In 1866, the U.S. government introduced a new 5 Cent piece made of nickel as an alternative for the silver Half Dime. The two coins were issued side-by-side through 1873, after which the Half Dime was discontinued and the “Nickel” became the coin of the land. The new metal, because it was so hard, made it difficult to strike the coins, and the dies suffered frequent cracking. Part of the problem was the intricate reverse, where stars were squeezed tightly between small rays surrounding the large “5”. Ultimately, the rays were removed from the dies mid-1867, but this did not solve the cracking problem entirely.
G-4 Good- All letters in motto readable
VG-8 Very Good- Motto clear and stands out. Rims slightly worn even. Part of shield lines visible.
F-12 Fine– Half of each olive leaf worn smooth.
EF-20 Extremely Fine- Slight wear to leaf tips and cross over shield.
AU-50 About Uncirculated- Traces of light wear on only the high points of the design. Half of mint luster present.
MS-60 Uncirculated- No Trace of wear. Light blemishes.
MS-63 Choice Uncirculated- Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Impaired luster possible.