Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head Five Cents (1883-1913)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 5,474,300
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 NO CENTS 5C MS obverse 1883 NO CENTS 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The dies for Charles Barber's new Liberty Head Nickel were not quite ready at the beginning of 1883, and the Philadelphia Mint was compelled to produce well over a million of the old Shield Nickels to meet immediate demand. The first new coins were struck January 30 and released two days later.

This issue had a fairly short production run before the reverse was revised to include the value CENTS (see next entry). As a new design, this coin would have been hoarded to some extent in any case, but false rumors spread that the CENTS-less nickels would be recalled and become rare. As a result, this is the most common Liberty Head Nickel in Mint State grades, and circulated pieces grading XF and AU are also rather common. Gems are plentiful, to the delight of type collectors seeking this one-year-only edition.

The typical 1883 No CENTS nickel is weakly struck in several stars and at the corn cob in the lower left portion of the wreath (this second trouble spot is directly opposite the highest point of relief on the obverse). Well struck pieces are available, due to the sheer number of Mint State survivors.

This type and all subsequent copper-nickel five-cent pieces are slightly larger in diameter than the Shield type. This change was made to improve striking quality, though it was only modestly successful in that respect. At five grams the nickel was still too thick in relation to its diameter for good filling of the dies.

This issue is rich in repunched date varieties, most of them rather minor. The better ones are recognized by NGC under its VarietyPlus Service.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/31/2015

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

Base $ 7.50 8.75 10.00 11.25 12.50 14.00 15.50 19.00 24.00 30.00 33.00 41.00 62.00 95.00 230 435 4200 - - -
$ - - - - 26.00 - 36.00 47.00 66.00 105 250 950 - -

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Total Graded: 7447
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
3/13/1996 NGC MS 65   Teletrade Auction 0823, 823/Lot# 206 $185.30
3/26/2005 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions Continuous Internet Auction #65041, 65041/Lot# 24100 $207.00
9/23/2007 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 1165 $299.00
10/23/2011 NGC MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/23/2011, 141/Lot# 20801 $531.30
1/16/2012 NGC MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 654, 661/Lot# 66 $161.00
3/4/2012 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131211/Lot# 28131 $65.00
1/5/2014 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131402/Lot# 22788 $193.88
2/26/2015 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2015 February 26 - March 1 PNG Dallas Invitational US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(2), 1218/Lot# 3493 $4,230.00
11/9/2015 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers November 2015 Baltimore, 6110/Lot# 24793 $329.00

NGC Registry

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