Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head Five Cents (1883-1913)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 16,026,200
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 5.0000g
Diameter: 21.2mm
Edge: Plain
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1883 CENTS 5C MS obverse 1883 CENTS 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

Since the Liberty Head design had been conceived as part of a three-coin set including nickel cents and three-cent pieces of the same design, it was considered unnecessary to include the word CENTS; it would clearly be understood in the context of three matching coins. When only the five-cent piece was actually issued with the new design, sharpers immediately seized on this opportunity by gold plating them and passing them to the unfamiliar as gold five-dollar pieces which, unfortunately, were of about the same size and thickness. The extent to which this was done has been greatly exaggerated, but the fact that it worked even one time would have been enough to force a redesign. The word CENTS was added at the bottom of the reverse, and this caused the Latin motto to be reduced in size and squeezed into a small space above the wreath.

Though the mintage of this subtype was five times that of the No CENTS nickel in 1883, there existed no incentive to same them in Mint State, so this coin is much more scarce across all grades. Nevertheless, there appear to be enough gems to satisfy advanced collectors of the series. Many will reveal slender die cracks, a problem that retired most dies before they could show much wear.

At least three repunched date varieties are known for this issue. One of them (FS-1301) is transitional with the No CENTS issue, a fact seemingly unreported in reference books.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/2/2015

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

1883 CENTS 5C MS
Base $ 18.50 27.50 37.00 55.00 80.00 120 125 130 145 165 175 205 230 315 675 1700 26000 - - -
$ 95.00 - - 135 150 - 185 225 260 355 900 4000 30000 -

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Total Graded: 1099
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
4/9/1997 NGC MS 64   Teletrade Auction 0935, 935/Lot# 1094 $141.70
2/10/2008 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg February 10-13, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 44/Lot# 119 $322.00
9/4/2011 PCGS MS 66   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19251/Lot# 1021 $1,170.00
8/26/2012 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131236/Lot# 28808 $176.25
5/12/2013 PCGS MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 751, 760/Lot# 543 $610.00
1/19/2014 PCGS MS 63   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/19/2014, 185/Lot# 165185 $165.00
3/23/2014 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131413/Lot# 24623 $68.00
5/4/2014 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131419/Lot# 26055 $135.13
7/20/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers July 2015 Baltimore Auction, 6105/Lot# 30750 $129.25
12/18/2016 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131652/Lot# 27899 $152.75

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1883 CENTS 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 3545
Owner: Archer Collection
Grade: MS 67
Points: 3545
Owner: NMK8104
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