As one of the most popular coins ever produced by the US Mint, the Shield Nickel garners particular attention from global collectors. Attractive in their design and even more appealing thanks to their role in US history, these pieces are constantly being fought over by collectors of all types. Of course, with these coins being more than 100 years old, very few have survived the years in great condition.
For collectors, the condition of the coin is everything; which explains why they are willing to pay top dollar for a Nickel in excellent condition. With that said, finding a well-preserved piece is a challenge most collectors do not overcome—at least not cheaply.
For any coin that is as old as the 1872 Shield Nickel, the first thing anyone should do is assess the condition it is in. You see, because these coins were used so frequently, many of them have been tattered and destroyed. For collectors, the process of judging the condition of a coin is known as grading.
When it comes down to it, grading is nothing more than applying a one or two word description of the coin’s value. Though you may not be a professional, you can use the specifications below to derive a better idea of what a graded Shield Nickel will look like.
Uncirculated: Never used to purchase goods or pay for debts, an Uncirculated Shield Nickel is what every collector is striving for. These coins will show absolutely no signs of wear and will even be shiny like they were the day they were minted. Even upon close inspection, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these pieces.
Extremely Fine: Though it may be light, Extremely Fine Shield Nickels will show some signs of wear. Most often, the heaviest wear on these coins can be found on and around the leaves surrounding the shield. Another flaw found with these coins is the fact that much of the shine will have worn away thanks to the changing of hands through the years.
Fine: If your coin received this grade, it more than likely means that it was circulated for a good bit of time. During its time in circulation, coins of this grade incurred some damage, but not so much that the imagery and inscriptions are not able to be read. Other than some fading on the boundaries, all images and inscriptions should be completely intact.
Good: A coin deserving of this grade will look as though it is in pretty rough shape. These coins were circulated more than any others and will play host to heavy scratching and other signs of wear. The texture of the coin will be no more as it fell victim to changing hands that have since smoothed out the faces.
Giving the Shield Nickel a price is no more difficult than assessing its condition. Because collectors are willing to pay top-dollar for a coin in excellent condition, you can see why everyone who owns these coins tries to keep them in the best possible shape. The chart below will help give you a better idea as to what a graded 1872 Shield Nickel might cost you today.
1872 Shield Nickel
|Source: Red Book