The Jefferson silver nickels of World War 2, are probably some of the most overlooked numismatic treasures. Anytime you come across some coins that have a great story to tell, it always adds to not only the fun of coin collecting, but also to understanding the historical record of the time. To be able to share the knowledge of why these coins came to be, really gets exciting when you are telling it to someone who never knew the story. That from 1942 to 1945, nickels were no longer composed of 25% nickel and 75% copper. Instead, on October 8, 1942 they began to be made from a mixture of 35% silver, 9% manganese, and 56% copper. Why? Because the nickel and extra copper were needed for military armor and ammunition. But the story doesn’t end there, the mint marks had changed.
The government knew that at some point in time the war would be over. (Just staying positive was one of our greatest assets during wartime). In preparing for post-war business, the mint marks were moved to the reverse above Monticello. They also used large letters to make them easy to spot. Doing so allowed bank tellers and other financial institutions to easily retrieve the silver versions of these coins after the war. The large mint marks P (Pennsylvania), D (Denver), and S (San Francisco) are very easy to notice.
You would think that this unique variety would command a higher premium. But instead you can find some MS66 Full Steps coins for under $25. Assembling a certified high grade complete set, is well within the budgets of most collectors. If you want some of your collecting to focus on quality rather that quantity, this would be a great place to start.