For more than a hundred years, the composition for the nickel was a blend of nickel and copper. All that changed during World War II. In an unprecedented move, the Mint was instructed to remove copper from coin production where possible and redirect the strategic metal to the war effort. The composition of the Nickel was changed to a Copper-Silver-Manganese alloy. The amount of copper in the coin was greatly reduced by substituting in silver.
In addition to having collector value due to their back story as part of winning World War II, these coins have intrinsic value as they contain about 35% silver. There are twelve (12) varieties that were manufactured between 1942 and 1945 by our count (see infra). These coins are still found from time to time in circulation. You need to know what to look for so these neat coins don't slip through you fingers!
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Silver Nickels By Year and Mint Mark1942-P, 1942-S,
1943-P, 1943/42-P, 1943-D, 1943-S
1944-P, 1944-D, 1944-S
1945-P, 1945-D, 1945-S
How Do I Spot Silver Nickels In My Change?Silver nickels will stand out in your change if you know what to look for. The most prominent difference for these coins in the Mint Mark. All silver coins have a mint mark above the Monticello on the reverse. Even the Philadelphia has a large “P” on the reverse.
The second tell-tale sign of a silver nickel is coloration. In circulation, these coins turn a dull or muddy light gray color. Once circulated, the bright shiny gloss that you are used to seeing for a modern Jefferson nickel will not be apparent. These coins may also have a chalky feel due to oxidation over time.