Shield nickel

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Shield nickel Empty Shield nickel

Post by kosovohp on Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:33 am

The Shield nickel was a five cent coin in the currency of the United States, issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. It was designed by James B. Longacre, and is the first United States five cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American five cent coins are struck today. Taking its name from the motif on the obverse side and the material from which it was made, it contributed the designation "nickel" to coins of that denomination, previously called half dimes.
Silver half dimes had been struck from the early days of the United States Mint in the late 18th century. Those disappeared from circulation, along with most other coins, in the economic turmoil of the Civil War. In 1864, the Mint successfully introduced low-denomination coins, whose intrinsic worth did not approach their face value. Industrialist Joseph Wharton advocated coins containing nickel—a metal in which he had significant financial interests. When the Mint proposed a copper-nickel five-cent piece, Congress required that the coin be heavier than the Mint had suggested, allowing Wharton to sell more of the metal to the government.


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