Varieties of the 1883/2 Shield Nickel

 

There are now five generally recognized varieties of genuine 1883/2 shield nickels.  All of the five varieties except one (the F-07) show pieces of a 2 between the second 8 and the 3 of the date.  If a coin is offered as an 1883/2 but does not show pieces of a 2 between the second 8 and the 3 of the date, it is in all likelihood NOT an 1883/2 shield nickel. In particular, beware of coins offered as 1883/2 that have the 3 and the 2 directly on top of each other (see the pages about the 1882 filled 2).

The five varieties are known by catalog numbers from different reference books.  While there are several different reference books available, the most common attributions for shield nickels are the Cherrypickers' Guide (FS) number (see The Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton), the Fletcher (F) number (see The Shield Five Cent Series by Edward Fletcher), and the Breen (B) number (see Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins by Walter Breen). Occasionally you may encounter PM numbers (see The Complete Guide to Shield and Liberty Nickels by Gloria Peters and Cynthia Mohon). Additionally the table below presents cross-references to the author's own Shield Nickel Viewer (SNV) numbers.

Cross references for the five varieties are:
 
 

Cross-Reference Table for 1883/2 Shield Nickels
Cherrypickers' Guide Fletcher SNV Breen PM
FS5c-013 F-08 S1-5001 B2524 PM-18V.4
FS5c-013.1 F-09a, F-09b, F-09c S1-5002 B2525 PM-18V.2
FS5c-013.2 F-10a, F-10b, F-10c, F-10d S1-5003 B2526 PM-18V.3
FS5c-013.3 Not listed S1-5004 Not listed Not listed
Not listed F-07 S1-5000 Not listed Not listed

 

When the Fletcher numbers are suffixed with letters they denote different die stages.

To give you an idea of the rarity of these 1883/2 varieties, the reference books assign rarity numbers as follows (CPG means Cherrypickers' Guide):
 
 

Rarity Table for 1883/2 Shield Nickels
Attribution CPG 3rd Edition CPG 4th Edition Fletcher PM
FS5c-013 URS-6 (17 to 32 known) URS-8 (65 to 125 known) URS-8 (65 to 125 known) R5 (31-75 known)
FS5c-013.1 URS-7 (33 to 64 known) URS-4 (5 to 8 known) URS-6 (17 to 32 known) R5 (31-75 known)
FS5c-013.2 URS-7 (33 to 64 known) URS-11 (501 to 1000 known) URS-5 (9 to 16 known) R6 (13-30 known)
FS5c-013.3 Not listed URS-1 (one known) Not listed Not listed
F-07 Not listed Not listed URS-3 (3 or 4 known) Not listed

 

The rarity factors are only guesses - no one really knows.  Please click here to read my opinions about relative rarities and valuations.  The FS5c-013.3 is a fairly new discovery, and its rarity is not really known. Several more specimens have been discovered since CPG 4th Edition was published, so the URS-1 rating is obviously wrong. I personally know of a collector who owns several examples of the F-07 - more undoubtedly exist unrecognized and unattributed. The main point is that 1883/2 shield nickel are quite rare, so when you see five of them on eBay this week you might want to look closely and see how many of those five are really 1883/2 shield nickels.  The vast majority of 1883/2 shield nickels offered for sale on eBay and at coin shows are really 1882 with a filled 2 (see the pages about the 1882 filled 2).

Please refer to the individual pages for each 1883/2 variety for more information:

FS5c-013 F-08 S1-5001 B2524 PM-18V.4

FS5c-013.1 F-09 S1-5002 B2525 PM-18V.2

FS5c-013.2 F-10 S1-5003 B2526 PM-18V.3

FS5c-013.3 S1-5004

F-07 S1-5000 (the rule breaker)

 

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All text and images for the 1883/2 Shield Nickel website are copyright (C) 2002, 2003, 2004,2005 by Howard Spindel