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Description and Analysis

Jefferson Five Cents
1938 S 5C MS

Description & Analysis

The practice by many collectors of acquiring fresh rolls of each date/mint issue was well established by 1938, and so it was that the 1938 S nickel became far more available to later generations than it would seem from its low mintage. Gems are plentiful, though perhaps a little less so than for 1938(P) and 1938 D nickels.

This issue may be found well struck overall, though it is quite rare with even just five full steps. Most coins, however, show overused dies with somewhat eroded details. In rare instances these dies were aggressively repolished, and this accounts for the few pieces certified as prooflike (PL). This was a recurring practice at the San Francisco Mint, and PL nickels having shallow details became increasingly common during the late 1940s and early 50s.