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.
Silver half dimes had been struck from the early days of the United States Mint in the late 18th century. Those disappeared from circulation, along with most other coins, in the economic turmoil of the Civil War. In 1864, the Mint successfully introduced low-denomination coins, whose intrinsic worth did not approach their face value. Industrialist Joseph Wharton advocated coins containing nickel - a metal in which he had significant financial interests. When the Mint proposed a copper-nickel five-cent piece, Congress required that the coin be heavier than the Mint had suggested, allowing Wharton to sell more of the metal to the government. Nickel (75% Copper, 25% Nickel).
Measurements: 3"W x 3"H.
Distributed by American Collectors Mint, LLC.
First minted in 1916, this United States ten-cent piece features an image on the obverse of Lady Liberty wearing a winged Phrygian cap. The likeness drew comparisons to the Roman messenger god, Mercury, giving the coin its nickname. The cap Liberty wears has origins in ancient Greece and Rome and became a symbol of freedom used by revolutionaries in France and America during the late 18th century. The designer of the coin, Adolph Weinman, added wings to the sides of the cap to specifically call to mind freedom of thought.
The reverse of the Mercury dime features the fasces at the center supported by an olive branch. The fasces is an ancient Roman symbol of power and authority composed of rods arranged parallel and wrapped to the handle of an ax, while the olive branch is a traditional symbol of peace. The United States Mint struck the Mercury dime until the end of 1945. In 1946, John Sinnock's new design for the ten-cent coin honoring President Franklin Delano Roosevelt replaced the Mercury dime and continues today.