Pressed nickel collecting can be an excellent choice for many Disney Fans. Since their introduction in 1995, elongated five cent pieces have been exclusive to Disneyland Park, Anaheim, the only Disney park in the world to offer pressed nickels1. Quickly, these five center’s became the favorite coins of many collectors as well as non-collectors. They are larger, heavier, do not tarnish and there are no worries about zinc or copper content. If you didn’t already guess, yes, they are this author’s favorite denomination too .
Cost for on-stage coins is 75 cents plus a nickel to be pressed, if you are in the park while the machine is available. Values, in today’s market, for those of us that didn’t press them in the park, range from about one dollar each for currently on-stage coins to nearly one thousand dollars each for Prototype "Penny Art" nickels. However, as long time collectors will advise, searching for bargains, trading and purchasing coins early rather than after they are long retired can save some serious cash.
Of interest to new collectors... At the time of this writing, retired seasonal sets, post 1998, are less expensive than one would expect as some on-line auctioneers make a point of pressing lots of them and then auctioning the coins for years after. That practice provides opportunity to more easily acquire coins collectors may have missed at the park. Non-seasonal set nickels are generally available at reasonable prices for the same reasons, with the exception of the very scarce DL0225 nickel set detail.
1 Tokyo Disneyland offers a "nickel" planchet. However, it is actually pressed from a vended nickel-colored copper planchet rather than a U.S. coin. Additionally, non-native denomination WDW and Disneyland nickels are known, but, not listed here due to their scarcity and / or extreme cost.
This image Representative
of all George Meyer Nickels
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Some Cast Member and Special Event issues are "harder to find" coins or should I say "more fun to find" coins. Costs are not too high and they are occasionally seen at "deal" prices if you search coin shows, Disneyana shows and on-line auctions.
Because these coins for the most part, were never on-stage, they are in this author’s opinion, optional to the "complete set". Of course, many advanced collectors will not want to be without these coins as they represent or are mementos of significant milestones in Disneyland history. (The Cast Member and Special Event nickels also include the only elongated coin to mention Annual Passholders to date.)
The three prototype "Penny Art" nickels, which are by definition not "on-stage" coins, could, in this author’s onion, be considered an optional part of this collection. This is good news for the casual collector because of the prototypes’ extreme scarcity and value. To a lesser degree, the same optional status applies to the 1996 error nickel. Of course, Advanced Collectors will most likely want these prototype coins above all others in the set.
These coins are fun, interesting and Disneyland themed, but, some may not really be Disney ® . So, of course, they are optional to a "complete" set. On the other hand, we’ve included them here... Maybe you’ll want to make them a part of your collection?.. You know, they Wannabe! .
Related ParkPennies Guide(s) featuring close up pictures, descriptions and detail comparisons:
DW Disneyland Wannabes
I saved the Seasonal Nickel or Christmas Set for last because it has to be one of my favorites!
Fellow collectors know that I believe seasonal nickels are one of the best collecting choices for both new and advancing collectors. As we know, the first Disney pressed nickel was issued in 1995, and later that year, the first Seasonal Nickel Set was issued. To the delight of collectors, Disneyland has issued another set of three very cool seasonal nickels every year since then! Matter of fact, today,they represent the majority of all nickels issued at Disneyland. And nickels are my favorite coins to press!
There are several reasons why the seasonal nickel sets represent a great collecting choice for many people. Some collectors prefer dated coins and the annual sets are usually dated. Collectors often want a continuing yet limited collectible. Seasonal nickels represent consecutive years and the time they are available is comparatively limited. Also, the sets are consistent sets of nickels often with one nickel "Season’s Greetings", one "Happy Holidays", and one "Happy New Year".
Best of all, they provide an extra incentive to visit the park over the Holidays! Traditionally, collectors begin to salivate around the first week of November and often can ponce upon these very cool collectibles sometime before the fourth week of the month through mid to late January when the coins are traditionally retired. (The Seasonal Nickel Sets are also pressed by some non-collectors as Christmas card stuffers. So, plan on a line at the machine on busy days.)
Whichever nickel set is your choice, it’s a good one!
Happy collecting, ParkPennies.
The Disneyland Resort Nickel Collection Profile
(Excluding prototype and error coins)
Subset of Disneyland Park Resort
Relative Collecting Difficulty - Moderate
Relative Cost - Moderate
Closed or Open - Open.
Note - Both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World are known to have off-denomination variations of some pressed coins, often they are nickels. ParkPennies.com hopes to address these coins in a separate article in the future.