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Silver Nickels: What Nickels are Silver?

When looking to acquire nickels with Silver content, look for Silver War Nickels. The term Silver War Nickels refers to those produced by the United States Mint from mid-1942 to 1945. These nickels differ from those minted before and after World War II, as those were made from 56% copper, 35% Silver and 9% manganese. This blend allowed the U.S. to reserve precious nickel and Copper needed in military applications. These Nickel years mean there are still nickels with valuable Silver content available to collectors and investors. It is easy to determine what year nickels are Silver by looking for a few simple markers.


For collectors and investors, these Silver war nickels represent an easy way to collect valuable Silver that also has fascinating historical significance at an extremely low premium. While it is important for an informed buyer to know what year nickels are Silver, it is liberating to know that APMEX has every buyer covered. Buying 35% Silver war nickels is simple and convenient with APMEX. 

There is an abundance of valuable nickles throughout history. From older to newer coins, you will find a plethora of nickels for the year of your choosing. 

Silver Nickel Years

Determining if a given nickel is a Silver war nickel is simple and takes just a moment. You will be looking for:

  • The mintage year: If the nickel in question was minted in 1942, 1943, 1944 or 1945, you likely have a coin with Silver nickel value.
  • Slightly different coloration: While you still should know what year nickels are Silver, the lustrous appearance of the nickels will help confirm their content.
  • The mintmark: Silver war nickels bear large mintmarks of “S”, “D” or “P” above the dome of Monticello on the reverse. The idea of these large marks was to clearly denote the Silver nickel years, making the coins easier to pull from circulation after the war.

If you have a 1942-P Nickel, you have a Silver war nickel. It is from the Silver nickel years, it has a large “P” mintmark and you will see its slightly different color and luster.

It is important to note, however, that these nickels do not have the same spot Silver price per ounce.

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