Coin Specifications

Category: Shield Five Cents (1866-1883)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 14,742,500
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 5.0000g
Diameter: 20.5mm
Edge: Plain
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1866 RAYS 5C MS obverse 1866 RAYS 5C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

This coin denomination was authorized as a replacement for the unpopular fractional currency notes of 5 cent value which had themselves filled the void left by the silver half dime. Silver coins did not circulate in most of the nation from mid-1862 until 1875.

More than 14 million nickels were coined during the second half of 1866, as the Mint struggled to meet the urgent demand for a five-cent coin. The work that went into these pieces was hurried and a bit careless, and this situation was further aggravated by the hardness of the copper-nickel alloy and the excessive thickness of this coin as authorized. It should have been less than 5 grams, but nickel tycoon Joseph Wharton persuaded Congress to use as much of his metal as he could.

The end result was that most pieces are less than fully struck and display many die cracks, cud rim breaks and other technical flaws. Gems are available only due to the usual widespread saving of new coin types by the public for their novelty. Even those having high grades will usually exhibit some signs of die duress.

Shield Nickels, particularly the high-mintage dates such as 1866, are notorious for their numerous doubled-die and repunched date varieties. This has made them a collector's delight, and NGC recognizes the better ones under its VarietyPlus Service.

This date is valued more highly than its rarity would suggest, due to the fact that the rays feature on its reverse was removed early the following year. Type collectors seeking a With Rays nickel thus focus primarily on the 1866 issue.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 5/25/2020

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

1866 RAYS 5C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 35.00 45.00 70.00 125 170 225 235 245 285 350 375 415 515 710 1500 3100 - - - -
$ 185 - - - - - - 415 600 975 2500 10000 - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1945
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 66

The chart showing PrAg series, G series, VG series, F series, VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 5/4/2021 1866 RAYS 5C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base3111814603957336099149109319532357918022----1945
---------------1------1
--------------1541----11
-----------------------
Total3111814603957336099149109319532458518423----1957
 0%1%1%1%3%2%3%2%3%5%8%1%5%10%17%30%9%1%---- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1866 RAYS 5C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base10211916323032050259768472575480283888293311731583264337655765140462440127281
108134185260381534626698735770814853899101313101936301744328525174982536128645
0000006266987357708148538991013131019363017443285251749800
00000065571174478682686791610931446229033915098112862094900
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 65
Points: 2643
Owner: Amazon
 
Grade: MS 65
Points: 2643
Owner: mtayl03
 
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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.