Biding is live on Greatcollections.com for a beautiful 1944-S Jefferson nickel. Graded as MS 67 with Full Steps by PCGS, collectors should be aware of the exciting opportunity to bid on a high-grade wartime nickel. Such a beautiful piece would make a great addition to any collection. Bidding on this spectacular coin ends Sunday, August 28, 2022, at 4:55:12 PM Pacific Time (7:55 PM Eastern).
At the time of publication, the highest of 61 bids stands at $455 USD and has three days remaining.
Being a modern coin, no Jefferson nickel is truly rare. The 1944-S does, however, have the second-lowest mintage of the silver War Nickel series. Additionally, in grades MS 67 and MS 68, they do 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 in high grades is due mainly to a generally poor strike and die overuse at the San Francisco Mint in 1944. Many examples are weakly struck and lack details on the reverse steps of Monticello. This results from an interesting practice that Mint workers used to increase production. By 1944, San Francisco facility employees had developed a method for mounting two sets of dies into a single coin press. While this doubled the machines’ output, it produced a dramatically weaker strike.
Compounding this issue was the overuse of said dies, necessitated by the war. As a result of this, the fields on this type tend to display a certain degree of roughness, as well as a reverse die crack running through the center of the design.
This particular example has all of these characteristic features. Its fields are slightly rough, there is a crack running from the dome in Monticello down through to the second “S” in “States”, and only five of the building’s six steps are fully visible. The sixth and final step is partially merged with the fifth. Despite these slight production issues, this coin is a truly attention-grabbing piece of American numismatic history.
1944-S Jefferson Nickel Design
A left-facing bust of President Thomas Jefferson, including a colonial-era pigtail and strikingly similar in detail to the profile of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1789 bust, takes up the majority of the obverse. The top of his head almost touches the rim, and the barest of truncations is visible at the bottom where Jefferson’s left shoulder meets the edge of the coin. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST arcs clockwise along most of the length of the left side of the coin, starting from 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 divides the two inscriptions.
The reverse features a front view of Monticello, Jefferson’s mansion near Charlottesville, Virginia. The 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.
Atop the reverse is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out of Many, One”). The name MONTICELLO is found 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 gently curving line beneath that, and the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA runs counterclockwise along the bottom edge of the coin. As with all wartime nickels, the mintmark (in this instance, an “S” for the San Francisco Mint) is located in the field above Monticello.
The edge of the 1944-S Jefferson nickel is plain or smooth.
Bidding ends on Sunday, August 28, at 4:55 Pacific Time (7:55 Eastern).
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