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Throughout history, the USA has minted many different nickels. These coins are very popular with collectors today and are often valuable. Examples of nickels include the shield nickel and the liberty head nickel, which are two of the most famous and popular American coins. Buffalo nickels are also rare and worth collecting. 

Shield Nickel

The shield nickel was minted from 1866 to 1883, which is a relatively short run for an American coin. The shield nickel is rare and is one of the most expensive coins on the market. They are costly in uncirculated condition as finding a good quality coin can be a challenge. Even well-circulated coins often reach high prices at auction. Proofs from 1877 and 1878 are estimated to be of higher value.  

The Shield Nickel is popular as it was the first nickel that was ever minted in America. This coin had a relatively low mintage than other nickels, which adds to its rarity and appeal. It was only minted for sixteen years. 

The shield nickels are unique and eye-catching as it has an intricate design. The coin's obverse features a shield and wreath while the reverse has a stars and strip border with the number five in the middle. James Longacre designed the coin. 

Liberty Head Nickel

The liberty head nickel is sometimes called the V nickel as it’s reverse has the Roman Numeral V, meaning 5. It’s a five-cent coin that was minted between 1883 and 1912. These coins are readily available, and collectors can easily get their hands on a whole set if they wish. 

The Liberty head nickel has Liberty’s head in profile on the obverse. There are also thirteen stars around the faces circumference to represent the 13 founding states of America. The coin's reverse has a wreath with a V in the middle. These coins were minted in large numbers, and although popular, they aren’t particularly valuable. Charles Barber, Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint, designed this coin. 

Buffalo Nickel

Buffalo Nickels were minted between 1913 and 1938 and were sometimes referred to as the Indian Head nickel. These coins are easy to find and very affordable. The value of the buffalo nickel varies depending on the coin's date and condition. Well circulated coins cost just a few dollars, whereas uncirculated coins with key dates can sell for thousands. 

James Earl Fraser designed the Buffalo nickel as part of the Renaissance of American Coinage. President Theodore Roosevelt decided to improve America's coin designs after being inspired by ancient Greek coins. The coin's obverse features a Native American facing towards the right. There has been much speculation over the years as to who the portrait was. It’s thought to be a composition of many different tribal chiefs. The coin's reverse has a Buffalo that the designer drew while at the New York City Zoo. The buffalo's name was Black Diamond.

Jefferson Nickel

The Jefferson nickel was introduced in 1938 and is a five-cent coin that replaced the Buffalo nickel. A competition was launch to create a new design for the coin, and a $1000 prize was offered. The competition proved to be popular, and 390 entrants from across America were received. Felix Schlag created the winning design. 

It is still being minted to the present day. The coin was initially struck using copper and nickel. In 1942 the coin was minted using silver alloy as nickel was reclaimed for the war effort. This makes the earlier coins very rare. The coin's obverse features the founding father and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. 

The modern Jefferson Nickel was minted from 1965, and most of these coins are still in circulation today. This coin has an updated version of Jefferson on the obverse. Collectors can begin to assemble their portfolio using coins that are in circulation. Earlier Jefferson nickels are rarer and worth more. These are highly collectible. The 1994 and 1997 P Matt Proof are incredibly valuable. 

Nickels for sale

Bullion Shark has an extensive collection of nickel coins available to purchase, and these are very popular with collectors. Nickels are often rare and highly sought after, especially the shield nickel and early Jefferson nickels, which are very valuable. Nickels in such good condition are a challenge to find and don't come around every day.