At the ANA Convention in Cleveland in 1964, Felix Schlag, designer the the Jefferson nickel, handle the education Forum and also shared part details of his life and behind-the-scenes details the the design’s origins.

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“The basic object for me,” he said, “was to discover a likeness that illustrated the personality and solid facial features of the good American as I imagined him.”

As he shared his experience, record numbers the coins bearing his designs were being struck. The mid-1960s witnessed a massive and well-documented rise in coinage production; 1964-dated Jefferson nickels to be struck in huge quantities. Its document mintage makes it an obtainable date, abundant enough that examples still appear in circulation with some regularity.

In the mid-1960s, the United States remained in the throes of a significant coin shortage, and also Congress and also the United says Mint had actually to get an innovative to accomplish demand. Surging silver- prices and vending devices drove subsidiary coinage from circulation, though Congress and also the Mint tried come blame collectors. A paper published by the Federal Reserve bank of St. Louis in July 1964 outlined the situation:

“Deliveries of brand-new coin indigenous the Mint have risen, but this added supply has actually been much more than offset by the drying up of return flows of coin indigenous circulation… inventories have fallen to the suggest where the Reserve banks have to be unable to provide coins ~ above request, however instead have actually been compelled to ration coins in stimulate to distribute the restricted supply ~ above a same basis.”

On September 3, 1964, president Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation authorizing the Mint come strike coins dated 1964 past the finish of the calendar year. This measure up sought come dissuade hoarding, though part legislators were doubtful of the efficacy.

The day freeze result in massive mintages of 1964-dated Jefferson nickels, struck in both 1964 and 1965. The backdating continued past 1964; 1965-dated nickels to be struck in 1966.

1964-dated Jefferson nickel mintages were significantly larger than any type of previous year, owing to the expanded production and also date freeze. 1,028,622,762 were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1964 and 1965, surpassed only by the Denver facility’s calculation of 1964-dated nickels, 1,787,297,160. Because that a sense of exactly how much bigger than common these mintages were, the Philadelphia Mint struck simply over 100 million nickels in 1963.

Mintages that nickels bearing a solitary date wouldn’t reach levels comparable to 1964 till the so late 1990s.

The Mint Director’s Report because that Fiscal Year 1964 sheds irradiate on other procedures taken by the Mint to increase production:

“Rolled nickel strip, all set for blanking, was purchased from private industry for usage in the five-cent cupronickel coinage. This procedure then permitted every one of the melting and rolling volume of the 2 Mints to be utilized in the manufacturing of the copper cents and also the silver- subsidiary denominations.”

Other measures contained having blanks sleek at the Frankford Arsenal, suspending proof coin production in the calendar year 1965 (a measure that would proceed through 1967), resuming coinage at the San Francisco Assay Office, and purchasing an ext coining presses.

Towards the end of his remarks at the 1964 Cleveland ANA Convention, Schlag noted:

“A couple of years ago I retired. The Jefferson nickel popped up again. I was rediscovered, due to the upsurge of interest in coins. There were requests because that my signature native collectors. One dealer concerned me v a cartload the coin publications to autograph. I discovered out the my signature to be being sold, my letters of correspondence to be being supplied for an individual advantage, and books i signed were advertised for sale.”

Schlag’s annoyance or bemusement through his demi-celebrity role reflects the popularity of coin collecting in the mid-20th century, and also a national coin shortage can have do coins the thing of public interest.

Production and Strike Quality

According come Bernard Nagengast’s The Jefferson Nickel Analyst, “With the an extremely high mintage spread out end a couple of years… the 1964 appears in all problems from short to high quality, so finding a decent coin is feasible with some patience.”

In an e-mail interview, Nagengast elaborated that the “strike top top 1964 nickels varies from negative to decent. Plenty of were struck native well-used dies… also coins from new dies don’t have solid details due to the fact that the understand hub which had actually the reverse design of 1940 was itself reflecting wear.”

There room a number of minor arrays of 1964 Jefferson nickel; Variety Vista perform 13 obverse and also 65 turning back doubled die varieties.

A handful of 1964 Jefferson nickels through the Special Mint Set complete are known. In 1993, a number of 1964-dated unique Mint Sets concerned market, and also examples that the sets’ Jefferson nickels show up at auction occasionally. 19 grading occasions of SMS nickels are taped by PCGS, five with Full Steps and 14 without. NGC records six.


Earning the complete Steps Designation

To knife the designation of full Steps, a Jefferson nickel must satisfy the adhering to criteria:

In this graphic, you watch that the steps, located on the design between the stylobate (a level pavement section on which remainder the four front columns the the design) and the structure block at the basic of the steps. Determinants such as die condition, to mark pressure, and also incidental contact with various other coins play a significant factor in even if it is a Jefferson nickel will earn the full Steps designation.

Examples without complete Steps are affordable in basically every easily accessible grade. Prices greater than $50 space an anomaly. Sharply-struck coins through the complete Steps designation space a different story; values cross the thousand-dollar threshold in MS-66FS and examples in MS-67 have actually crossed the block for five-figure prices.

Certified Population

PCGS reports 1,014 grading occasions of 1964 Jefferson nickels without full Steps and 162 v that designation.

NGC reports 563 grading occasions of 1964 Jefferson nickels and 90 through the 5 full Steps designation. No complete Steps examples are recorded. One doubled dice overdate variety, designated VP-001, through doubling on the motto, is reported certified by NGC. A solitary example is reported.


The Mint’s enormous 1964-dated nickel output, to win to satisfy the country’s seemingly insatiable need for turn coinage, have the right to still be found in circulation and the billions that Jefferson nickels created in 1964 and 1965 are obtainable in practically all grades. If a 1964 nickel appears in your change, it might not be cause for celebration, yet the coins room affordable artifacts of a turbulent period in the Mint’s history.



A left-facing bust of chairman Thomas Jefferson, including a colonial-era pigtail and strikingly similar in information to the profile of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1789 bust, takes increase the bulk of the obverse. The peak of his head practically touches the rim, and the barest that truncations is clearly shows at the bottom whereby Jefferson’s left shoulder meets the sheet of the coin. The motto IN GOD we TRUST–which came to be the national motto in 1956–arcs clockwise along most of the length of the left next of the coin, starting from Jefferson’s chest and extending to his hairline. The inscriptions LIBERTY and also the date 1964 operation clockwise follow me the best side behind Jefferson. A small five-pointed star divides the two inscriptions.


The reverse functions a front check out of Monticello, Jefferson’s mansion close to Charlottesville, Virginia. The polymath Jefferson design the neoclassical building himself, based upon architectural principles from the Italian Renaissance; the surname “Monticello” originates from the Italian because that “mound” or “little mountain”. The structure loses much of that dimensionality in the planarization rendering, but the octagonal nature that the dome can still be interpreted, and better strikes reveal far-ranging detail in the steps and also portico.

Atop the reverse is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out the Many, One”). The surname MONTICELLO–the location of i m sorry on the coin was among the revisions forced upon Schlag by the Mint–is uncovered in a directly line immediately under the building; the positions and also spacing of the other inscriptions had to be readjusted to make room because that it. The denomination five CENTS forms a tenderness curving line beneath that, and the engraving UNITED states OF AMERICA runs counterclockwise along the bottom leaf of the coin.Interestingly, Felix Schlag’s initials did not appear on a Jefferson nickel until 1966.


The leaf of the 1964 Jefferson Nickel is smooth.

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Felix Schlag was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1891. After ~ receiving an education at the Munich college of good Arts, he relocated to the United says in 1929. Schlag died in 1974. However while the did win numerous art contests and commissions throughout lot of the remainder of his life, the Jefferson nickel was his just coin design.

Coin Specifications

Country:United States
Year that Issue:1964
Denomination:Five Cents
Mint Mark:None (Philadelphia)
Alloy:75% Copper, 25% Nickel
Weight:5 grams
Diameter:21.21 mm
OBV DesignerFelix Schlag
REV DesignerFelix Schlag
Quality:Business Strike