Ron Guth: In order to produce the 11.47 million 1882 Shield Nickels, the Philadelphia Mint needed lots of dies. Even with such a high production, the Mint failed to use all of the dies on 1882, leaving unused ones available at the end of the year. Rather than throw them out, Mint employees simply overdated the dies, creating a number of different 1883/2 overdates. At least five overdate dies are considered desirable, and they each command similar premiums. Each overdate shows different positioning of the 2 and the 3 relative to each other -- some are dramatic; others less so. The one that counts is FS-301 -- this is the variety shown in the Guidebook (Redbook) and the Cherrypickers' Guide. On this variety, much of a distinct 2 shows clearly to the left of the 3, more so than on any other overdate variety.
This overdate turns out to be relatively scarce, certainly as a fraction of the regular 1883 Shield Nickel coinage. Uncirculated examples are tough to find, and usually occur in the MS-62 to MS-64 grades. The finest certified examples are a trio of PCGS MS66s.
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