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: 7/16/2014

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

1881 5C MS
Base $ 335 400 485 550 710 840 925 975 1100 1250 1325 1425 1975 2750 3500 7750 - - -
$ 765 885 975 1025 1125 1300 1350 1650 2250 3400 4750 10750 -

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: 154
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
1/25/2004 PCGS AU 58   Goldberg January 25-28, 2004 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 23/Lot# 1580 $575.00
11/29/2007 PCGS AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2007 November Houston, TX US Coin Signature Auction #370, 370/Lot# 60200 $920.00
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
11/7/2011 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2011 November 7-9 US Coins Signature Auction - Beverly Hills Session(1), 1161/Lot# 3138 $2,530.00
1/3/2012 PCGS G 4   Heritage Auctions 2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando Session(9), 1166/Lot# 9978 $276.00
2/28/2012 PCGS VF 30   Stack's Bowers The March 2012 Baltimore Auction, 135/Lot# 1821 $576.15
3/11/2013 NGC AU 50   Teletrade Auction 3421, 3421/Lot# 1385 $575.00
3/9/2014 PCGS G 4   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/09/2014, 167/Lot# 176125 $195.80

NGC Registry

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