Entries from September 2012 ↓

A Brief History Of Liberty Nickels

Liberty nickels were coins that were produced by the US mint between the year 1883 and the year 1913. Although the coin features a relatively simple design, it holds great appeal to coin collectors. On the obverse of the coin there is a Liberty head, and on the reverse is a Roman numeral V positioned within a wreath. This five cent coin was stuck in 75 percent copper and 15 percent nickel in a low relief.

Both the beginning and the end of this coin series were marked by interesting events. The new coin was introduced in January 30, 1883. Almost immediately after its unveiling Mint officials realized that the five million nickels that were already distributed did not have the word ‘cents’ under the V on the coin. This made it easy for scam artists to coat the surface with gold to make them look like five dollar gold pieces. A new variety with the denomination indicated more clearly was created and distributed. However, many people had already been conned by the fake 5 dollar coins, which were actually 5 cent coins. This story has become much recounted within numismatic lore adding to the historical background of the series.

The Liberty Head Nickels were originally produced by the Philadelphia Mint, but in 1912, additional production took place at San Francisco and Denver. This year would become the last of regular production, but that was not the end of the story. Collectors found at least five 1913 Liberty nickels, which were apparently created under surreptitious circumstances. In 2010, one of these nickels sold for around four million dollars, a rather high priced historic oddity.

Taking A Look At Indian Head Cents

Many collectors are especially fond of Indian Cents. Introduced to the general public in 1859 it is most often referred to as the Indian Head Penny. There is so much historical value and significance that is connected to this coin and we will examine some of that here.

One of the first historical significant factors stems from the fact that there were two different designs that were put into use for this series reverse side. On the first one in the laurel wreath was inscribed the words “One Cent”. That version was issued in 1859 but just one year later the wreath shown was revised to show olive and oak branches instead. In addition above the wreath appeared a Federal Shield close to the top and at the base a knot of ribbon. In the year 1870 Chief Engraver William Barber did make a few minor modifications but basically until 1909 when it was discontinued this is the design that stuck.

Between the years 1859 and 1864 the Indian Head Cents minted were made up of 12% nickel and 88% copper. This was contrasting to prior designs that used copper as the primary ingredient. for the previous 60 years of what was known as the large copper cent. The final years of the series saw the composition change to 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc, which continued in use for the duration.

Through the years these coins have continued to grow in popularity due mainly to their historical significance and value. Collecting the series can be both a joy and challenge for the beginning or experienced numismatist.