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Greysheet & CPG® PRICE GUIDE

U.S. Coin Values: Shield Nickels.

About 1866-1867 Rays 5c

Shield nickels were struck from 1866 through 1883 and designed by James B. Longacre. These 75% copper, 25% nickel coins, the first 5-cent pieces with this composition, circulated concurrently with the physically smaller but equally denominated half dime, which also has a face value of five cents.

Generally speaking, the scarcest Shield nickels were minted from 1877 through 1881, with the 1866, 1867 Without Rays, 1868, 1869, and 1882 issues being the most commonly encountered dates across the grading spectrum. The rarest issues by date are the 1877 and 1878 Shield nickels, which are proof-only issues with a combined mintage of less than 3,000 pieces.

Shield nickel varieties include the 1867 Rays and 1867 Without Rays, with the former showcasing rays between the stars that encircle the large numeral 5 on the coin's reverse. Earlier into production that year, the rays were removed, leaving only stars around the '5.' Another set of important varieties are found on 1873 nickels with the Closed 3 and Open 3, as evidenced in the fourth numeral of the date. The 1873 Open 3 is far more common than the 1873 Closed 3. All Shield nickels were made at the Philadelphia Mint.

Obverse: A shield flanked on the left and right by leaves topped with a cross with arrows positioned behind at the bottom so the arrow heads and shanks protrude at the sides. The motto IN GOT WE TRUST appears at the top periphery with the date positioned at the bottom center.

Reverse: A large numeral 5 surrounded by 13 stars centered in the design with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA * CENTS around the periphery. Straight lines, depicting rays of the sun, extended from the numeral to between the stars. The rays were removed in 1867.

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Denomination: 5c / Five cents
Designation: MS
Mint Mark: P
Mint Location: Philadelphia
Mintage: 14,742,500
Coinage Type: Shield nickel
Coinage Years: 1866-1867
Composition: 75% copper; 25% nickel
Variety: Rays
Strike Type: Business
Diameter: 20.5 mm
Weight: 5 gr
Designer: James B. Longacre
Edge: Plain
PCGS #: 3789
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