Shield Nickels were first produced in the years following the Civil War and only stayed in circulation for a short period of time. Despite their limited time in circulation, these coins have gained a lot of attention from collectors both in the US and abroad. As a pivotal part of US coinage history, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that these coins are highly valued by collectors.
As part of the latter years of the Shield Nickel’s production, the 1876 edition is of particular importance to collectors. Unfortunately, because these coins were produced more than 100 years ago, very few of them have survived in well-preserved condition. For this reason, it is easy to understand why collectors will pay a pretty penny for pieces that are in excellent condition.
For coins as old as the 1876 Shield Nickel, the most important aspect of the coin is the condition it is in. Collectors will immediately asses the condition of the coin and use that to determine its value. Coins this old have been, through their life, subjected to a lot of wear and tear.
When it comes to officially grading the condition of a coin, this is a process known as grading. Under normal circumstances, grading is executed by a professional company and the opinion of experts. With the specifications below, however, you can derive a rough grade for the coin(s) in your possession.
Uncirculated: To receive this grade, the coin in question must not have been circulated for any period of time. Shortly after being minted these coins were preserved and kept in a safe place to avoid any wear and tear from taking place. These are the rarest of all Shield Nickels and naturally the most expensive as well.
Extremely Fine: Coins that receive this grade were circulated, but not for any extended period of time. They will have retained most of their texture and will have all inscriptions and images looking mostly flawless. These coins will have lost most of their luster due to the exchanging of hands, but the coin itself will appear mostly pristine.
Fine: Coins that receive this grade are ones that have seen a good amount of time in circulation, but they did not get overly damaged in the process. Some of the boundaries between the images, inscriptions, and the rest of the coin will have begun to wear away, but all of the inscriptions and images can be made out with the naked eye without much trouble at all.
Good: Coins graded to be Good are in the worst of the worst condition. These coins will be complete with heavy scratching, chipping, and other signs of wear. The coin’s images and inscriptions will still be there, but will be difficult to make out with the naked eye. These coins can be easily found for a relatively inexpensive price.
As far as giving Shield Nickels a price is concerned, all you have to do is assess the condition of the coin. Naturally, coins that are better preserved will sell for a higher price than those that have given in to signs of wear. The price you will pay for a coin in poor condition is not much, but it grows considerably as the condition improves.
1876 Shield Nickel
|1876||$35||$80||$145||$190||Source: Red Book|