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Obverse of 1883 Liberty Nickel - No "CENTS"     Reverse of 1883 Liberty Nickel - No "CENTS"


PCGS Nos: 3841, 3878


Circulation strikes: 5,474,300
Proofs: 5,219

Designer: Charles E. Barber

Diameter: 21.2 millimeters

Metal content:
Copper - 75%
Nickel - 25%

Weight: 5 grams

Edge: Plain

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia)

Images courtesy of Superior Stamp and Coin

More complete information is available on the CoinFacts CD-Rom, including:
     Significant examples
      Recent appearances at auction
      Variety information
To purchase the CoinFacts CD-Rom, click here.  To see a sample page of extra information, click here.

When the new Liberty Head Nickel was introduced in 1883, no one at the Mint noticed (or cared) that the word "CENTS" was missing from the reverse.  The omission was noticed by certain enterprising individuals who, quick to seize an opportunity to make a quick buck, gold-plated the coins and passed them off as Five Dollar gold pieces.  These became known as "Racketeer" Nickels.  True "Racketeer" Nickels should be in very high grade and the edge should be reeded (this was done by hand to mimic the edge reeds on a gold piece).  Modern versions are usually low grade and their edges are smooth; they have been produced by the tens of thousands and are, in effect, rip-offs of a rip-off!

Later in 1883, the Mint corrected the reverse by moving "E PLURIBUS UNUM" to top center and replacing it with a bold "CENTS".

The finest Uncirculated examples graded by PCGS are 10 MS-67's.

The finest Proof examples graded by PCGS are 7 PR-67's.

The finest Proof Cameo examples graded by PCGS are 5 PRCA-67's.

The finest Proof Deep Cameo examples graded by PCGS are 2 PRDC-66's.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service