Coin Specifications

Category: Shield Five Cents (1866-1883)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 68,800
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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1881 5C MS obverse 1881 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

Production of five-cent pieces was delayed until November, as there existed no additional demand for the denomination for most of 1881. This year's coinages amounted to slightly over four times that of 1880, yet it was still a rather modest figure. 1881 nickels are quite scarce across all grades, though the Mint State pieces certified are of slightly higher average quality than is typical for the series as a whole. Distinguishing between MS and PF coins is a bit of a challenge, though not to the degree found with 1879-80 nickels. The 1881 dies were used long enough to develop some frosty texture, as seen in the example illustrated.

A nice repunched date variety is known for this date, along with a very minor doubled-die obverse.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/31/2015

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

1881 5C MS
Base $ 300 385 485 570 735 900 975 1025 1075 1225 1275 1350 1875 2650 3500 9500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 2150 3100 5250 - -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 160
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/4/2001 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions Exclusively Internet Auction #21092, 21092/Lot# 2055 $2,250.00
1/25/2004 PCGS AU 58   Goldberg January 25-28, 2004 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 23/Lot# 1580 $575.00
5/30/2010 PCGS F 15   Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 1240 $497.00
5/31/2010 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 484, 490/Lot# 70 $2,300.00
11/9/2011 PCGS F 15   Teletrade Auction 3170, 3170/Lot# 1257 $450.00
2/28/2012 PCGS VF 30   Stack's Bowers The March 2012 Baltimore Auction, 135/Lot# 1821 $576.15
5/6/2012 NGC Details F Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/06/2012, 21/Lot# 49782 $187.00
3/11/2013 NGC AU 50   Teletrade Auction 3421, 3421/Lot# 1385 $575.00
8/5/2014 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(1), 1208/Lot# 3259 $3,290.00
1/7/2015 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 7 - 12 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Session(1), 1216/Lot# 3486 $2,585.00
1/25/2015 NGC VG 8   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131505/Lot# 22006 $235.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1881 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 3984
Owner: ddr70
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