1868 P Shield Nickels - Lot of 2 Coins1868 P Shield Nickels - Lot of 2 Coins1868 P Shield Nickels - Lot of 2 Coins1868 P Shield Nickels - Lot of 2 Coins

1868 P Shield Nickels - Lot of 2 Coins

Lot 489

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Item Description

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Certified By:
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This lot is for two coins!

When the Shield Nickel was conceived in 1866, five-cent pieces had been produced by the US Mint since 1792. Originally, these coins were known as half dimes and were made of silver. At the time, silver half dimes were comprised of more than 89% pure silver while the rest of the coin was made of copper.

By the time the Civil War broke out in the United States in 1861, the US Mint was forced to cease production of US coinage. During the more than 4 years during which the Civil War raged, people were forced to pay for goods by way of any number of negotiable tools, including stamps and tokens. In 1864, Congress began the process of putting coins back into circulation and made its first move to abolish the three-cent piece and instead replace it with bronze cent and two-cent coins. Also in 1864, Congress authorized the creation of a new five-cent piece. The new half dime was to bear the image of William Clark, famous explorer, but somewhere along the line that message got confused and the coin, when unveiled to Congress, bore the image of Currency Bureau head Spencer Clark.

Mint Director of the time James Pollock was initially opposed to utilizing a coin made of nickel, but after he took into consideration the success of the nickel three-cent piece, he quickly changed his mind. Joseph Wharton, who played a major role in the nickel industry of the day, is also credited with helping put into action the creation of a nickel-based 5-cent piece. When the nickel 5-cent piece was initially proposed, it was said to weigh about 3.9 grams, but the House of Representatives upped that weight to an even 5 grams. By the middle of May 1866, a bill was passed by Congress that sanctioned the creation of the new, heavier five-cent piece.

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