CoinHunter's Blog

01 Jan 2021

The First Nickel, the Shield Nickel

Coins | CoinHunter

Todays blog is about the Shield Nickel.The act of May 16, 1866 authorized a new five cent coin made of 25% nickel and 75% copper. This created the unusual situation where two coins of the same value circulated at the same time (the other coin being the Half Dime). A massive quantity of nearly 15 million "Nickels" was produced in the first year, partly to promote the new coin and partly because of the availability of nickel and copper compared to the higher cost of silver for Half Dimes.the first versions of the new Nickel had rays on the reverse, between the stars surrounding the large 5 in the center of the coin. These extra elements caused the coinage dies to fail early because of the extra pressure needed to strike the nickel alloy and to force the metal into the recesses of the dies. To correct this problem, mint officials ordered the removal of the rays in mid-1867, creating two varieties: With Rays and No Rays, both of which you will need for a type set. Striking problems persisted, resulting in a series of coins noted for inconsistent strikes and lots of die cracks.Thanks for reading my blog and have a happy new year!-Source: PCGS CoinFactsPhoto courtesy of PCGS

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