» 1973 Nickel Error List & Value

1973 Nickel Error List & Value

1973 nickel value

Do you want to know the value of your 1973 Nickel?

The Jefferson Nickel is considered the longest-running coin series in American history. This nickel replaced the Buffalo nickel in 1938, which had reached its 25-years term. It gets its name from the left-facing portrait of the founding father, Thomas Jefferson.

Designed by Felix O. Schlag, the 1973 nickel is a relatively modern coin. It was discontinued in 2004, so it has not had enough time to build historical value. As a result, most pieces demand a low premium.

In this article, we will dive into the world of the 1973 nickel, highlighting its varieties and errors. We’ll also determine how much this specimen cost today. Ready to learn more? Join us below.

1973 Nickel Value Chart

Mint Mark Condition
Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated
1973 “no mint mark” Nickel Value $0.10 $0.10 $0.10 $1 – $350
1973 “D” Nickel Value $0.10 $0.10 $0.10 $0.84 – $200
1973 “S” Nickel Value $4 – $300

1973 No Mint Mark Nickel Value

1973 No Mint Mark Nickel Value
Image Credit: usacoinbook

Launched in 1938 after the release of the Lincoln Cent and Washington Quarter, the Jefferson nickel is the third coin series to depict a former President on its obverse.

In early 1938, the mint held an open competition, requiring participants to create a coin showcasing a bust of Jefferson on the obverse and the president’s Monticello house on the reverse. Felix Schlag won the competition, earning himself a stop in history books.

Schlag’s initial design showed a three-quarter view of Monticello, along with a tree. But officials turned down the design and requested him to change the reverse to a head-on perspective or plain view of Monticello.

The obverse design showed a left-facing bust of the 3rd president of America and included the inscriptions In God We Trust, Liberty, and production date. As for the reverse, it featured the historic Jefferson home, Monticello. Felix also engraved the motto E Pluribus Unum and the words United States of America, Monticello, and Five Cents.

Jefferson Nickels maintained the same design for more than a decade. In 2004, the mint altered the design to honor the 200th bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition and Louisiana Purchase. In 2006, Monticello returned to the reverse, but with two new images of Jefferson.

In 1973, the Philadelphia Mint recorded the highest mintage. It struck 384,396,000 Jefferson nickels struck with no mint mark. Unlike rare pieces like the 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel, these units fetch a low price in the current market.

In average condition, a 1973 “no mint mark” Jefferson nickel is worth $0.10. Expect a slightly higher price for uncirculated pieces in pristine condition.
High-quality specimens can sell for as much as $350. But in the open market, their value may increase even further. For example, a 1973- no mint mark graded at MS66 by PCGS sold for $2,300 in Heritage Auctions. Another numismatics spent $1,538 on a unique piece with full Monticello steps in 2020.

1973 D Nickel Value

1973 D Nickel Value

Initially, Jefferson nickels contained 75% copper and 25% nickel. They weighed 5 grams (0.17637 ounces) and had a diameter of 21.21mm (0.83505 inches). But nickel shortage during World War II forced the US Mint to change the coin’s composition.

Exploring the History and Modern Evolution of US Coins
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From 1942 to 1945, the mint used 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese for nickels. For easy sorting and withdrawal after the war, the mint moved the mintmark to reverse, just above the Monticello, and increased its size. The nickel reverted to its pre-war composition in 1946.

In 1973, the Denver mint recorded a mintage of 361, 405,000 Jefferson nickels. The coins have a “D” mint mark and a plain, smooth edge. At the current coin market, a circulated 1973-D nickel in good condition sells for $0.10. A well-preserved piece can cost about $10 or more.

But in higher grades, the case is a bit different. Those graded at MS67 can fetch up to $300 or more. In fact, a stunning 1973 nickel sold for $510. The coin fetched such a high price because it had received a high mint state of 67 and featured the highly desirable full steps.

1973 S Nickel Value

1973 S Nickel Value

Even though the US Mint produced Buffalo Nickels for nearly a quarter of a century. These coins proved challenging to mint.

Mint officials found it difficult to produce the buffalo nickels design, which featured Lady Liberty in various poses. Their attempt to bring out the coin’s full design only increased the likelihood of problems, like die breaks.

Fortunately, the Jefferson nickels solved this problem. Although weak strikes appear in some 1973 nickels, they are less visible on high points of the coin, like Jefferson’s face or engravings.

The San Francisco mint produced the lowest number of 1973 nickels compared to the other two minting centers. They struck approximately 2,760,339 nickels with collectors and investors in mind.

You would expect with such a low mintage, the 1973–S Jefferson coins would have a high value. But they fetch little money on the coin market because many pieces exist in perfect condition.

You can buy a 1973 -S proof nickel graded at PR60 for as low as $0.25. Any specimen in PR68 and PR69 will cost you anywhere from $6 to $10.

Sometimes, you can discover rare gems in PR70. These pieces can sell for thousands of dollars. One numismatic paid $5,550 for such a coin. In 2022, another specimen sold for $336.

From the information above, it’s clear the 1973-no mint mark, 1973–D, and 1973-S display a minor difference in their value, with expensive options existing only in higher mint states.

However, this is fairly understandable, considering they are not made from precious metals and are readily available. Because of this, the 1973 Nickels make great collector items for beginning collectors.

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1973 Nickel Grading

To determine the grade of a 1973 nickel, most grading services look at its luster, the number of contact marks, and the sharpness of the strike. A high-quality piece combines all these elements.

In today’s market, the grading of 1973 nickels is limited to mint state grade, since only a few pieces have high values in circulated condition.

Mint state or uncirculated nickels come with a delicate luster covering the entire coin’s surface. They also have a high level of detailing on the Monticello house and no breaks in the luster or wear on the high areas.

Characteristics of mint state 1973 Jefferson Nickels


  • All sections of Jefferson’s hair show
  • No sign of wear a tear above the area around the president’s eye
  • Luster flows undisturbed along the shoulder


  • No sign of wear or damage to Monticello’s foundation
  • Show no disturbance of mint luster on the columns

Rare 1973 Nickel Error List

It seems the minting centers made the 1973 nickels with more care. Most pieces appear well stuck than their counterparts from previous years.

Nevertheless, a few significant rarities for this date exist on the market. For instance, specimens with Full Steps are highly sought after by numismatics and admirers.

Now, let’s look at these rare varieties.

1973 Nickel Full Steps Error

1973 Nickel Full Steps Error
Image Credit: ebay

The full steps of Monticello are one unique coin design element that separates less desirable 1973 nickels from superior pieces. Following the release of the Jefferson Nickel series, collectors and enthusiasts noticed that most coins didn’t display all steps of Monticello.

Experts speculate that this error occurred because the mint used dies that were not hubbed properly to portray full steps. As a consequence, some coins showed only a portion of the steps.

Today, grading services use the term “Full Steps” to describe 1973 Jefferson nickels with at least five visible steps on the reverse. For a specimen to receive this designation, it must show no disturbance of the steps due to weak strikes, planchet issues, or contact marks.

Both NGC and PCGS abbreviate the designation “Full Steps” as “FS”. PCGS awards “FS” to only regular strike pieces in grade MS60 and above with five or six full steps. On the other hand, NGC awards “5FS” to Jefferson nickels with five steps and “6FS” to coins showing six undisturbed steps.

But remember, the presence of full steps does not affect the nickel’s grade and collectors can find gems with or without this design-related error.

Exploring the History and Modern Evolution of US Coins
Appraisal Today

Because of their rarity, 1973 nickels with full steps carry a high premium compared to their cousins in the same grade without the designation. Well-preserved units between MS64 and MS66 can cost between $3 and $65. But those graded at MS67 can sell for as much as $2,000.

1973 Nickel with Die Break Error

1973 Nickel with Die Break Error

The die break error is not rare in 1973 nickels, but it’s worth mentioning. Die break errors occur as a result of cracked or damaged dies.

When these dies strike a coin, a section of the planchet might be forced into the crack, resulting in a raised area or blobs on the coin’s surface. Sometimes, the raised section on the coin may break off, leaving a weird trace on the surface.

The value of 1973 nickels with die break errors vary based on the severity of the die break and the nickel’s condition. Oftentimes, coin collectors will pay more for a piece in near-perfect condition.

1973 Nickel with Misplaced Mint Mark Error

1973 Nickel with Misplaced Mint Mark Error

Besides die breaks, some 1973 -D Jefferson nickels have misplaced mint marks. The mint mark was accidentally struck on the wrong area of the coin. These coins are common and don’t sell for much. If you have $10, you can land yourself a stunning piece.

1973 Nickel Struck on Cent Planchet Error

Wrong planchet error coins are rare and valuable to collectors. In this case, some 1973 nickels got struck on a cent planchet.

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However, this error is not super obvious at first. So, you must look closer and identify cases of stretching, especially on the lettering TRUST, LIBERTY, and STATES. Such pieces might also appear incomplete towards the rim or weigh less than regular strike 1973 nickels.

If you find a 1973 nickel with this error in your coin collection, it might fetch around $180, regardless of its minting location.

1973 Nickel FAQs

Are 1973 nickels worth anything?

Most 1973 nickels are worth their face value or slightly more, especially in circulated conditions. But in auctions, varieties with flaws or errors can have higher values. This holds particularly for pieces graded in higher mint states. For example, a 1973 -D nickel graded in MS67+ can cost between $200 and $500.

Is the 1973 nickel silver?

As the name suggests, this coin consists of nickel. Interestingly, nickel makes up only 25% of its composition. The remaining 75% is made up of copper metal. The US Mint included silver in Jefferson nickels only in 1942 because of the nickel shortage contributed by the world war. This resulted in a new metal composition of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.

How many Jefferson nickels got minted in 1973?

In 1973, over 748, 561,339 Jefferson nickels got released to the public. The Philadelphia Mint produced 384,390,000 coins, whereas the Denver Mint struck 361,405,000 units. The San Francisco mint struck 2,769,339 proof nickels for coin collectors.

Which 1973 nickel is worth a lot of money?

Even though no rare varieties exist for 1973 nickels based on mintage, there are a few notable conditional rarities worth highlighting, including:

  • 1973 “no mint mark” MS66 nickel sold for $2,300 at Heritage Auctions in 2010
  • 1973–D MS67 nickel sold for $510 on eBay in 2022
  • 1973–D MS67 FS nickel sold for $552 at Heritage Auctions in 2021
  • 1973–S PR70 nickel DCAM sold for $5,550 on eBay in 2018
  • 1973 -S PR66 nickel sold for $336 on Stack’s Bowers Galleries in 2022

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