Coin Type Specifications
Region: US
Denomination: 5C
Diameter: 20.50 (mm)
Coin Metal Composition:
Copper [75%] 3.75 (g)
Nickel [25%] 1.25 (g)
Total Mass: 5 (g)

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1866-1867 - Union Shield Nickel - Rays
Coin Type Name

US - 1866-1867 - Union Shield Nickel - Rays

Obscure Finds Coin Collection > US > Nickel

This section of Obscure Finds Numismatic Collection is made up of coins from the US region and specializes in 1866-1867 - Union Shield Nickel - Rays coins from coin category Nickel . If you are looking for coin facts, numismatic data or simple melt value composition of the US - 1866-1867 - Union Shield Nickel - Rays coin, you can find it here at Obscure Finds.

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Coin Type Coins
1866-1867 - Union Shield Nickel - Rays Coin Composition
Composition Totals From 1 Coins
Copper : 3.75 Grams
Nickel : 1.25 Grams
Total Mass : 5 Grams

Metal USD/Pound USD/Troy Ounce USD/Gram Grams/Coin USD/Coin
Copper $2.091 $0.143 $0.005 3.75 g $0.017
Nickel $4.494 $0.308 $0.010 1.25 g $0.012
Precious and Base Metal Melt Value For Each Coin: $0.029
Combined Precious and Base Metal Melt Value For 1 Coins: $0.029
- Precious Metal prices updated on 07-25-2024
1 Example Coins Found...


Coin Type Description
This information is compiled/referenced data from around the web. Linked references within.
Years Minted: 1866-1867
Mint Marks: NONE (P)
Denomination: 5C
Obverse Design: Shield representing the United States Lettering: IN GOD WE TRUST YEAR
Obverse Designer: James Barton Longacre
Reverse Design: Denomination surrounded by stars, separated by rays Lettering: UNITED SATES OF AMERICA 5 ·CENTS·
Reverse Designer: James Barton Longacre
1866-1867 - Union Shield Nickel with Rays

The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.


Shield Nickel: 1866-1883

Quick Coinage Facts
Years Minted: 1866-1883
Mints: Philadelphia
Composition: 0.750 copper, 0.250 nickel
Diameter: 20.5 mm
Weight: 5 grams
Total Mintage: approx. 128,017,100
Edge: plain

Two major varieties exist for the series. Initially (1866), the reverse design featured rays between the thirteen stars and radiating outward from the 5 to form an encircling wreath (Variety 1). The hardness of nickel made minting difficult so the rays were removed later in 1867 to increase minting rates (Variety 2).

Variety 1 with Rays (1866 - 1867)
Variety 2 No Rays (1867 - 1883)


Shield nickel

Value 5 cents (0.05 US dollars)
Mass 5.000 g (0.1615 troy oz)
Diameter 20.50 mm (0.8077 in)
Edge Plain
75% copper
25% nickel
Years of minting 1866–1883

All pieces struck at the Philadelphia mint, without mintmark.

The Shield nickel series has yielded a large number of varieties. Howard Spindel, a leading expert on Shield nickels, notes that Shield nickel dies produced far fewer coins than other coin dies, as the dies wore out so fast that the Mint was continually under great pressure to produce new ones. According to Spindel, many dies were hastily and carelessly produced, producing numerous minor varieties.


Shield Nickel Specifications

The first five cent coin struck using nickel as part of the composition was the Shield Nickel. These 5 cent pieces weighed 5 grams, or 77 grains. Their composition is 75% copper and 25% nickel, an alloy which results in a gray appearance. The diameter of this denomination is 20.5 mm, and all have a plain edge.

Dates: 1866 -1883
Mint Mark: none
Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Weight: 5 grams
Diameter: 20.5 mm
Edge: plain
Designer: James B. Longacre


5 Cents "Union Shield"

KM# 96
Country United States
Years 1866-1867
Value 5 Cents = Half Dime (0.05 USD)
Metal Copper-nickel
Weight 5 g
Diameter 20.5 mm
Engraver James Barton Longacre
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment ↑↓

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Precious Metal prices on this page were last updated on 07-25-2024
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Base Metals Last Updated: 09-01-2016