NGC Identifies Major New Doubled Die for the 1873 Nickel

A previously unknown variety has been found on an 1873 Shield Nickel.

An 1873 Shield Nickel recently submitted to NGC for grading and variety attribution features very bold doubling on its obverse, and this coin turned out to be a previously unknown variety. Most design elements of the obverse display very distinctive doubling from an initial impression that was southeast of the final impression. This doubling is most noticeable on the cross and annulet which appear at the top of the shield. This die, which features the Open 3 date style, is further identified by diagonal die-filing lines beneath and to the right of the date.

1873 Shield Nickel
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(Left and Right) Doubling on the cross and annulet which appear at the top of the shield
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(Left) Doubling in the leaves. (Right) Diagonal die-filing lines beneath and to the right of the date.
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The Shield Nickel series is rich in doubled-die obverse varieties and has been widely studied for that reason. It’s therefore nothing less than amazing that this very obvious doubled-die has escaped detection until now. NGC Researcher Director David W. Lange examined the subject coin in accordance with NGC’s VarietyPlus® attribution service. He compared it first with Edward Fletcher’s book that lists and illustrates many such varieties, but it was not included in that reference. He then checked the coin against Howard Spindel’s Shield Nickel Varieties disk file, which represents the latest research into the Shield series, yet that source also failed to turn up a match. Suspecting that this was an unlisted variety, Lange then sent images of the coin to Howard Spindel for his examination, and the Shield Nickel specialist confirmed that it was indeed previously unknown.

1873 DDO Open 3 5C VP-011 NGC MS 61, obverse (left) and reverse (right)
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NGC has graded this discovery piece as MS 61 and assigned its own VarietyPlus® number VP-011. This DDO will also be included in future updates of the Spindel reference as his Shield Nickel Variety number SNV 1873 S2-1005. NGC attributes eligible varieties through its VarietyPlus® service tier for a fee of $15 per coin. A complete list of varieties that are currently recognized can be found at Additional varieties are recognized if NGC determines that they are significant and would have wide collector interest.

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