Shield Nickels


Shield Nickels were released from 1866 to 1883, thus making them difficult to find nowadays and interesting for coin collectors.

The coin's original reverse design had a circle of 13 stars, with rays between each pair of stars and the obverse featured a shield with the words "In God we trust" written above it.

For more information and to buy Shield Nickels,
please see our collection of coins for sale, below:

1866 Rays Shield Nickel 5C - NGC AU Details - Rare Rays Variety Coin
1866 Rays Shield Nickel 5C - NGC AU Details - Rare Rays Variety Coin
Price: $173.00 (0 Bids)
Sale Ends: 33m
1866 Rays Shield Nickel Decent XF Minor Doubling in Date Small Cud Rev at 3:00
1866 Rays Shield Nickel Decent XF Minor Doubling in Date Small Cud Rev at 3:00
Price: $159.99 (0 Bids)
Sale Ends: 2h 31m
1882 5C Shield Nickel NGC MS 63
1882 5C Shield Nickel NGC MS 63
Price: $234.00 (0 Bids)
Sale Ends: 2h 31m
1868 Shield Nickel -- MAKE US AN OFFER! #Y3333
1868 Shield Nickel  --  MAKE US AN OFFER!  #Y3333
Price: $191.00 (0 Bids)
Sale Ends: 3h 13m
1882 Shield Nickel (5C Coin) - Certified PCGS Uncirculated Details (MS BU UNC)
1882 Shield Nickel (5C Coin) - Certified PCGS Uncirculated Details (MS BU UNC)
Price: $211.00 (0 Bids)
Sale Ends: 3h 58m
1883 2 Shield Nickel 5C Coin FS-302 Variety - NGC AU58 - $1, 875 Value!
1883 2 Shield Nickel 5C Coin FS-302 Variety - NGC AU58 - $1, 875 Value!
Price: $1,536.00 (0 Bids)
Sale Ends: 3h 59m

About Shield Nickels


Coins were initially made from gold and silver. After the civil war the demand for small value currencies increased. Gold, silver or other precious metals could not be used to make coins of low value therefore the government came up with paper notes which were called shinplasters. These notes didn’t last long as it got worn out soon. So people did not accept these notes and they requested for a better replacement. Metals like copper, nickel, tin, nickel were used for minting coins.

Shield nickels were the coins introduced to replace shinplasters. Shield nickels were made from non precious metals. Nickel was found to be the best metal to meet the purpose. Pure nickel created certain problems during striking as they are very hard and fragile. In order to overcome this problem nickel was combined with copper to mint the coins. Shield nickels had the composition of nickel 25% and copper 75%.

Shield nickels were authorized on May 16th, 1866. It was designed by the famous designer James B. Longacre. He chose a simple but a powerful design. The obverse side had the design of thirteen stars encircling a big numeral 5. The stars were six pin stars and rays were present between the stars. There were 13 stars around the numeral 5 and these thirteen stars represented the thirteen colonies of the United States of America. After a period of time the rays were removed due to the difficulties faced during striking. It was in 1867 that the rays were removed from the coins. The other side of the coin had a shield with two arrows on both sides and with a cross on the top. This side of the coin represented the motto of it through the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Certain groups had a complaint that the design was similar to confederate flag and issues were raised against it.

Later several designs came up. The most popular design was the portrait of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln on the obverse side and a design similar to shield on the reverse side. Though shield nickels gained popularity there were still problems related to the striking of these coins. These coins were therefore replaced by coins made from bronze.