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1866 Rays Shield Nickel AU 58 NGC 5c Coin SKU:I91421866 Rays Shield Nickel AU 58 NGC 5c Coin SKU:I9142
1866 Rays Shield Nickel VF Very Fine 5c Coin SKU:I92621866 Rays Shield Nickel VF Very Fine 5c Coin SKU:I9262
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1866 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece VG Very Good 5c Type Coin SKU:IPC77141866 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece VG Very Good 5c Type Coin SKU:IPC7714
1867 No Rays Shield Nickel F 15 ANACS 5c Coin SKU:I82041867 No Rays Shield Nickel F 15 ANACS 5c Coin SKU:I8204
1867 Rays Shield Nickel VG Very Good 5c Coin SKU:I102221867 Rays Shield Nickel VG Very Good 5c Coin SKU:I10222
1868 Shield Nickel AG About Good 5c Coin SKU:I112191868 Shield Nickel AG About Good 5c Coin SKU:I11219
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1869 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece AU About Uncirculated 5c SKU:I10431869 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece AU About Uncirculated 5c SKU:I1043
1869 Shield Nickel VG Very Good 5c Coin SKU:I100501869 Shield Nickel VG Very Good 5c Coin SKU:I10050
1870 Shield Nickel F Fine 5c Coin SKU:I116381870 Shield Nickel F Fine 5c Coin SKU:I11638
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1872 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece VF Very Fine 5c Type Coin SKU:IPC35241872 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece VF Very Fine 5c Type Coin SKU:IPC3524
1874 Shield Nickel MS 65 NGC 5c Uncirculated Coin SKU:I91851874 Shield Nickel MS 65 NGC 5c Uncirculated Coin SKU:I9185
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1875 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece VF Very Fine 5c US Type Coin SKU:I6521875 Shield Nickel 5 Cent Piece VF Very Fine 5c US Type Coin SKU:I652
1876 Shield Nickel F Fine 5c Coin SKU:I81031876 Shield Nickel F Fine 5c Coin SKU:I8103
1882 Shield Nickel BU Choice Uncirculated 5c Coin SKU:I50581882 Shield Nickel BU Choice Uncirculated 5c Coin SKU:I5058
1882 Shield Nickel MS 63 NGC 5c Uncirculated Coin SKU:I97481882 Shield Nickel MS 63 NGC 5c Uncirculated Coin SKU:I9748
1882 Shield Nickel VF Very Fine 5c Coin SKU:I81331882 Shield Nickel VF Very Fine 5c Coin SKU:I8133
1882 Shield Nickel XF EF Extremely Fine 5c Coin SKU:I48811882 Shield Nickel XF EF Extremely Fine 5c Coin SKU:I4881
1882 Shield Nickel XF EF Extremely Fine 5c Coin SKU:I49661882 Shield Nickel XF EF Extremely Fine 5c Coin SKU:I4966

Shield Nickels: A Brief History

The Shield Nickel is a five-cent coin that was minted by the United States Mint from 1866 to 1883. Here's a brief history of the Shield Nickel:

1. Background and Motivation: In the mid-19th century, the U.S. Mint faced challenges with the coinage of the silver half dime due to rising silver prices. Mint officials sought an alternative to alleviate this issue and proposed the creation of a new copper-nickel five-cent coin.

2. Design and Symbolism: The Shield Nickel, designed by Chief Engraver James B. Longacre, featured an innovative design on the obverse (front) side. It displayed a large central shield, giving the coin its name. The shield was surrounded by rays and stars, and the motto "In God We Trust" appeared prominently. The reverse (back) side featured a large numeral "5" surrounded by stars.

3. Introduction and Controversy: The Shield Nickel was introduced in 1866. However, the design faced criticism due to its intricate details, which made the coins challenging to produce. The initial design included rays between the stars on the obverse, but these were quickly eliminated due to striking difficulties.

4. Nickel Composition: The Shield Nickel was the first U.S. five-cent coin to be made of a copper-nickel alloy. This composition, consisting of 75% copper and 25% nickel, gave the coin a distinctive appearance and helped distinguish it from silver coins.

5. Production Challenges: The Shield Nickel experienced production challenges, including difficulties in obtaining a consistent strike and problems with die life. These issues led to modifications in the design, such as the removal of rays in 1867 and changes to the size of the numerals.

6. End of Production: The Shield Nickel continued to be minted until 1883. In that year, the Liberty Head Nickel, featuring a design with the profile of Liberty, replaced it. The decision to discontinue the Shield Nickel was influenced by ongoing production challenges and the desire for a new, more straightforward design.

While the Shield Nickel had a relatively short mintage period, it played a significant role in the history of U.S. coinage as the first nickel five-cent coin and set the stage for the transition to the Liberty Head Nickel and subsequent designs.

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