1883 "No Cents" V Nickel

1883 "No Cents" V Nickel

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The 1883 "No Cents" V Nickel may be the most infamous coin of all time. Briefly in 1883, the United States Mint did not print the word "Cents" on these nickels, only the Roman numberal V to represent the coin's denomination. Fraudsters quickly caught on and plated the coins in gold in an attempt to pass them off as $5 Gold Coins and instantly turn 5 cents into 5 dollars. $5 in 1883 is worth almost $125 in today's money! The United States Mint acted quickly and added the word "Cents" to put an end to this, but it was too late for the countless business owners who got duped. The 1883 V nickel is highly collectible today, with value and interest varying significantly based on the variety ("No CENTS" vs. "WITH CENTS"), condition, and any unique characteristics. Its place in numismatic collections is assured due to its beauty, historical significance, and the intriguing story of its issuance. You will receive (1) coin in circulated condition.


Obverse Design

  • Portrait: The obverse (front) of the coin features a left-facing classical depiction of Lady Liberty, designed by Charles E. Barber. Lady Liberty is adorned with a coronet and a wreath of wheat, cotton, and corn, symbolizing America's agricultural heritage.
  • Inscription: Above Lady Liberty's head is the word "LIBERTY," and the date "1883" is found below the portrait.
  • Stars: Surrounding Lady Liberty's head are 13 stars, representing the original thirteen colonies of the United States.


Reverse Design

  • V Symbol: The reverse (back) of the coin prominently features a large Roman numeral "V," which stands for 5, indicating the coin's denomination of five cents.
  • Varieties: The 1883 V nickel is known for its two varieties:
    • No CENTS: The initial design did not include the word "CENTS" below the "V." This omission led to confusion and fraudulent activities, as some individuals gold-plated the coin to pass it off as a $5 gold piece.
    • WITH CENTS: Later in 1883, in response to the fraud, the Mint added "CENTS" beneath the "V" to clearly denote the coin's value.
  • Wreath: Surrounding the "V" is a wreath, and for the "WITH CENTS" variety, the word "CENTS" is placed at the bottom, between the wreath's ends.
  • Inscription: The phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" encircles the upper half of the design, and for the "WITH CENTS" variety, the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" is featured above the "V."



  • Composition: The coin is made of 75% copper and 25% nickel, giving it a distinctive appearance and durability.
  • Diameter: It measures approximately 21.2 millimeters in diameter.
  • Weight: The coin weighs 5 grams.


Don't Josh Me!

The 1883 "No Cents" V Nickel, also known as the Liberty Head Nickel, has an interesting story, famously associated with the phrase "don't josh me." When this coin was first introduced, it featured a large Roman numeral V on the reverse but did not include the word "CENTS." The obverse of the coin showed Lady Liberty, making it look similar in design and size to the five-dollar gold piece of the time.

Con artists soon took advantage of this similarity. They would gold-plate these nickels and pass them off as $5 gold coins to unsuspecting merchants and individuals. The scam was so prevalent that it became part of popular culture, leading to the creation of the phrase "don't josh me," implying not to be tricked or fooled, referencing Josh Tatum, a notorious individual allegedly involved in these scams.

To counter this fraud, the U.S. Mint quickly modified the design later in 1883 by adding the word "CENTS" beneath the V on the reverse, distinguishing it clearly from the gold coins. These modified coins are known as the "With Cents" variety. The "No Cents" nickels became collector's items due to their role in this fascinating episode of American numismatic history and the swift action taken by the Mint to rectify the confusion.

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1883 No Cents V Nickel FAQ

The 1883 V nickel, officially known as the Liberty Head nickel, was introduced in 1883 as part of the United States Mint's efforts to redesign the nation's coinage. The "V" on the reverse side stands for "Victory" and actually represents the Roman numeral for 5, indicating the coin's denomination of five cents. The coin features a left-facing image of Lady Liberty on the obverse.

The 1883 V nickel is known in two varieties: the "No CENTS" and "WITH CENTS." The initial design did not include the word "CENTS" on the reverse, leading to confusion and fraud as some people gold-plated the coin to pass it off as a $5 gold piece. Later in the year, the Mint added "CENTS" to the reverse to prevent this deception.

The value of an 1883 V nickel varies significantly based on its condition and variety ("No CENTS" or "WITH CENTS"). A common "No CENTS" nickel in good condition might be worth around $10 to $30, while a "WITH CENTS" in similar condition could fetch slightly more. Exceptionally rare and well-preserved examples can command thousands of dollars at auction.

Rarity in 1883 V nickels is primarily determined by their condition, variety, and any potential mint errors. The "No CENTS" variety is more common, but high-grade examples of either type can be rare. Coins with unique errors, like double strikes or die varieties, can also be particularly valuable.

Yes, due to their value among collectors, counterfeit 1883 V nickels do exist. Counterfeits may attempt to replicate rare varieties or high-grade conditions. It's important to have coins authenticated by a reputable coin grading service to ensure their authenticity.

The 1883 V nickel is collectible due to its historical significance, the unique "No CENTS" and "WITH CENTS" varieties, and its role in the fascinating episode of American numismatic history where the initial omission of "CENTS" led to fraud. Its age and the various grades of preservation also contribute to its collectibility.

In 1883, a total of over 5 million "No CENTS" V nickels were minted, and later in the year, more than 16 million "WITH CENTS" nickels were produced. This makes the "WITH CENTS" variety more common in circulation.

To preserve an 1883 V nickel, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use acid-free holders or albums designed for coin storage. Avoid handling the coin frequently, and when you do, hold it by the edges to prevent oils from your skin from damaging the surface.

While it's highly unlikely to find an 1883 V nickel in general circulation due to their age and collectibility, they can still be found through coin dealers, auctions, and collectors' estates. Searching through old coin collections or inheritances might also uncover one.

If you believe you have a rare 1883 V nickel, consider having it appraised and authenticated by a professional coin grading service. This will provide you with an accurate assessment of its condition, authenticity, and potential value.

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