First Year With Cents
Ron Guth: In response to the problems created by the missing CENTS on the first Liberty Head Nickels, Mint personnel made sure to add the word to new Nickels mid-1883. This created the third (and final) type change on 1883 Nickels. Mint employees over-produced the With CENTS Nickels to the tune of over 16 million pieces, the highest mintage since 1868, and a quantity that would not be exceeded until 1890. Not surprisingly, it is easy to locate an 1883 With CENTS Nickel in virtually any grade up to, and including, MS66. In MS67, only a single example has been certified by PCGS.
The interesting thing about this coin is that it illustrates the significance placed on first-year-of-issue coins. In this case, the first Liberty Head Nickel of the year, the 1883 No CENTS, has a mintage that is just over a third of the With CENTS version. Based on mintages alone, one could reasonably expect the latter to be three times as common as the former. In reality, the first-year-of-issue effect overwhelms the mintage figures. Based on the PCGS Population Report, the No CENTS version survives at the rate of more than six times that of the With CENTS – a complete reversal of what the mintages project.
The strike quality is generally good to excellent on the 1883 With CENTS Nickel. Look for the first signs of weakness on the ear of corn on the left side of the reverse.