Liberty V Nickel 1883 No Cents Racketeer Nickel Gold Plated G-F

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  • Product ID: 27614
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  • Description:

    The 1883 Liberty V Nickel, particularly the "No Cents" Racketeer Nickel variant that was gold plated, presents a fascinating chapter in the annals of American numismatics. Introduced in 1883, the Liberty V Nickel was designed by Charles E. Barber, the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. This series marked a significant shift in American coinage, both in design and composition.

    The obverse features a classic Greco-Roman profile of Lady Liberty, complete with a coronet inscribed with the word "LIBERTY." This depiction was a nod to the neoclassical art movement that was prevalent during that era in the United States. Surrounding Liberty's profile are 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies, and the coin's issue date.

    The reverse design initially displayed a large Roman numeral 'V', representing the coin's five-cent value, encircled by a wreath. Notably, the initial 1883 design did not include the word "CENTS." This omission led to one of the most infamous episodes in American coinage history, giving rise to the "Racketeer Nickel." Unscrupulous individuals took advantage of this oversight by gold plating these nickels and passing them off as $5 gold pieces. The resemblance was convincing, as both coins were similar in size and, with the nickel's new design, lacked the denomination indicator. The U.S. Mint quickly rectified this by modifying the reverse design later in 1883 to include the word "CENTS" below the 'V'. However, the original "No Cents" coins had already entered circulation, creating a legacy that makes these particular nickels highly sought after by collectors.

    The mintage, of the 1883 "No Cents" Liberty V Nickel, was significant, as it was the inaugural year of the series. Millions of these coins were produced, but not all were gold plated. The gold-plated Racketeer Nickels are a subset, created not by the Mint but by those looking to exploit the coin's design flaw for profit.

    In terms of condition, a gold-plated 1883 "No Cents" Racketeer Nickel in Good to Fine condition is a remarkable find. In Good condition, the coin shows considerable wear with smoothing of Liberty's facial features and hair details. The inscription "LIBERTY" on the coronet, though legible, may exhibit erosion. The 13 stars around the rim might have lost some definition but are still discernible. The gold plating, applied unofficially, often shows signs of wear or tarnishing, potentially revealing the nickel base in places. Moving towards Fine condition, the coin retains more detail. Liberty’s hairlines and facial features are more distinct, and the coronet’s inscription is clearer. The stars and the date are sharper. On the reverse, the 'V' and the wreath show improved definition, though the wear on the gold plating can still be evident.

    The 1883 "No Cents" Racketeer Nickel, especially in gold-plated form, is more than just a piece of currency; it's a historical artifact that tells a story of ingenuity, opportunism, and rapid adaptation in the face of unintended consequences. For collectors, its allure lies not only in its rarity or condition but also in the rich narrative it embodies - a narrative that encapsulates a unique moment in the evolution of American coinage.

  • Details:
    • Denomination: N/A
    • Year: 1883
    • Diameter: N/A
    • Mint Mark: N/A
    • Thickness: N/A
    • Grade: N/A

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