The Shield Nickel was first produced in the mid-19th century, and is one of the more elaborate coins ever produced by the US Mint. Being well over 100 years old, the 1866 Shield Nickel is of special importance to collectors. Seeing as it is the first Shield Nickel produced, it is one of the most heavily sought after of all US coins.
For collectors, finding an 1866 Shield Nickel is one thing, but finding one in great condition is something entirely different. Being that so few of these coins remain, it follows that an even smaller amount have survived in excellent condition.
For any coin as old as the 1866 Shield Nickel, the condition of the coin is in is immediately called into question by collectors. Striving to find only the best coins on the market, collectors will pour over the faces of this coin in order to find any imperfections.
When the judging of condition is done by a professional grading company, the coin receives a grade that is nothing more than a one-word description of what kind of condition the coin is in. Understanding that not everyone has the time and money to send Shield Nickels away for grading, we have provided specifications below that will give you a good idea of what coins of a specific grade will look like.
Uncirculated: In Uncirculated condition, an 1866 Shield Nickel will appear almost identical to the way it did the day it was minted. The coin’s elaborate shield and many inscriptions will be in pristine condition and will show no signs of scratching. These coins are so well-preserved, in fact, that even most of the original luster will have survived.
Extremely Fine: Graded to be Extremely Fine, an 1866 Shield Nickel will show light signs of wear. Typically, the leaves surrounding the shield will be the most heavily worn region of the coin, though the wear present will be light in nature. Apart from the original luster fading, this coin is in great condition overall.
Fine: Of Fine grade, an 1866 Shield Nickel will show plenty of signs of wear, especially on the raised image of the shield. Due to years of circulation, the faces of the coin will look generally worn and a bit tattered. Still, major boundaries between inscriptions and surrounding the shield are present and able to be made out with the naked eye.
Good: This is the grade given to most surviving 1866 Shield Nickels. This is due to the fact that many of the surviving editions of this coin spent countless decades being circulated and have gotten damaged during that time. The shield’s texture will have been worn down a good bit and will be difficult to make out with the naked eye. The same can be said of the coin’s inscriptions as well.
As is the case with any coin more than 100 years old, the price you are going to pay will directly coincide with the condition the coin is in. For 1866 Nickels especially, collectors are willing to pay a large amount of money for one of these coins in great condition.
1866 Shield Nickel
|1866||$28||$50||$160||$240||Source: Red Book|