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Canadian Nickel Coins to Look For


You can hoard as many or as little nickels as you like
When coin roll hunting through your box of nickels, there are a certain number of coins that you will want to consider keeping for their metal value and numismatic value. Here we will lay out which coins offer the greatest value because of their metal content (made out of nickel) and which coins may be worth keeping for their numismatic value. As you will learn, Canadian nickels before a certain date are more valuable than their American counterparts because they are made out of nickel (99.9%). Do not be surprised if you find older and more rare nickels in your box. We have been sorting through nickels for the last few months and often find nickels that are quite rare. Some of these nickels are almost 100 years old! Please note that this article covers the basic nickels that you will be looking for and is a great way to start for anyone looking to get into coin roll hunting for these coins.

So which Canadian nickels should you keep when coin roll hunting? Most coin roll hunters in Canada will sort through boxes of nickels looking for coins that were minted before 1982. These are the coins that you will most likely have the best success of finding. Make sure you hoard all of these pre-1982 nickels when coin roll hunting since they are made of 99.9% nickel! This means your pre-1982 nickels worth five cents in face value are actually worth more than five cents for their metal content. The number of these pre-1982 nickels that you will find in each box will vary. We have had boxes that consisted of 12% of the 99.9% nickels. On the other hand, we have also had boxes with less than 1%, sometimes zero. Coin roll hunting is all about volume so do not get frustrated. Your consistency should pay off. Please note that most of these 99.9% nickels that you find will be from the years 1963 to 1981, so be sure to keep an eye out for these dates.

Other Canadian nickels that you will want to sort through when coin roll hunting are nickels that are 12-sided. We find far fewer of these coins when compared to the 99.9% rounded nickel coins, but still find at least a couple in each box on average. Consider keeping these coins separate from your larger 99.9% nickel hoard because of their numismatic value. From 1955 until 1962, these 12-sided nickels were made out of 99.9% nickel. As well, all 12-sided nickels minted in the years ranging from 1946 to 1951 were also made of 99.9% nickel.

You might be wondering about the years from 1951-1954. These 12-sided nickels are not made of nickel, but are actually composed of chrome-plated steel. This is also true for Canadian nickels that were minted from 1944 until 1945 (Victory Nickels). They are also 12-sided coins and have a composition of chrome-plated steel. Does this mean that when you find these coins you should just reroll them and return them back to the bank since they do not hold a tremendous amount of metal value? No, these coins should be kept as well for their numismatic value. Coin roll hunting is not just about metal value, but value in general. We keep all of these 12-sided coins separate from our large 99.9% nickel hoard in smaller containers. This smaller hoard of 12-sided coins is growing quite quickly.

There are many varieties of Canadian nickels
Lastly, you may be lucky enough to also find Canadian nickels between the years 1922 and 1942. Nickels minted from 1922 to 1936 will have a portrait of King George V on the back of them. These nickels are much more rare and are difficult to come by. In our months of coin roll hunting we have only found a handful of these coins, and all of them came from one roll. These nickels are made out of 99.9% nickel and are not 12-sided, but are round. Strongly consider keeping these nickels separate from your 99.9% nickel hoard since their numismatic value outweighs their metal value. We have our King George V nickels stored separately, which were minted between 1937 and 1952, and you will probably want to do the same.

For now, this might sound confusing, but don’t make it harder then it has to be. Write down these dates so you have them beside you when you are coin roll hunting in the beginning. You will learn quickly. Be sure to consider keeping your 12-sided nickels separate from your larger 99.9% nickel hoard, and those rare nickels that hold numismatic value.

19 comments:

  1. Can anyone tell me what a 1951, 12 sided nickel with king George V on the back and one of those special images on the front is worth? The image looks kinda like a military camp maybe (3 shacks, a big tower thing, and 3 more shacks on the other side) and it has 1751-1951 on it. If anyone has any idea, please let me know. Thanks

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    1. Hello Collin,
      Thank you for your question. After checking coinsandcanada.com, it appears as though the coin will be worth around 15-33 cents if it is a coin that has been in circulation. However, the price would go up substantially depending upon its condition.

      Also, for the history buffs that are interested, the image is of a nickel refinery and the 1751-1951 date commemorates the 200th anniversary since nickel was discovered in Canada.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to post Collin. I hope this reply was helpful.

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  2. I have 2 nickels withno date that seem to be celebrating QE's 50th. Worth anything? Also, undated "V" coins celebrating 50th year of VE Day?

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  3. Hmmm, I am not exactly sure about the first one Don; could you explain it a little more? But yes, the second one is definitely a 2005 nickel celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the end of WWII.

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  4. We started our Canadian nickel hoard way back in 1997 and ended up with 2000 lbs of pure nickel nickels. Back then, we would consistently average about 25% pre 82 in our hunts. Now, you are lucky to get 5%.

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    1. Wow, that is amazing to hear Blazer, thank you so much for sharing that. I always love to hear from those who had enough insight to start coin roll hunting way back when you did. Congratulations!

      My brother and I have done pretty well recently. Our most recent box that we sorted a week ago provided 178 99.9% nickels, which is just under 9%, so they are still out there for the taking. :) All the best to you in your future hunts and thank you very much for taking the time to comment.

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  5. I just foubd a 1922 coin in my pocket looking for change. Is this a rare thing to happen. Should i keep it

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    1. Awesome find there Raven with the 1922 nickel! In my opinion it is extremely rare and you should definitely keep it. Congratulations on such an awesome find!

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  6. I have a nickel with a rabbit on it dated 1867-1967, is there any value in this?

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  7. Hi Sue. I apologize for the late response to your question. In my opinion, there is value to this coin. It is 99.9% nickel and therefore has more value for its metal content than its 5 cent face value. Also, the centennial coins (i.e. 1967 was 100 years after Canada's Confederation in 1867) usually do go for a nice premium on Ebay. I know that when we coin roll hunt through boxes of nickels, we have a hard time finding any 1967s.

    I apologize again for the late response and I hope that answered your question.

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  8. Hi there I have many nickels that was found in a basement, they date form 1920 to 1965, literally almost every date. The one from 1921 is odd is like a dime size but its a nickel. And also a nickel that looks like it was supposed to be a penny, i have a few of those, do nickels have a value at all? i have about 200 of them from 1920-1965. Any info would be great thanks....

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  9. Hi RStanhope!
    The 1921 nickel is actually 80% silver and is the reason why it is smaller than the other nickels. Congratulations as that is a great find and is worth much more than it's five cent face value. I am not sure about the one that looks like a penny. If it is a 1943 nickel, it could be a tombac nickel which has copper in it and causes it to look like a penny. But those older nickels do carry a nice premium and do have value since they are so old and much rarer to find these days.

    Awesome finds there and congratulations again on having some excellent nickels in your collection. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. All the best!

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  10. I have a five 5 cent make it 1929 what is it worth?? Thanks Emily

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  11. I have a mint condition big nickel 1751-1951 my grandfather passed down before he passed.. Its in a coin collector wrap and everything just wondering if its actually worth anything ..

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  12. Hey I have 3 nickles one from 1945, 1928, and one minted from 1751-1951 (is the year on the coin the background is of the parliament building )
    Was just wondering if they were worth a serious amount ?
    Thanks Kyle

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  13. My bank only gives out machine wrapped ones, like the one with the two ends showing. I intend to get better results if I get the hand wrapped ones (the one with one end crumpled up and the other showing. Which banks still give out the hand wrapped ones?

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  14. Can you tell me what a 12 sided 1954 Canadian nickel is worth?

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  15. Just bought 350 nickels from George V onwards so this article should help......

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