Coin Specifications

Category: Shield Five Cents (1866-1883)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 25,900
Catalog: KM-97
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 5.00 Grams
Diameter: 20.5mm
Edge: Plain
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1879 5C MS obverse 1879 5C MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

After a two-year suspension of five-cent coinage for circulation the demand had still not built up much by 1879. A mere 25,900 pieces were produced that year, and this date is quite scarce across all grades. Those coins which have survived in Mint State seem to be in higher grades than the usual spread for common dates, but gems are still vastly outnumbered by proofs of similar grade.

The dies were used only briefly and thus lost little of their initial polish, and most Mint State coins are prooflike to some degree. Since the Mint's proofs of this period were made carelessly, there is often quite little visual distinction between the two issues. This problem is further compounded by the fact that at least one obverse die was used for both editions, and this die is distinguished by a repunched date. Authentication is thus mandatory for any 1879 nickel offered as MS versus PF.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/16/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1879 5C MS
Base $ 400 510 625 750 975 975 1075 1150 1225 1450 1575 1700 1850 2175 2600 3450 4850 13500 - - -
$ 1050 1125 1200 1350 1525 1650 1800 1950 2375 3250 4650 6250 - -
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Total Graded: 77
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 62
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/24/1996 NGC MS 65   Teletrade Auction 0852, 852/Lot# 1153 $972.00
4/9/2007 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2007 Dallas, TX Signature Coin Auction #450, 450/Lot# 361 $2,990.00
12/20/2007 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 205, 211/Lot# 8297 $2,542.65
5/30/2010 PCGS VG 10   Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 1238 $585.00
1/5/2011 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(2), 1151/Lot# 4362 $2,530.00
2/7/2013 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(3), 1182/Lot# 4054 $2,467.50
6/27/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 1267 $12,925.00
7/11/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3490, 6041/Lot# 20101 $12,925.00
8/5/2014 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(5), 1208/Lot# 7263 $822.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1879 5C MS
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