Ron Guth: By 1872, demand for Three-Cent Nickels waned, and mintages began to decline -- first by dropping below a million coins, and ultimately falling to a mere 1,000 coins in 1885. Nonetheless, the mintage of the 1872 remained large enough that sufficient numbers of high-grade examples exist to satisfy the demand from collectors today. As with preceding dates, the typical Mint State grade for the 1872 ranges from MS63 to MS65. Though the PCGS Condition Census is laden with MS66's. PCGS has not yet certified an MS67 example of this date.
In general, this date comes well-struck, but light clashmarks begin to shop up more frequently. Collectors should look for examples that show little or no clashing, and nearly full vertical lines on the reverse.