1866 5c MS With Rays

Mintage: 14,742,500

1866/1866 5c MS With Rays

Mintage: 14,742,500

1867 5c MS With Rays

Mintage: 2,019,000

1867 5c MS No Rays

Mintage: 28,890,500

1868 5c MS

Mintage: 28,817,000

1869 5c MS

Mintage: 16,395,000

1870 5c MS

Mintage: 4,806,000

1871 5c MS

Mintage: 561,000

1872 5c MS

Mintage: 6,036,000

1873 5c MS Open 3

Mintage: 4,113,950

1873 5c MS Closed 3

Mintage: 436,050

1874 5c MS

Mintage: 3,538,000

1875 5c MS

Mintage: 2,097,000

1876 5c MS

Mintage: 2,530,000

1879 5c MS

Mintage: 25,900

1880 5c MS

Mintage: 16,000

1881 5c MS

Mintage: 68,800

1882 5c MS

Mintage: 11,472,900

1883 Shield 5c MS

Mintage: 1,451,500

1883/2 Shield 5c MS

Mintage: 1,451,500

Series Overview

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.