Rare coins frequently fetch prices higher than their face value. A coin's value typically depends on a few things, such as its grade and condition.
The oldest-dated Jefferson nickels, which were first produced in 1938, typically have the highest value.
On the obverse of Jefferson nickels are the date and mintmark in addition to the portrait of the third US president.
His Virginia home, Monticello, is depicted on the back.
The San Francisco, Denver, and Philadelphia mints are where Jefferson nickels are produced.
Look for the letter marks "D," "P," and "S" on the coin to identify the minting location.
While there are some scarce Jefferson nickels in circulation, the most valuable coins are those that have a Mint State (MS) or higher grade.
Remember that MS-graded coins are uncirculated, which means they have not yet been distributed to the general public.
For instance, a 1961 Philadelphia Jefferson Nickel graded MS 65 recently sold on eBay for more than $1,600.
However, not every Jefferson nickel will fetch thousands of dollars.
A 1949 S Jefferson Nickel that was purported to be in uncirculated condition by an eBay seller actually sold for less than $20.
Although it won't make you wealthy, this is still worth far more than its face value.
The presence of a mint mark on your nickel is one thing to look out for.
Particularly S-Jefferson nickels can be quite scarce.
Watch out for the rare silver alloy nickels from 1942 to 1945 as well.