Gem Full Steps 1944-S Silver Jefferson Nickel at GreatCollections


Auctions are live for a beautiful 1944-S Jefferson nickel plated. Rated MS 67 with Complete steps by PCGS, collectors should be aware of the exciting opportunity to bid on a high quality wartime nickel. Such a beautiful piece would make a great addition to any collection. Bidding on this spectacular piece ends Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 4:55:12 PM PT (7:55 PM EST).

As of press time, the highest of 61 bids stands at $455 with three days left.

Being a modern coin, no Jefferson nickel is really rare. The 1944-S however has the second lowest mintage of silver war nickel series. Additionally, in the MS 67 and MS 68 grades they become relatively difficult to acquire and this particular coin is only the 10th MS 67 offered at public auction in the past two years. This scarcity of high qualities is mainly due to a generally poor overuse of striking and the die at the San Francisco Mint in 1944. Many examples are weakly struck and lack detail of the reverse steps of Monticello. This is the result of an interesting practice Mint workers used to increase production. By 1944, employees at the San Francisco factory had devised a method for mounting two sets of dies in a single coin press. Although this doubled the output of the machines, it produced a considerably lower strike.

The overuse of these matrices, necessitated by the war, aggravated this problem. As a result, fields of this type tend to show some degree of roughness, as well as an inverted matrix crack running through the center of the design.

This particular example exhibits all of these characteristics. Its fields are slightly rough, there is a crack running from the dome of Monticello to the second “S” of “States”, and only five of the building’s six steps are fully visible. The sixth and final stage is partially merged with the fifth. Despite these slight production issues, this coin is a truly interesting piece of American numismatic history.

1944-S Design Jefferson Nickel

A bust of the president facing left Thomas Jeffersonincluding a colonial era pigtail and strikingly similar in detail to the profile of Jean Antoine Houdon Bust from 1789, occupies the majority of the obverse. The top of his head almost touches the edge, and the smallest of the truncations are visible at the bottom, where Jefferson’s left shoulder meets the edge of the coin. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST runs clockwise for most of the length of the coin’s left side, starting at Jefferson’s chest and extending to his hairline. The inscriptions LIBERTY and the date 1944 run clockwise along the right side behind Jefferson. A small five-pointed star separates the two inscriptions.

The reverse features a front view of Monticello, Jefferson’s mansion near Charlotteville, Virginia. Polymath Jefferson designed the neoclassical building himself, based on architectural principles from the italian renaissance; the name “Monticello” comes from the Italian for “mound” or “little mountain”. The building loses much of its dimensionality in the flattened rendering, but the octagonal nature of the dome can still be interpreted, and better strikes reveal significant detail in the steps and portico.

At the top of the reverse is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out of Many, One”). The name MONTICELLO is in a straight line immediately under the building; the positions and spacing of the other inscriptions had to be adjusted to make room for it. The denomination FIVE CENTS forms a slightly curved line below, and the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA runs counter-clockwise along the bottom edge of the coin. As with all wartime nickels, the mint mark (in this case an “S” for the San Francisco Mint) is located in the field above Monticello.

The edge of the Jefferson 1944-S nickel is plain or smooth.

Bidding ends Sunday, August 28 at 4:55 a.m. PT (7:55 a.m. EST).

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