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1866 to 1883 Shield Nickel

The Shield Nickel was America's first nickel five-cent piece.

This coin was minted from 1866 to 1883. The design was actually a shield with the cross of the Order of Calatrava at the top, flanked by a wreath on both sides. The coin's original reverse design had a circle of 13 stars, with rays between each pair of stars.

These were removed in 1868. The Shield nickel was quite effective in replacing the Half Dimes, as its base metal composition discouraged hoarding and caused it to circulate very widely.

The half dime was thus discontinued in 1873. When Charles E. Barber became the new Chief Engraver, he set about placing his own designs on U.S. coinage, and the Shield nickel was replaced with Barber's Liberty Head nickel in 1883.

1867 Shield Nickel      1867 Shield Nickel

1867 Shield Nickel

The best place to purchase Shield Nickels is at eBay. Most of these coins are very expensive in the better grades and rare years. However, if you just want one or two for your collection look for Shield Nickels pieces dated from about 1868 to 1876 plus 1882 and 1883 in the lower grades of good or very good. You should be able to find a specimen for your collection in the $10.00 to $25.00 range.

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