Used a long time, very worn.
Ron Guth: In 1894, the mintage for Liberty Head Nickels dropped dramatically from the year before, to the lowest level since 1886. In practice, the reduced mintage had very little to do with the number and quality of survivors. For example, the total population of Mint State 1894 Nickels is only slightly less than other, more common dates, but the number of MS66 survivors is higher than any previous year except 1883. Despite this glaring contradiction, price guides continue to favor this date, indicating a preference for mintage over survivorship -- one of the interesting anomalies in numismatics.
It is very difficult to find a Liberty Head Nickel with the first two stars on the lower left that are not nearly or completely flat. Sometimes other stars are weakly struck, as well, and Uncirculated examples are known with all stars flat. Clearly, the more desirable examples will feature a full strike, but collectors do not yet demand this from their Nickels.
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