James Pollock proposed in 1865 that a coin made of a copper-nickel
produced. The silver half-dime was still being minted, but like most
silver coins in the Civil War era, had difficulty remaining in
circulation because of
On May 16, 1866, a five cent coin composed of
75% copper and 25% nickel
was officially authorized.
While This Coin Was Minted...
Coin hoarding by a nervous public created a shortage of coins
during the Civil War years. Paper tickets, stamps, and bills were often
used in place of coins, but the scarcity was so intense that Congress
sanctioned the printing of "fractional currency, also known as "paper
coins". A five-cent fractional currency note is shown above. From
1862 to 1876, the U.S. government issued more than $368 million in
fractional currency in denominations ranging from three to fifty cents.
After the Civil War, fractional currency was no longer needed because
coins like the Shield Nickel began to circulate freely. 1876 was the
last year Congress authorized fractional currency.
It didn't take long to realize the rays caused
problems with metal flow during striking, resulting in many coins of
weak sharpness. Early in 1867, the rays were removed from the
design. Shield Nickels of 1866 and 1867 with rays having bold sharpness
are worth premiums because of their scarcity.
Key date Shield Nickels are offered for sale below through US coin eBay auctions. The left hand side of each "Sales Box" is value trend data over a very long period of time for a coin of that date in VG-8 or Proof-65 condition. The percent annual increase is computed for comparative purposes. The coin pictured for sale in the right hand side is not necessarily the same condition coin as that represented in the value trend analysis on left hand side.
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