The 1868 Shield Nickel is of particular importance to collectors because it is the first year where the coin was produced without rays surrounding the 5 cent face value. Adding more appeal to the coin is the fact that it is just the third edition of the Shield Nickel, and is therefore a crucial addition to any collection. For collectors, it is a difficult task to find these coins, and the impossibility of that task is only increased when you try to find one in good shape.
For collectors, it is always a goal to find coins in the best possible condition because no one wants to boast a collection of coins that is not easy on the eyes. With regard to the 1868 Shield Nickel, finding one in great condition is no simple task.
When a collector judges the condition of a coin, they are doing so in order to ensure that they get what they are paying for. With coins that are well over 100 years old such as the Shield Nickel, condition is everything. Unfortunately, because these coins are so old there is no guaranteeing that you will be able to find one that has been preserved through the years.
Judging the condition of a coin is known as grading. Though you need to take advantage of a professional coin grading service in order to gain an accurate, official grade, the specification below can help you get a better idea of what characteristics coins of a specific grade will have.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated 1868 Shield Nickel saw no time in circulation and, therefore, will show no signs of wear. These coins are in such good condition, in fact, that even the original luster is present on both faces. As you probably expect, it is quite difficult to find a Shield Nickel in this good of shape.
Extremely Fine: Apart from some light scratching and wear, these coins will be in excellent condition. In most cases, the heaviest of the limited wear on these coins will appear on and around the leaves surrounding the shield. Another flaw with these coins is that the original mint luster will have worn away, even as a result of light circulation.
Fine: Shield Nickels deserving of a Fine grade saw a good amount of time in circulation, but are not overly destroyed. These coins will appear much duller than those of the previous two grades and will play host to plenty of scratching. Still, the shield and all its boundaries are able to be deciphered, as are the inscriptions on the coin’s reverse.
Good: If your Shield Nickel received a Good grade, it is one that saw many decades in circulation. These coins are noticeably beaten up and have had their textured faces smoothed out over the years thanks to the constant exchanging of hands. Still a prize for collectors, these coins are not so easy on the eyes.
When it comes to giving this coin a price, look no further than the condition of the coin. Collectors jump at the opportunity to find one of these pieces in excellent shape, so you can imagine that the price for a well-preserved 1868 Shield Nickel will be far greater than that of one in poor condition. The chart below can give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a graded Shield Nickel from 1868.
1868 Shield Nickel
|1868||$20||$25||$65||$110||Source: Red Book|