VarietyPlus » Liberty Nickels (1883-1913)

Liberty Nickels (1883-1913)

Introduced early in 1883, this type was a great improvement over its predecessor, both technically and aesthetically. Its diameter was enlarged slightly, permitting thinner planchets and much greater die life. Originally conceived as part of a matching set of copper-nickel one-cent, three-cent and five-cent pieces that would its value readily apparent, the Liberty Head Nickel when first issued lacked the word CENTS. This oversight was quickly exposed when con artists reeded the edges of these coins and gold plated them to pass as half eagles. The Latin legend was hastily relocated to provide for the value CENTS, but not until more than five million examples had been coined and issued.

Minted in large numbers, the only scarce issues within this series are 1885, 1886 and 1912-S, the latter being one of only two branch mint pieces. The famed 1913 nickels, though clearly coined at the U. S. Mint, are delicacies not required for a complete date/mint set. Such sets are extremely popular, as most issues are readily available in uncirculated condition or as proofs.

Variety collecting is limited for this series, though a handful of interesting varieties do exist. Standouts include 1884 with doubled date and the doubled-die reverses of 1887 and 1900. There is still the chance of discovering new misplaced date varieties of the Liberty Head Nickel, as this class of variety has gained popularity only recently.

NGC currently attributes the handful of varieties that are listed with VarietyPlus. This includes most of those found within The Cherrypickers’ Guide and selected others from the Flynn/Van Note book.

Denom.MS/PFDateFee*NGC LabelVarietyPlusFivaz-Stanton (OLD)Flynn-Van Note
5CMS1883 NO CENTS-    
5CMS1883 8/1 NO CENTS$15FS-1301    
5CMS1883/1883 NO CENTS$15FS-1302   RPD-004
5CMS1883/1883 NO CENTS$15VP-002   RPD-005
5CMS1883/1883 NO CENTS$15VP-003   RPD-001
5CMS1883 1/1 NO CENTS$15VP-004   RPD-011
5CMS1883 CENTS-    
5CMS1883 8/1 CENTS$15FS-1301    
5CMS1884/188 $15FS-301 VP-001FS-013.8 
5CMS1886/1-86 $15FS-301 VP-001FS-013.9 
5CMS1887 DDR$15FS-801 VP-001FS-014DDR-001
5CMS1888/188 DDO$15VP-001   DDO-001, RPD-002
5CMS1889 18/18 $15FS-301    
5CMS1890/189 $15FS-301  FS-014.3RPD-001
5CMS1897/1897 $15FS-301  FS-014.48RPD-006
5CMS1898/189 $15FS-301   RPD-002
5CMS1898/898 $15FS-302  FS-014.495 
5CMS1898 1/1 $15VP-001    
5CMS1899/9 $15FS-301  FS-014.5RPD-005
5CMS1900 DDR$15FS-801 VP-001FS-014.7DDR-001
5CMS1901 TYPE 1 REV$15    
5CMS1901 TYPE 2 REV$15    
5CMS1902 TYPE 1 REV$15    
5CMS1902 TYPE 2 REV$15    
5CMS1907/19/9 $15VP-001   RPD-001
5CMS1908/08 $15VP-001   RPD-003
5CMS1908 1/1 $15VP-002   Unlisted
5CPF1883 NO CENTS-    
5CPF1883 1/1 NO CENTS$15VP-001    
5CPF1883 CENTS-    
5CPF1884/188 $15FS-301 VP-001FS-013.8 
5CPF1901 TYPE 1 REV$15    
5CPF1901 TYPE 2 REV$15    

* In order to have the above varieties requiring the $15 fee designated by NGC, VarietyPlus service must be requested at time of grading. VarietyPlus service is also available for coins already encapsulated by NGC. For coins where the fee column is blank, no VarietyPlus charge is required to have your coin designated during grading. For coins marked $15, a $15 surcharge applies to the tier fee during grading, or a $15 fee applies to have the VarietyPlus designation added to any coin already graded and encapsulated by NGC.
Fivaz, Bill & J.T. Stanton. The Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties, 5th Edition, Volume 1. Whitman Publishing, Atlanta, 2009
Flynn, Kevin & Bill Van Note. Treasure Hunting Liberty Head Nickels. Stanton Publishing, Savannah, GA, 1999
Peters, Gloria & Cynthia Mohon. The Complete Guide to Shield & Liberty Head Nickels. DLRC Press, Virginia Beach, 1995