Five Cents, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

Five Cents, Coin Type from United States (issued 1792 - )
Coin TypeFive Cents

The United States Five Cents coin (written as ) is a unit of currency equalling one-twentieth of a United States dollar. 1792 Half Disme (as it was initially called) was the first denomination of the dollar issued into circulation. Renamed to a Half Dime, it was a silver coin from 1794 until 1873, with several changes of design.

Between 1794 and 1805, the value and denomination were not shown and the coin and had to be inferred from its size.

Silver was eventually replaced by a copper-nickel piece officially named Five Cents (most often just called a nickel) introduced in 1866, which has also undergone several design changes since then. The denomination has also been used for issuing some circulating commemorative types.

Five Cent coins have been struck by several different mints:
- Philadelphia Mint, 1792 to present; no mint mark 1792 - 1942 and 1945 - 1979, letter P 1942 - 1945 and 1980 - present
- New Orleans Mint, 1838 to 1860, mint mark O
- San Francisco Mint, 1863 to present (from 1972 - collector coins only), mint mark S
- Denver Mint, 1912 to present, mint mark D
- West Point Mint, 2020 (collector coins only), mint mark W

Obverse
United States / Five Cents - obverse photo

There have been a number of obverse designs during the history of the denomination.

The first design showed a portrait of Liberty with flowing hair, facing left. The legend around it was LIB · PAR · OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY · (abbreviated from "Liberty, Parent of Science and Industry" - the first motto of the United States). This was only issued in 1792.

The second design (1794 and 1795) showed a different portrait of Liberty with flowing hair, this time facing right. I was surround ed by 13 stars, representing the first states forming the United States. The inscription above was LIBERTY, and the date of issue was below.

The third obverse (1796 - 1805) shows a draped bust of Liberty facing right, again surrounded by 13 stars, with LIBERTY above and the date of issue below.

The fourth obverse (1829 - 1837) shows a "Capped Liberty" - Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap. The inscription LIBERTY is on a band across the cap. Again, there are 13 stars around, and the date is below.

The fifth obverse (1837 - 1873) shows a seated depiction of Liberty who is holding a Liberty pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap (a type of cap which in Ancient Rome was worn by freed slaves). With her right hand, she supports the Union Shield, which has thirteen vertical stripes, white and red, with a blue horizontal bar on top. The colours are represented by heraldic hatching (thin lines indicating the colour - horizontal stripes for blue, vertical for red, no stripes for white). Across the shield, a diagonal banner inscribed with the word LIBERTY. Below, the date of issue. In 1837 only, there was a plain background; after that, there were 13 stars surrounding the figure. The stars were replaced by the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in 1860.

The first copper-nickel coins were issued in parallel with the silver half dimes for a time. Between 1866 and 1883, the obverse shows a rendition of the Union Shield from the Great Seal of the United States, with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST around above and the date of issue below.

The seventh obverse (1883 - 1913) is known as the "Liberty Head" and has a portrait of Liberty at centre, facing left and surrounded by 13 stars, with the date of issue below. The word LIBERTY is inscribed on a diadem in her hair.

The eighth obverse (1913 - 1938), known as the "Indian Head Nickel" shows the portrait of an American Indian man facing right, his plaited hair hanging below his shoulder, with a decoration of two large bird feathers hanging down in the back. Around right, the inscription LIBERTY. The date of issue: [year], is in relief on the Indian's shoulder. Incuse below that, a small letter F represents the initial of the sculptor, James E. Fraser.

Coins issued from 1939 to present are known as "Jefferson Nickels", as they all feature a portrait of Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826) - the third President of the United States (1801 - 1809).

From 1939 to 2004, the obverse featured a left-facing portrait of Jefferson, his long hair tied behind his back with a ribbon. Around left, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Around right, LIBERTY and the date of issue.

In 2005 only, there was a right-facing portrait of Thomas Jefferson. On these coins, "Liberty" is written in his own handwriting, taken from his draft of the Declaration of independence.

From 2006 to present, the obverse displays a facing portrait of Jefferson, with "Liberty" still in his own handwriting.

Obverse Inscription IN GOD WE TRUST LIBERTY [year]
Reverse
United States / Five Cents - reverse photo

There have been a number of reverse designs during the history of the denomination.

The first design showed a flying eagle as its main device. The denomination was given as HALF DISME - the only time the word was used. The legend was abbreviated as UNI · STATES OF AMERICA. This was only issued in 1792.

The second design (1794 - 1797) showed a standing eagle surrounded by a wreath, with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around.

The third reverse (1800 - 1805) shows a "heraldic" eagle, with the Shield of the Great Seal of the United States on its breast. The eagle clutches a scroll with the motto E pluribus unum ("Out of Many, One"), a bundle of seven arrows in its right talon, and an olive branch in its left talon. Over its head there appears a "glory" with of clouds and 13 mullets (stars). Around, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

The fourth reverse (1829 - 1837) shows a standing eagle holding arrows and an olive branch. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is around above and the value and denomination are shown as 5 C. below.

The fifth reverse (1837 - 1873) shows the value and denomination at centre, on two lines and written in words: HALF DIME. It is surrounded by a wreath. Between 1837 and 1859 this is a laurel wreath, with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around. It was redesigned to show a more ornate (and larger) wreath between 1860 and 1873, when the legend was moved to the obverse.

The first copper-nickel coins were issued in parallel with the silver half dimes for a time. Between 1866 and 1883, the reverse shows a large numeral 5 for the value at centre, surrounded by 13 stars; in 1866 only, there were rays separating the stars. The denomination CENTS is around below, and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is around above.

The seventh reverse (1883 - 1913) is known as the "V Nickel", as it hs a Roman numeral: V for the value 5, and the denomination CENTS below. The value is surrounded by a wreath; the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is above, and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is around above in larger letters. During the first part of 1883, the word "CENTS" was omitted and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" was below; this however lead to people gilding the coins and passing them as gold 5 dollars, so the design was quickly changed.

The eighth reverse (1913 - 1938), known as the "Buffalo Nickel", shows an American bison (colloquially known as a buffalo, thus giving the coin its name), with its head lowered, standing to left. Around above, the legend UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA. Below that, to the right and above the buffalo's back, on three lines the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. In the exergue, the value and denomination in words: FIVE CENTS.

The ninth definitive obverse was introduced with the introduction of the "Jefferson Nickel" type in 1939 and features Thomas Jefferson's house Monticello. Below, its name: MONTICELLO. Around below that, the value and denomination in words: FIVE CENTS. Around above, the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Around below in larger letters, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The design was updated in 2006, retaining all original elements with a modernised rendition.

Reverse Inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM MONTICELLO FIVE CENTS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
EdgeEdge Inscription
Notes

For coins of other countries denominated as Five Cents, see:
- Five Cents, South Africa - issued 1961 to 2011, withdrawn 2012
- Five Cents, Australia - issued 1966 to present
- Five Cents, Bahamas - issued 1966 to present
- Five Cents, New Zealand - issued 1967 to 2006, demonetised 2006
- Five Cents, Fiji - issued 1969 to present

Coin Type: Five Cents - (214) Coins (Page 3 of 3)
Coin NameMintageSymbol or PortraitLegend
Five Cents 2008 Jefferson Nickel 629,100,489 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2008
Five Cents 2009 Jefferson Nickel 90,389,095 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2009
Five Cents 2010 Jefferson Nickel 493,417,010 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2010
Five Cents 2011 Jefferson Nickel 991,673,010 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2011
Five Cents 2012 Jefferson Nickel 680,359,148 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2012
Five Cents 2013 Jefferson Nickel 1,224,314,505 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2013
Five Cents 2014 Jefferson Nickel 1,207,430,369 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2014
Five Cents 2015 Jefferson Nickel 1,600,699,412 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2015
Five Cents 2016 Jefferson Nickel 1,547,537,355 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2016
Five Cents 2017 Jefferson Nickel 1,374,484,477 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2017
Five Cents 2018 Jefferson Nickel 1,257,443,397 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2018
Five Cents 2019 Jefferson Nickel 1,095,884,262 Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2019
Five Cents 2020 Jefferson Nickel unknown Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2020
Five Cents 2021 Jefferson Nickel unknown Thomas Jefferson (facing) IN GOD WE TRUST Liberty 2021
Showing 201 to 214 of 214 Coins.
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Five Cents: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-types Half Disme
Half Dime, Flowing Hair
Half Dime, Draped Bust
Half Dime, Capped Bust
Half Dime, Seated Liberty
Five Cents, Shield Nickel
Five Cents, Liberty Head
Five Cents, Buffalo Nickel
Five Cents, Jefferson Nickel
From1792
Face Value5 (x Cent)
CurrentYes
MaterialCuproNickel
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size21.210 mm
Thickness1.950 mm
Mass5.000 g