The Nickel values tables linked below have coin values based on how much you can realistically expect a dealer to pay you for your nickels if you wanted to sell them today. Although most coin value guides have higher prices in them, these are retail prices that dealers charge for their coins, not the wholesale prices they actually pay for them. When you try to determine the value of your nickels (or any other coins), keep in mind the difference between price and value. There is nothing worse than counting on your collection being worth X amount of dollars, and then getting a very rude awakening when you actually go to sell it, all because you consulted the wrong type of coin values guide when you made your appraisal.Jefferson Nickels Values Guide
Buffalo Nickels Values Guide
Liberty Head V-Nickels Values Guide
Jefferson Nickel values are so low that I feel they represent an excellent investment opportunity in the highest grades. Jefferson Nickels are one of the best coin types for new collectors because you can just about complete the Jefferson Nickel series right from circulating coinage! The only ones you won't usually find in pocket change are the silver wartime issues, from 1942 to 1945. If you know a young person who might enjoy coin collecting, why not learn how to start a coin collection on $4.
Buffalo Nickels, on the other hand, are very popular, but I still feel they are somewhat undervalued. Buffalo Nickel values are disproportionate to the mintage figures in many years; in other words, just because fewer Buffalo Nickels were made one year doesn't necessarily mean that year's nickels are more valuable. I feel that low-end Buffalos are valued too high, but on the other hand, I feel that the highest-grade Buffalos are a good investment.
Liberty Head, or V-Nickel values are slightly more in line with what you would expect for coins of that period, but they, too, are undervalued, I believe. I also think that there are a lot of errors and die varieties still to be found in this series, since other coin types from this period exhibit many interesting varieties. I have always been a big fan of the reverse design on V-Nickels for some reason. I don't know if it's because I like the directness of the big V, or I am just drawn to the general artistic style of the reverse, but V-Nickels are my favorite nickel right now!
The Shield Nickel is an interesting type, having no portrait and a big 5 surrounded by stars on the reverse, but at $20 plus for very worn out (G-4) specimens, they're too pricey for most beginning collectors.