The Shield Nickel, especially earlier editions, is a difficult find for most collectors. These coins were produced so long ago and used so frequently that very few have been able to make it through the years. Still, being that the Shield Nickel is a crucial part of US coinage history, collectors will stop at nothing to get their hands on these coins.
While finding one of these coins is a challenge in and of itself, finding one of them in pristine condition is a new challenge altogether. The fact of the matter is that these coins spent many years exchanging hands and, during that time, many were lost, melted, or destroyed.
When collectors get their hands on a coin as old as the 1869 Shield Nickel, the first thing they will look at is the overall condition of the coin. Because collectors are only trying to add the most well-preserved pieces to their collection, it comes as no surprise that such immediate attention is paid to the condition of the coin.
Judging a coin’s condition is known as grading the coin. Under normal circumstances, grading is something that is done by a professional company, but we understand that not everyone has the time and money to ship their coin off in the mail for grading. Because of this, we have some grade specifications below that will help you better understand what characteristics a coin of a certain grade will have.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated Shield Nickel is one that spent no time in circulation and was not subject to sources of wear and tear. These coins will have retained much of their original luster and will appear like they were minted only a few days ago. In pristine condition, the 1869 Shield Nickel is quite difficult to find.
Extremely Fine: For the most part, an Extremely Fine Shield Nickel will be in pristine shape. Apart from some light scratching and minor wearing of the leaves surrounding the shield, the coin will be blemish-free. Of course, due to circulation, the coin’s luster will have faded over the years.
Fine: If a coin is given the grade of Fine, it means that it was circulated for an extended period of time, but not destroyed in the process. You will see that the faces of coins of this grade will be smoother than normal, and the boundaries separating images and inscriptions from the rest of the coin will be a bit more difficult to make out.
Good: This is the grade given to coins that are in rough shape. These are the coins that were circulated for decades on end and have plenty of scratching, chipping, and other signs of wear. The images and inscriptions are difficult to make out, but they are there. The faces of the coin will be free of texture and smooth to the feel.
If you want to give the 1869 Shield Nickel a value, look no further than its grade. Because collectors place so much weight on the condition of these coins, it is a fairly rigid correlation between great value and high price. The chart below will help you gain a better understanding of how much an 1869 Shield Nickel will cost you, depending on its grade.
1869 Shield Nickel
|1869||$20||$25||$65||$110||Source: Red Book|