Will Potential of 1951-S Ever Be Realized?|
November 01, 2013
Interest in Jefferson nickels has not been high for many years. Some might argue that the end of the roll and bag speculative boom of 1964 was the last time anyone cared about the Jeffersons.
Even in 1964, it was more about the uncirculated roll price of the 1950-D coin, which brushed but did not quite reach $1,000.
But if interest revives in Jefferson nickels, where might the surprises be?
If we do a little searching for dates that might turn out to be surprise gainers among older nickels, one date that would seem to have potential is the 1951-S.
To be sure, the 1951-S is not unknown. It is just lesser known. It was struck the year after the 1950-D. It could never compare to the 1950-D, which had the lowest mintage of just over 2.6 million pieces while the 1951-S mintage total was 7,776,000.
This comparison aside, the 1951-S mintage is very low. No nickel released into circulation since 1951 has had a lower mintage and that is not likely to change.
Nevertheless, back in the heyday of circulation finds, the mintage of the 1951-S would not have seemed like a big deal.
Chances are this coin was not heavily saved, or simply saved in whatever condition that the first one spotted in change happened to be in. Sure, that filled the hole, but it virtually guarantees that even now the coin is worth just a nickel.
With so much focus on the 1950-D, the 1951-S seemed not all that elusive, causing few to give it a second thought.
If you are looking to buy a circulated example today, you might pay more than $1 for it, but that is a service charge rather than a coin value. Besides, nowadays few if any dealers would even have one in stock.
Slabbed and in MS-65 condition, the 1951-S becomes a different story because it is worth $28. That might seem like a lot until you start looking at the prices for other dates. Doing that and you see it loses much of its distinction.
It is not out of line to think that when collectors of future generations sort out the actual availability of various Jefferson nickels that the low mintage will carry somewhat more weight than it seems to be doing now.
Scarcity within a series doesn’t mean much if there are so few collectors of the series that there are still enough examples to go around. But someday that will change.
Grading service populations of top-grade Jeffersons number in the hundreds and seem tiny when you think of the potentially millions of people who were filling Whitman albums in the 1950s and 1960s. Such small populations do not do much to vault one date over another.
Without the guidance of population reports, the rusty fall-back position is using mintages to try to figure out potential value. Anybody doing that can’t help but notice that the 1951-S might turn into a better date, but how long the wait will be for that to happen no one knows.
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On November 4, 2013
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