Nickel Five-Cent Pieces - Chapter ImageOverview of Nickel Five-Cent Pieces

  • Nickel Five-Cent Pieces - Obverse Image
  • Nickel Five-Cent Pieces - Reverse Image

Nickel Five-Cent Pieces: Design Types

Five-cent pieces made of nickel were introduced in 1866, in an era in which the silver half dime as well as other silver denominations were not seen in circulation. More than a dozen designs and their variations have graced the “nickel” in the past 140-plus years.

While Shield nickels of both types are slightly scarce in upper Mint State levels, they are within the financial reach of most collectors. Proofs are available of each type, but the 1866–1867 With Rays and the 1913 Buffalo Variety 1 issues are rare.

The quality of strike presents a challenge across the various types of nickel five-cent pieces, most particularly with the 1866–1867 With Rays, for there are fewer possibilities from which to choose. Although 1913–1938 Variety 2 Buffalo nickels are often poorly struck, there are enough sharp ones that finding a choice example should present no great challenge for the collector.

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