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Can Someone Explain To Me "Full Step" Nickels?

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 Posted 11/30/2020  1:42 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add BostonCornhusker to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hey everyone, quick question.

Can someone explain to me "full step" nickels?

From what I understand, if you can see 5-6 steps on the reverse, it's less common. But, what I don't understand yet is what years are important? I don't really search nickels, but do like to search them if I find them. I have a 2002-P and a 1987-D full step nickel, but just wondering about what I should keep an eye out for.

Thanks everyone
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94141 Posts
 Posted 12/02/2020  08:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your reply was split into its own topic and moved to the appropriate forum for the proper attention.
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 Posted 12/02/2020  09:30 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add coop to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've tried to figure these out looking at the graded examples on PCGS. I figured out what it should be, but seems like a waste of time for me. But here is what I found:

Look at the examples above. How many do you think are full steps?
All but one. The one with the black dot on the lower right corner. These were all graded as full steps except that one.
(Hidden message on the open space between these two lines. High light the white area and see the answer) I figured out it is not the area we call steps, but full risers on the steps.

This makes no sense to me. So I'm not even interested in these. So I don't waste my time with these. They are not die varieties, but full strikes, I guess. Moving on from this.

CoopHome : Full Step Nickels what qualify?
Richard S. Cooper
Some have asked about my images I use and I'm glad to say, you can now you can see the DVD in sections on youtube:
1. Intro, older coins, toned coins 2. Doubled dies 3. Die events, One of a kind errors 4. So called errors, Coin information 5. Coin information Types and Varieties, Overlays
Jefferson nickel doubled dies Wexler/Rebar complete listings

trail dies:
Edited by coop
12/02/2020 12:29 pm
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United States
891 Posts
 Posted 12/02/2020  10:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nick10 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Monticello's central steps are a measure of strike quality, with 6 visible steps being considered the optimal, and maximum possible that can be found. For the business strikes of some dates/mints there are no known 6-step examples, in which case 5 steps are usually treated as full steps.

Other factors influence the number of visible steps, including the state of the master hub, and the relief of the coin as expressed by the master, the state of the die (early or late), and other factors. The high relief and worn master that was common during the 1950s and 1960s means those decades are the ones during which full steps are rarer. Full steps are fairly common on the War Nickels of the 1940s because the special alloy was softer and easier to strike up.

During the late 1980s onward, the design's relief was periodically reduced, which on average yielded a better strike on the steps. From the mid-1990s onward, most nickels exhibit full steps, at least before the die wears down to late stage. Most proof Jeffersons of all years have full steps.

Nicks and cuts on the steps that happen after the strike do not change the quality of the strike, thus IMO do not disqualify that coin from being full step. Instead those nicks and cuts will, of course, lower that coin's grade.

I keep two sets of Jeffersons, a highest grade set, and an MS fullest step set. Some of the MS-62 full step coins are rarer and worth more than MS-67 non-full steps of the same date/mint.
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