Shield Nickel (1866 – 1883)

#1 Shield Nickel Buyer Las Vegas & Henderson

History

The Shield Nickel, made possible by the Coinage Act of 1866, was the first United States five cent piece to be made from a copper-nickel alloy and, unlike the half-dimes of the period, contained no silver. As a result, it was the first five cent piece to be referred to as a “nickel”, and its copper-nickel composition is still currently in use in modern day nickels. The Shield Nickel was introduced immediately after the Civil War in response to the hoarding of silver coins then in circulation due to the economic turmoil caused by the Civil War. The design of the Shield Nickel was based on the two cent pieces of the same period.

The Shield Nickel five cent piece was minted from 1866 until the series ended in 1883 with all coins struck at the Philadelphia mint. The obverse of the coin displays a large shield with ornate leave clusters encircling it. The motto, “In God We Trust”, appears over the image at the top of the coin. The date of mintage appears below the shied at the bottom of the coin. The reverse of the coin displays a large Arabic numeral “5” surrounded by thirteen stars and thirteen rays to symbolize the original thirteen colonies, (the rays were removed from the design starting in 1867). The words, “United States Of America”, surround the stars and rays on the outside of the coin along the edge. “Cents” appears underneath the stars and rays at the bottom of the coin. The five cent piece weighs 5 grams with a composition of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The diameter of the coin throughout the series was 20.5 mm.

The Shield Nickel was a somewhat short-lived series lasting only eighteen years, and in the case of two of those years, 1877 and 1878, they were not in circulation but were struck only as proof coins. The series is not particularly popular among collectors and it is not difficult to collect since most years of the series were minted in the millions of coins. In fact, there was a glut of small denomination coins in circulation in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s, which led not only to the aforementioned proof only years of mintage, but also led to a significant reduction in the mintage of circulation strikes from 1879 to 1881. As a result, those years are considerably more scarce and have become the key-dates of the series. Many of the more common dates in the series, in good condition, can be purchased for about $25 to $45. High mint state examples of these same coins may cost around $225 to $400. Since very low mintages occurred during the 1879 to 1881 period, values for mint state specimens for these years can range from about $1,000 to over $10,000 for the 1880 dated coin. Proof coins were minted for all of the years of the series, but are not particularly more valuable than their circulation strikes with the exception of the 1866 and 1867 with rays, the 1867 Pattern Reverse and the 1877 and 1878 proof only years. Depending on condition and year, high grade examples of these coins can be worth well over $1,000 and over $6,000 for the Pattern Reverse.

Value

Because there are so many varied opinions on the condition (or grade) of a coin, the aforementioned values reflect the highest retail prices that have been obtained for those coins that have been assessed by a third party grading company. Such coins have been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by expert coin grading companies to minimize any doubt as to their quality and value and therefore their potential worth.

We Buy Shield Nickel Five Cent Coins

We want to buy your coins and as a business it is our pledge to offer you the best value for your coins, however, always remember that the prices you may find online or in price guides usually represent the highest retail value for the coin in an already certified condition. As a trusted dealer we will have our coin specialists evaluate your coins at no cost and offer you a price that is both fair for you, but that also allows us to realize a reasonable profit.