Coin Specifications

Category: Shield Five Cents (1866-1883)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 25,900
Catalog: KM-97
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 5g
Diameter: 20.5mm
Edge: Plain
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1879 5C MS obverse 1879 5C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

After a two-year suspension of five-cent coinage for circulation the demand had still not built up much by 1879. A mere 25,900 pieces were produced that year, and this date is quite scarce across all grades. Those coins which have survived in Mint State seem to be in higher grades than the usual spread for common dates, but gems are still vastly outnumbered by proofs of similar grade.

The dies were used only briefly and thus lost little of their initial polish, and most Mint State coins are prooflike to some degree. Since the Mint's proofs of this period were made carelessly, there is often quite little visual distinction between the two issues. This problem is further compounded by the fact that at least one obverse die was used for both editions, and this die is distinguished by a repunched date. Authentication is thus mandatory for any 1879 nickel offered as MS versus PF.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/30/2015

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

1879 5C MS
Base $ 400 510 625 750 975 1075 1150 1225 1450 1575 1750 1950 2200 2700 3500 5700 13500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 2400 3250 4650 7750 - -

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Total Graded: 85
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/24/1996 NGC MS 65   Teletrade Auction 0852, 852/Lot# 1153 $972.00
11/7/2003 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2003 November Signature Sale #334, 334/Lot# 5598 $1,811.25
12/20/2007 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 205, 211/Lot# 8297 $2,542.65
2/4/2009 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2009 February Long Beach, CA Signature US Coin Auction #1122, 1122/Lot# 671 $1,840.00
5/30/2010 PCGS VG 10   Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 1238 $585.00
1/5/2011 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(2), 1151/Lot# 4362 $2,530.00
11/14/2014 NGC VG 10   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3508, 6062/Lot# 20075 $411.25
4/22/2015 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(2), 1219/Lot# 3510 $3,055.00
7/9/2015 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2015 July 9 - 12 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN Session(2), 1222/Lot# 3588 $2,820.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1879 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 65
Points: 2009
Owner: Amazon
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