Key Date Coins
Key-date coins are important to completing a set of coins. They are coins with either the lowest mintages or lowest survival rates for a particular series.
Key dates may help draw interest to a series. The Jefferson 5-cent coin has several low mintage key-date coins: 1938-D, 1938-S, 1939-D, 1939-S and 1950-S.
At the other extreme, some coins in this series have mintages of more than a half billion pieces, among them the 1980-P (593,004,000 pieces) and 1984-P (746,769,000 pieces).
The key dates, however, have much lower mintages. The 1938-D has a mintage of 5,376,000; the 1938-S, 4,105,000; the 1939-D, 3,514,000; the 1939-S, 6,630,000; and the 1950-D, 2,630,030.
Semi-key date coins are more common than the key dates, but are still relatively difficult to locate. The Jefferson semi-key dates include the 1939 Doubled Die, 1943/2-P Doubled Die, 1949-D/S, 1954-S/D and 1955-D/S.
The 1950-D received the most attention of any low mintage coin in the series. A wild scramble to accumulate the coins occurred once the Mint revealed its mintage.
Some dealers succeeded in acquiring large quantities of the date before they were released into circulation. The price of a $2 roll of 40 coins soon rose to about $10. About 1964, the rolls of 1950-D 5-cent coins were reported selling for as much as $1,200.
Coin dealer A.J. Mitula made so much money from the sale of this date that he purchased a summer home in Cascade, Colo., on the slopes of Pikes Peak.
However, the glamour of the coin soon wore away. Today, a Brilliant Uncirculated roll of the same coin has a value of $255 or 21 percent of its 1964 high.
Select a coin category under Store Navigation on the left and then type "key date" into the Search box above to find key date coins of that type.