Nickels were first introduced by the US Mint after the Civil War and have continually been produced up until today. The V-Nickel (Liberty Head) is a five cent piece struck from 1883-1913. The obverse of the 1897 V-Nickel features the face of Lady Liberty facing left. High mintages began in 1897 and continued through the end of the series, with exception in the final year.
There are many repunched date varieties for the 1897 nickel, however, only one is compelling enough to spark interest among collectors. For collectors, it is imperative that these coins are in great condition, but the fact that they were produced well over 100 years old makes it a bit more difficult to find a well-preserved coin.
For any type of coin that has been around for over half a century, the coin’s condition will be critical in determining its value. While these coins may have some collectible value even in lower conditions, only the coins that are considered pristine are highly desired by coin collectors. Finding coins in top condition can prove difficult, however, given the amount of time these coins have been produced and circulated.
When you are examining a coin, what you are really doing is trying to figure out how the coin might be graded. While the grading process is performed by professional grading services, you can use the guidelines below to get a better idea of what a graded V-Nickel may look like based on its condition.
Uncirculated: Generally speaking, this is the type of V-Nickel that serious collectors are trying to acquire. These coins have never been used in circulation, and therefore should appear as if they are brand new, freshly struck and just released by the mint. A simple look at these coins will make you believe they are brand new and have not aged.
Extremely Fine: Extremely fine V-Nickels will show some slight wear and tear, yet may still be highly regarded by coin collectors. These coins may only have some small surface scratches, and will still look to be in near-perfect condition. In fact, it is only under a very close inspection that the coin’s imperfections may be noticed.
Fine: Coins in fine condition have been widely circulated for some time, and they show it. These coins may have significant scratches or other blemishes. That being said, however, the coin’s imagery and text should still be fully intact and discernible.
Good: The vast majority of V-Nickels on the market today will fall into this grade. These coins have been widely used and exchanged over the years, and will have obvious scratches or damage. Coin collectors may shun these coins in favor of coins in superior physical condition.
To get a reasonable estimate of the value of a 1897 V-Nickel, the coin’s condition will be vitally important when determining its value. Collectors will look to buy similar coins in better condition, and the better the condition, the more valuable the coin will likely be. The chart below will give you a good idea of what you might expect to pay for a 1897 V-Nickel based on type and condition.
|1897 V Nickel||$4||$12||$45||$70||Source: Red Book|