Of all the many coins produced by the US Mint, the Nickel is by far one of the most useful. Since they were first introduced in the 19th century, just after the Civil War, Nickels have long been a pivotal part of American coinage. Some of the first Nickels ever minted are known as Shield Nickels and are of particular importance to collectors.
While collectors are constantly striving to get their hands on these coins, most are only willing to accept a piece that has been preserved through the 100+ years of its existence. Unfortunately, finding a Shield Nickel in tip-top shape is no easy task, even for the most experienced collectors.
Many Shield Nickels have survived the 100+ year journey to today, but very few of them have survived in decent condition. For collectors, condition is everything and collectors are constantly trying to get their hands on the most well-preserved pieces. When it comes to judging the condition of a coin as old as the Shield Nickel, this is a process known as grading.
Under normal circumstances, grading is done by a professional company. If you cannot afford or do not have the time to send your coins away, you can use the specifications below to get a better idea of what condition your coin is in.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated Shield Nickel is one that saw no time exchanging hands on the open market. These pieces were put into safekeeping almost immediately after being minted and show no signs of wear and tear. In fact, the original luster is still present on the coin because it never went through man years of changing hands.
Extremely Fine: If a coin receives this grade, it means that it was circulated for a short period of time. Because of the circulation, these coins will show some decent wear, especially around the leaves that surround the shield. The luster of this coin will have faded a bit with time, but will still be visible to some extent.
Fine: This is the grade given to coins that saw a good amount of time in circulation. Due to the changing of hands over the years, these coins will have a good amount of scratching and chipping. There will be almost no shine on the coin’s faces, and this is a result of heavy circulation.
Good: This is the grade given to Nickels that are in the worst condition. Coins given this grade will have a lot of scratching, chipping, and will be bent on some occasions. The boundaries separating the images and inscriptions from the rest of the coin will also have faded a bit. This is the grade you will find associated with most surviving 1875 Shield Nickels.
For coins as old as the 1874 Shield Nickel, a price can be derived by looking at the coin’s condition. Because collectors only want to find the best coins, they are willing to pay a pretty penny for a Shield Nickel in excellent condition. The chart below will help you gain a better idea of what you will pay for an 1875 Shield Nickel that is graded.
1875 Shield Nickel
|1875||$40||$100||$160||$220||Source: Red Book|