Five Cents, Liberty Head, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

Five Cents, Liberty Head, Coin Type from United States (issued 1883 - 1913)
Coin TypeFive Cents, Liberty Head

The Liberty Head Nickel (or simply Liberty Nickel), sometimes referred to as the V Nickel because of its reverse design, is an American five-cent piece (abbreviated as ). It was struck for circulation from 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913. The obverse features a left-facing image of the goddess of Liberty. The alloy is the same as modern nickels, 75% copper and 25% nickel.

The original copper-nickel five-cent piece, the Shield Nickel, had long-standing production problems, and in the early 1880s the United States Mint was looking to replace it. Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber was instructed to prepare designs for proposed one-, three-, and five-cent pieces, which were to bear similar designs. Only the new five-cent piece was approved, and went into production in 1883. For almost thirty years large quantities of coin of this design were produced to meet commercial demand, especially as coin-operated machines became increasingly popular.

Beginning in 1911, the Mint began work to replace the Liberty Head design, and a new design, which became known as the Buffalo Nickel, went into production in February 1913. Although no 1913 Liberty head nickels were officially struck, five are known to exist. While it is uncertain how these pieces originated, they have come to be among the most expensive coins in the world.

These coins have not been recalled and are still current, although they do not circulate any more - most having been worn out, lost or hoarded by collectors.

Obverse
United States / Five Cents, Liberty Head - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows, within a denticled (toothed) border, the classic head of Liberty, facing left, with long hair tied back in a bun.

She wears a coronet or diadem, on which the inscription LIBERTY is incuse. Above that, she has a wreath of wheat and grape leaves.

All around, thirteen six-pointed stars represent the first thirteen states that formed the United States.

Below, the date of issue: [year].

Obverse Inscription ************* [year]
Reverse
United States / Five Cents, Liberty Head - reverse photo

At centre, surrounded by a wreath of wheat, cotton and corn, a large Latin numeral V (5) for the value. Around below, the denomination CENTS.

Around above the wreath, the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Around above, the legend · UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ·.

During the first part of 1883, the reverse was different: it had no inscription reading "CENTS" and the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" was around below instead. This however resulted in crooks plating the coins with gold and passing them as five dollars, so the design was changed after not too many coins of the type were produced.

Reverse Inscription V CENTS · UNITED STATES OF AMERICA · E PLURIBUS UNUM
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Coin Type: Five Cents, Liberty Head - (31) Coins
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
Five Cents 1883 Liberty Head Nickel 21,512,502 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1883
Five Cents 1884 Liberty Head Nickel 11,273,942 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1884
Five Cents 1885 Liberty Head Nickel 1,476,490 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1885
Five Cents 1886 Liberty Head Nickel 3,330,290 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1886
Five Cents 1887 Liberty Head Nickel 15,263,652 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1887
Five Cents 1888 Liberty Head Nickel 10,172,483 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1888
Five Cents 1889 Liberty Head Nickel 15,881,361 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1889
Five Cents 1890 Liberty Head Nickel 16,259,272 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1890
Five Cents 1891 Liberty Head Nickel 16,834,350 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1891
Five Cents 1892 Liberty Head Nickel 11,699,642 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1892
Five Cents 1893 Liberty Head Nickel 13,370,195 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1893
Five Cents 1894 Liberty Head Nickel 5,413,132 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1894
Five Cents 1895 Liberty Head Nickel 9,979,884 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1895
Five Cents 1896 Liberty Head Nickel 8,842,920 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1896
Five Cents 1897 Liberty Head Nickel 20,428,735 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1897
Five Cents 1898 Liberty Head Nickel 12,532,087 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1898
Five Cents 1899 Liberty Head Nickel 26,029,031 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1899
Five Cents 1900 Liberty Head Nickel 27,255,995 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1900
Five Cents 1901 Liberty Head Nickel 26,480,213 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1901
Five Cents 1902 Liberty Head Nickel 31,489,579 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1902
Five Cents 1903 Liberty Head Nickel 28,006,725 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1903
Five Cents 1904 Liberty Head Nickel 21,404,984 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1904
Five Cents 1905 Liberty Head Nickel 29,827,276 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1905
Five Cents 1906 Liberty Head Nickel 38,613,725 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1906
Five Cents 1907 Liberty Head Nickel 39,214,800 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1907
Five Cents 1908 Liberty Head Nickel 22,686,177 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1908
Five Cents 1909 Liberty Head Nickel 11,590,526 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1909
Five Cents 1910 Liberty Head Nickel 30,169,353 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1910
Five Cents 1911 Liberty Head Nickel 39,559,372 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1911
Five Cents 1912 Liberty Head Nickel 34,948,714 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1912
Five Cents 1913 Liberty Head Nickel 5 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1913
Advertising
Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Five Cents, Liberty Head: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-type ofFive Cents
From1883
To1913
Face Value5 (x Cent)
CurrentYes
MaterialCuproNickel
DesignerCharles Barber
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size21.200 mm
Thickness1.950 mm
Mass5.000 g