Shield Nickel Values and Prices

How Much Is a Shield Nickel Worth?

United States Shield Nickel Minted between 1866 and 1883
United States Shield Nickel Minted between 1866 and 1883. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, www.ha.com

This coin value guide will tell you how much your Shield nickel minted from 1866 to 1883 is worth.  The table below provides average coin prices and values based upon the condition of the coin. 

Market Analysis

Shield nickels are not one of the most popular collected US coins. The coin was issued  for 16 years in between 1866 and 1883. Although this is a relatively short run for a U.S. coin series, there are some very expensive coins even if they are in well circulated condition.

Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties

The following Shield nickels in any condition, are worth considerable more than common date Shield nickels.  As such, these coins are frequently counterfeited or altered from common date Shield nickels.  Therefore, before you start celebrating your early retirement with your new found fortune, have the coin authenticated by a reputable coin dealer or third party grading service.

  • 1877 (only Proof specimens were made for coin collectors; rarely seen in circulated conditions)
  • 1878 (only Proof specimens were made for coin collectors; rarely seen in circulated conditions)
  • 1879
  • 1880 (key date)
  • 1881
  • 1883 3 over 2

Condition or Grade Examples

If your coin is worn and looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below, it is considered a circulated coin.

If your coin looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below and has no evidence of wear due to being in circulation, it is considered an uncirculated coin.

Mint Marks

Shield nickels were produced at only one mint (Philadelphia) and hence have no mint mark.

Shield Nickels Average Prices (Buy) and Values (Sell)

The following table lists the buy price (what you can expect to pay to a dealer to purchase the coin) and sell value (what you can expect a dealer to pay you if you sell the coin).

The first column lists the date (this series does not have a mint mark) followed by the buy price and the sell value for an average circulated Shield nickel.  The next two columns list the buy price and the sell value for an average uncirculated. These are approximate retail prices and wholesale values. The actual offer you receive from a particular coin dealer will vary depending on the actual grade of the coin and a number of other factors that determine its worth.

Date & MintCirculated Uncirculated
BuySell BuySell
1866 Rays$38.00$26.00 $390.00$280.00
1867 Rays$40.00$28.00 $520.00$360.00
1867 No Rays$26.00$17.00 $180.00$130.00
1868$25.00$18.00 $180.00$130.00
1869$26.00$18.00 $190.00$140.00
1870$28.00$20.00 $250.00$180.00
1871$90.00$60.00 $580.00$410.00
1872$32.00$23.00 $250.00$170.00
1873$29.00$21.00 $240.00$180.00
1874$33.00$24.00 $240.00$160.00
1875$43.00$29.00 $310.00$230.00
1876$36.00$25.00 $310.00$210.00
1879 *$490.00$340.00 $1,400.00$1,000.00
1880 *$900.00$600.00 $9,900.00$6,900.00
1881 *$340.00$230.00 $1,200.00$800.00
1882$24.00$16.00 $170.00$120.00
1883$24.00$16.00 $180.00$130.00
1883 3 over 2 *$240.00$170.00 $2,000.00$1,400.00
Complete
Date Set
$2,000.00$1,500.00 $16,500.00$11,750.00

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