Coin Specifications

Category: Shield Five Cents (1866-1883)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 4,806,000
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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1870 5C MS obverse 1870 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

By 1870 it was evident that the retirement of five-cent notes was effectively complete. Thus, the mintage of this date was low in comparison to earlier years, being limited to the number of coins needed to replace those lost or withdrawn from circulation.

With this lower mintage, the 1870 nickel is moderately scarce in Mint State, with gems being genuinely rare. The only upside is that the Mint had finally figured out how to make these coins with decent strikes and luster. The severe cracking and chipping of dies common to early issues are not as evident during the 1870s.

Despite its diminished production, the 1870 nickel is still rich in varieties, reaffirming this coin series' claim as a cherrypicker's delight. Two of the more unusual varieties include a die-clashing of the nickel obverse with the cent obverse and a doubled-die reverse from two different hubs---the Reverse of 69 over the Reverse of 67. The best of these varieties are recognized by NGC under its VarietyPlus Service.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/30/2015

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

1870 5C MS
Base $ 22.00 30.00 42.50 57.50 88.00 105 115 145 160 175 200 240 390 500 1825 5000 10000 - - -
$ 100.00 - 130 - - - 220 260 430 650 2600 7250 - -

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Total Graded: 239
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/2/2003 NGC MS 65   Teletrade Auction 1800, 1800/Lot# 1050 $1,017.50
5/31/2004 NGC MS 65   Goldberg May 31 - June 2, 2004 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 25/Lot# 463 $1,150.00
10/30/2006 NGC MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 111, 116/Lot# 214 $391.00
8/11/2011 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Heritage Auctions 2011 August Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction Session(6), 1158/Lot# 9350 $126.50
10/2/2011 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131141/Lot# 25222 $115.00
5/6/2012 NGC Details F Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/06/2012, 21/Lot# 49776 $22.80
2/22/2013 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 1229 $4,700.00
2/1/2015 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131506/Lot# 23128 $1,116.25

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1870 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64
Points: 865
Owner: Amazon
Grade: MS 62
Points: 489
Owner: D. L. Tyler
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