The United States Mint first produced the Liberty Head nickel in 1883. Charles E. Barber, chief engraver at the mint created the design featuring Lady Liberty facing to the left and surrounded by starts. The reverse features that denomination simply stated by the Roman numeral V inside of a Laurel Wreath. The Mint added the word CENTS to the reverse of the coin after devious people started to gold plate the coin and passed them off as five dollar gold pieces. This omission led to two varieties in the first year of production.
In 1913 an unscrupulous mint employee produced five Liberty Head nickels dated 1913. It is believed that he used coin dies created in case the dies for the Buffalo nickel were not ready for production in time. Today, these nickels are worth millions of dollars whenever one of them comes to auction.
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