Coin Specifications

Category: Shield Five Cents (1866-1883)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 68,800
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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1881 5C MS obverse 1881 5C MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

Production of five-cent pieces was delayed until November, as there existed no additional demand for the denomination for most of 1881. This year's coinages amounted to slightly over four times that of 1880, yet it was still a rather modest figure. 1881 nickels are quite scarce across all grades, though the Mint State pieces certified are of slightly higher average quality than is typical for the series as a whole. Distinguishing between MS and PF coins is a bit of a challenge, though not to the degree found with 1879-80 nickels. The 1881 dies were used long enough to develop some frosty texture, as seen in the example illustrated.

A nice repunched date variety is known for this date, along with a very minor doubled-die obverse.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/15/2019

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

1881 5C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 300 380 470 550 680 810 875 960 1080 1240 1280 1300 1380 2000 2950 3400 7500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 2150 3100 4250 - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 180
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 67

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, 67 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 11/19/2019 1881 5C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base61291218293381318961628116---180
-----------------------
---------------1------1
-----------------------
Total61291218293381318961728116---181
 3 %7 %5 %7 %10 %1 %5 %2 %2 %4 %7 %1 %4 %5 %3 %9 %15 %6 %3 %--- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
9/23/2007 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 2504 $833.75
5/30/2010 PCGS F 15   Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 1240 $497.00
5/31/2010 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 484, 490/Lot# 70 $2,300.00
11/9/2011 PCGS F 15   Teletrade Auction 3170, 3170/Lot# 1257 $450.00
7/27/2014 NGC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/27/2014, 201/Lot# 209137 $99.76
7/20/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers July 2015 Baltimore Auction, 6105/Lot# 30740 $381.88
12/3/2015 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 7215 $940.00
1/4/2017 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2017 January 4 - 9 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Session(1), 1251/Lot# 3485 $2,820.00
1/4/2017 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2017 January 4 - 9 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Session(7), 1251/Lot# 8657 $1,145.63


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1881 5C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base30438648459766391696910211079111711711206123312781333158317762268398491001438116340
33141852161974793398610401091113511821215124812961416164719402840568910860150340
0000009861040109111351182121512481296141616471940284056891086000
00000010031059110411531194122412631314149917112104341273941262000
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 3984
Owner: ddr70
 
Grade: MS 62
Points: 1278
Owner: Amazon
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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