Ron Guth: Most collectors consider the 1886 Nickel to be a key issue in the Liberty Head series. Price guides reflect this opinion and place it behind the 1885 and the 1912-S as the third most valuable date. However, in terms of certified examples, this is one of the more common dates in the series, illustrating the power of mintage figures, which have been used traditionally, as an important factor in concluding which coins are rare and which coins are not. As far as Mint State examples go, the 1886 is slightly more "common" than the 1885, but no MS67 1886 Nickels have been certified by PCGS, compared to 2 for the 1885.
Strike quality is a factor on this date, as many examples show weakness on the radial line on some (or many) of the stars. Also, keep an eye on that ear of corn on the lower left reverse, as this is often weak, too.
Sign up for our FREE Newsletter!