Expert Comments

Ron Guth

In 1866, the U.S. government introduced a new 5 Cent piece made of nickel as an alternative for the silver Half Dime.  The two coins were issued side-by-side through 1873, after which the Half Dime was discontinued and the "Nickel" became the coin of the land.  The new metal, because it was so hard, made it difficult to strike the coins, and the dies suffered frequent cracking.  Part of the problem was the intricate reverse, where stars were squeezed tightly between small rays surrounding the large "5".  Ultimately, the rays were removed from the dies mid-1867, but this did not solve the cracking problem entirely.

High grade examples of this first-year-of-issue are readily available in grades all the way up to MS66, where PCGS has graded over 50 examples.  As already mentioned, collectors should seek out well-struck examples (to the extent they are available), and avoid examples with natural flaws or excessive and/or large carbon spots.

20.50 millimeters
James Barton Longacre
1.94 grams
Metal Content
75% Copper, 25% Nickel
The United States of America
Pop Higher
Pop Lower
Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates

65 or Better 40000 R-2.6 2 / 2 15 / 19 TIE
All Grades 3000 R-4.4 2 / 2 17 / 19 TIE
60 or Better 500 R-6.0 2 / 2 17 / 19

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66+ PCGS grade MS66+ PCGS grade

Heritage 1/2016:4735, $4,465 - “Jesh” Collection (PCGS Set Registry)

1 MS66+ PCGS grade MS66+ PCGS grade

“Greenbrier River” Collection (PCGS Set Registry)

1 MS66+ PCGS grade

Just Having Fun Collection - Stack’s/Bowers 11/2013:2013 - Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation - Stack's/Bowers 11/2015:20014, $11,456.25

1 MS66+ PCGS grade

Heritage 1/2016:4734, $6,756.25

1 MS66+ PCGS grade