US Coins

Inside Coin World: The two 5-cent coins of 1866

The 1866 Shield 5-cent coin was just one of two coins of that denomination struck by the Philadelphia Mint that year. The 1866 Seated Liberty half dime also was in production.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Coin Values Spotlight: Two 5-cent coins, two alloys

In 1866, the federal Mint produced the first examples of a new coin with a denomination that duplicated that on another coin struck since 1792. The 1866 Shield 5-cent coin, a copper-nickel piece, was released even as production of the 1866 Seated Liberty half dime, made of 90 percent silver, continued. As Chris Bulfinch writes in his “Coin Values Spotlight” column in the March 25 issue of Coin World, the use of nickel in U.S. coinage was expanding.

Chris looks at the power and influence of the nickel mining industry, which persuaded Congress to authorize an increasing number of coins made of nickel; the Shield 5-cent coin was the third such piece.

The column looks at the market for the two 1866 coins in Very Fine 20 condition, a grade that makes both coins somewhat affordable for many collectors. See Chris’ column, found only in the digital and print editions of the March 25 Coin World.

About VAMs: ‘Scar Cheek’ 1922 Peace dollar

While much of the attention of VAM collectors is focused on the Morgan dollar series, the Peace dollar series also offers collectors a number of interesting die marriages. In his “About VAMs” column in the March 25 Coin World, John Roberts looks at the VAM-5A3 1922 Peace dollar.

The VAM-5A die marriage is nicknamed the “Scar Cheek” dollar, for the triangular die break found on Liberty’s cheek, which becomes particularly prominent on later die stages, especially the VAM-5A3 stage. 

To learn more about this desirable 1922 Peace dollar and how to identify it, read John’s column, found only in the digital and print editions of Coin World.

Collecting Paper: What do you want back as change?

Wendell Wolka looks at the lengths that some banks went to in the mid-19th century during periods of financial uncertainty, as holders of bank notes and other obsolete currency attempted to use them in commercial transactions. 

In his “Collecting Paper” column in the March 25 Coin World, Wendell writes that some banks might redeem notes with sub-par, worn foreign silver coins, low-denomination U.S. coins, notes from other banks of questionable value, and goods we would find unusual today. A Civil War-era note from Arkansas was redeemable in Arkansas treasury notes and Confederate war bonds, and in bacon, flour and blacksmith services.

Read more about this fascinating era in the print and digital editions of the March 25 issue of Coin World.

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