such coins with missing/lacking details are considered to have a mushy or a weak worthless strike and such coins ought not grade above MS64 (unless nicely toned on a medium strike, MS65). Grading such coins higher is calling something it is not, becoming a misnomer of an incorrect call in coin grading. MS65 and up should be reserved for coins with complete detailed strikes. But this has not been the case. Under what exclusive grades/titles do fully struck coins fall under/get credit/noticed? Zero, because poor strikes and full strikes have all been all lumped together under all grades. A coin with a poor strike takes away the most aesthetic, beautiful aspect/appeal of a coin....the 3 dimensional designs/devices, the initial minute detailed works of the sculptor Felix Schlag. Granted, assembling a set where every date is fully struck with the best of full steps (as you will see) will take an enormous amount of effort over a long period of time. But here, you will see in each coin, one after another, deep hairlines, sharp digits and a very detail Monticello building.
Full steps on the Monticello building on the reverse side of the Jefferson nickel has been and still is a very hot item for many collectors/years. But subsequently, as a pair of working dies strike thousands of coins the details on the dies will wear down. And at the same time, the steps on the Monticello will have the tendency to strike up/fill in more, become more visible on the Monticello. What's taking place here is what I have termed the 'phenomenal effect", phenom for short. If you are not aware of this yet, you will learn that many Jefferson nickels struck from worn dies will have very detailed steps and many 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 to the steps.....again. Professional grading companies have and will continue to designate full steps (FS) on the Jefferson nickel whether the coin has a complete detailed strike or not. This is the phenom of this series where we see that only the steps have struck up on a coin while all the other details are mushy/weak, have suffered.
But yet, the US Mint did strike coins where all the details were complete with deep hairlines, sharp windows and full steps, some with 6 steps. How did they accomplish this, you may/should be asking? The only way they accomplished this was when the dies were new they used higher coining pressure. This is how they made us collector coins. But once the dies started to show wear, they would reduce the coining pressure to stamp as many coins for circulation before a die was retired. The reduction of that pressure also started the phenom effect. But in this collection, superior struck coins are on display here for every date and they are rare and are almost impossible to find. To believe this fact, all one has to do is look at what's been graded, what a Google or Bing search for Jefferson nickels will show you, plenty of examples with weak strikes.
Be sure to check out the five awesome coins that show evidence of the lathe cutting bit that created the master hubs. I have included a short 10 minute YouTube video on, "How coins are made" (Two links are provided below). As you will see and learn in this collection, is that 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 allow the dies to last longer, to strike as many additional coins for circulation/commerce as possible before retiring the dies. Hopefully after viewing this set, you will have learn the differences between a collectors coin and one made from the running mill.
Collecting coins by the state/stage/condition of the dies is a very important aspect of a most enjoyable and satisfying hunt. In searching out fully struck Jefferson nickels, experience will be your only guide as to what you can reasonably expect will be your best coin.
Is the coin all there? is what I'd always say. I was always searching for a coin that was just as great as the last one or to better it, if possible. This is what I have learned.
So.....like I said, every coin has the best strike I could find them in which took some 28+ years to assemble. Years ago, someone once quipped, jokingly, 'you have the million dollar collection". I have also receive much fanfare and many great comments including a few offers 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 new 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 create the master hubs, than transferred three times down to the working die; master hub to the master die, master die to the working hub, working hub to the working die. This rarely seen detail leads us to believe this coin has a very early die state (EDS) strike. This new relevance also tells us something about the wavy steps. This 1939-D Type 1, a 1939 Type 2, a 1940-P, 1950-P and 1950-D 6 steps in this set all have evidence of 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 for this set but didn't succeed.
The thing about a photo, you're viewing a coin from only one single direction. In hand, a coin is viewed in many angles. So...for certain, the luster and toning of 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. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+coins+are+made&&view=detail&mid=4DBC86B1D5C99F8470A84DBC86B1D5C99F8470A8&rvsmid=9DBF4FB84F1CE988510B9DBF4FB84F1CE988510B&FORM=VDQVAP
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. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+coins+are+made&&view=detail&mid=4DBC86B1D5C99F8470A84DBC86B1D5C99F8470A8&rvsmid=9DBF4FB84F1CE988510B9DBF4FB84F1CE988510B&FORM=VDQVAP
A weak obverse strike is the reason there are 6 full steps on this one due to the phenom effect. But the reason it's being shown is due to the rare proof-like fields for an early date business strike. There are 13 coins in this set that exhibit proof-like finishes. 40D, 41S, 46P, 46S, 51S, 57P, 59P, 61P, 62-D, 63P, a 64D with a weak strike and long scratch but it's frosty, 68D, 70S. I just loved proof-like coins. I believed mirrored fields, the extra polishing, was an extended form of luster, a step up that gave a coin greater eye appeal. So...you may notice other coins other than the ones noted with some degree of proof-like surfaces.
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.
Once had 3 very nice 1943-S examples; an ANACS MS67 5 steps, PCGS MS67 5+ steps but no FS designation and a ANACS MS66 5 steps. Had to decide which to send to PCGS. Sent the MS66 and PCGS graded it MS67FS. Years later sold it and it was upgraded to MS67+FS. But the coin I always loved most due to its strike was the ANACS MS67 5 steps shown here.
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 an EDS strike. And there are 5-6 marks, mostly hidden in the hair and on the Monticello but someone like me have valued this coin very high, although one could argue technically, doesn't grade very high. Depends, from experience, how one should look at it. Taking coin grading a step further, when a coin has an EDS strike....somehow the condition and luster seems to play a lesser role in a coin's overall grade?
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.
Because of it's very detailed strike, this too, is an awesome coin.
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 helped it. West to east die polish lines on reverse. Very EDS strike. Somewhat proof-like.
But here is a theory of mine. Towards the end of the 1940's, we can see as the years progressed, locating EDS examples became more difficult. Then, in 1950, BAM, we have a very early die state strike appearing again on this date. What happened? I believe the US Mint made 3 sets of Master dies from the one set of Master hubs. And at 10-12 year intervals, they would start with a new set of Master dies, the first in 1938, the second in 1950 and the third in 1960. The example I have for 1960 proves this. But than again........what the heck happened with the 1960-D? And the 1961-D? The steps started appearing again with regularity for the 1962-D, slacks off a bit for the 1963-D but picks up again with the 1964-D.
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. Because the CGCs don't see any luster on this first strike, they won't grade it very high. But they don't know the importance/rarity of a very early die state strike, subtle luster with six complete steps. Reasons why this coin remains in it's ANACS holder.
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. http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/Coin/Detail/84051 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 so....be 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 deep hairlines while the second coin has hairlines that are much bolder. This is one of the very last areas to look for to verify a full strike........every time. The end steps on the Monticello, not just the center steps, also need to be fully struck. Also, the way to distinguish 2004 to 2018 mint set coins from coins made for circulation..... is in the hair bangs.
Use to own an ANACS MS66 5 stepper, was crossed to PCGS pop 6/0.
This 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.
Over the years I've owned multiples of many dates. I've also seen many graded
1962's. None were as well struck as this one. There was a dealer who had 3 MS66Fs
1962's wanting $1000 something each. That they all came from one roll. What does that tell you?
While a SMS, it gives us a glimpse of that illusive quarter step under the 2nd pillar.
Just look at the hair details, very close to what was impressed 30 years prior in 1938, absolutely amazing! And there's a 6645 QSC to boot. Unlike the 65FS example showing in CoinFacts, no hairlines, soft windows but there are steps? The strike of the 64FS is stronger thereby, the better coin of the two. Did I mention my coin is proof-like? Take a gander at what I want for this coin.
Oh where, oh where did I put this coin?
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 [email protected]