By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Shield nickels are a largely underappreciated series among 19th-century U.S. coinage. They represent America’s inaugural attempt at a nickel five-cent coin, a format that remains a staple in daily commerce to the present day. First introduced in 1866 upon the conclusion of the Civil War, the Shield nickel was issued for just 17 years but produced a tremendous amount of fascinating and rare varieties.
We are thrilled to offer an incredibly rare FS-304, Misplaced Date variety of the 1867 Rays nickel in our March 2021 Showcase Auction. Graded VF-30 (NGC), it exhibits sharp definition and uniform dove-gray patina. Traces of the misplaced 1 digit are clear at the left side of the rounded tip of the shield. This variety was listed as unique in the 2015 Cherrypickers’ Guide by Fivaz and Stanton, where the authors indicated that “hundreds of dedicated Shield nickel enthusiasts are looking for this variety.”
Even so, only a couple of examples have been discovered since then, and the 1867 Rays FS-304 remains a formidable rarity. The PCGS and NGC population reports list just three grading events for this variety, including the present piece. We are unable to find any prior auction appearances for this variety, making this a very significant offering for specialists.
This incredibly rare FS-304 1867 Shield nickel will be featured in our March 2021 Auction, accompanied by many important coins including Small Eagle Draped Bust half dollars from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection; spectacular Peace dollars from the Pittstown Collection; and New Orleans Mint rarities from the Collection of Steve Studer. We are accepting consignments to this Showcase event through January 25. A calendar of our entire schedule of upcoming auction events can be found on our website www.StacksBowers.com.
If you would like to consign or have questions about the consignment process, please contact us today at [email protected] or 800-566-2580.