The Jefferson nickel was introduced in 1938. With the exception of a few oddities, most Jefferson nickels are not very valuable. Pre-1938 nickels, called Buffalo nickels or Indian Head nickels, and pre-1913 nickels, called Liberty Head nickels, are far more collectible.Continue Reading
Sort through your coins. If you find any older nickels, especially any Buffalo or Liberty Head nickels, set them aside. Numerous books and websites can help you determine whether a coin might be valuable.
Finding valuable coins by chance is a rare occurrence, so if you are serious about collecting, you will probably end up buying coins from coin dealers. Use guide books or websites to decide which coins you want and how much you can expect to pay.
While most reputable coin dealers are not out to cheat customers, they are in business to make a profit, and most expect the consumer to be informed. The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it will be for you to recognize a good price when you see it.
Cleaning and polishing is one of the best ways to reduce the value of old coins. Professional coin dealers are adept at spotting a cleaned coin, and will not be fooled just because a coin looks shinier.