Congress approved a new coin of copper and nickel in 1866 as a means of redeeming the fractional five-cent notes then circulating.
The notes were themselves replacements for the silver five-cent piece, or half dime, driven from circulation by wartime inflation.
The beauty of pure, unalloyed nickel is plainly evident in this pattern five-cent piece of 1867. It's likely that the only reason the US Mint normally alloyed this metal with copper is its great hardness; copper-nickel coins were simply easier to strike. A scarce variety, this pattern features the bust of Liberty from Longacres three-cent piece of 1865 combined with a distinctive reverse. Boldly struck from highly polished dies and a polished planchet, this beautiful proof is a true gem. It's entirely untoned and displays just a touch of charming, cameo contrast.
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