Relative Rarity and Valuation Opinions
In contrast with the rest of this website which presents factual information about 1883/2 Shield Nickels, this page contains my own opinions about the relative rarities and valuations for the five different 1883/2 varieties. Please remember to treat this information as opinions!
More data and better data are available for the three primary 1883/2 varieties (FS5c-013, FS5c-013.1, and FS5c-013.2) as they have been recognized and collected for a much longer time than the other two (FS5c-013.3, F-07).
In recent times, valuations of the 1883/2 appear to be rising rapidly and pricing guides may not be dependable. The best guide is a recent auction result.
The FS5c-013 is the most difficult of the 5 varieties to find. The most difficult die stages of the FS5c-013 are the middle die stage (die crack from lowest right leaf) and the late die stage (die break from lowest right leaf). Many years of searching have turned up only two coins in the middle die stage and one coin in the late die stage.
This variety deserves a substantial premium over all of the other varieties because it is both rarer and much more dramatic.
The FS5c-013 is the easiest (by far!) of the three primary 1883/2 varieties to find. Almost all of them encountered are in the middle die stage. The most difficult die stage is the early die stage (no die crack/break) - many years of searching have turned up only one coin. The late die stage (die break from rim to rim) is considerably more difficult than the middle die stage. A number of FS5c-013.1 have appeared on eBay recently, and all of them have been the middle die stage.
Valuation for the FS5c-013.1 should be figured at the market value of a generic 1883/2.
This variety is harder to find than FS5c-013.1, but not quite as tough as FS5c-013. This variety, along with the F-07, is the easiest to cherrypick because it is easiest to overlook on a casual inspection. The most difficult die stage is the very late die stage (full cud under the date) - only one specimen located in many years of searching. The second most difficult die stage is the middle die stage with a die crack under the date. The late die stage with a retained cud under the date is a little more difficult to find than the earliest die stage that has no crack under the date.
Breen reports a die stage that shows almost an entire underlying 2, but provides no picture. I have never seen a coin that I think matches that description; however, the earliest die stage coin pictured on the FS5c-013.2 page seems to show most of the 2 if you manage to catch the light just right.
The FS5c-013.2 might deserve a premium over the FS5c-013.1 based on rarity, but it loses points based on how much less dramatic and visible the variety is. I think that's a wash and that FS5c-013.1 and FS5c-013.2 should price about the same - at the market value for a generic 1883/2.
As a fairly recent discovery, this variety is more difficult to get a handle on. However, a number of specimens have hit the market in recent years. Most of these have been high grade, and reportedly came from a single roll discovered in Southern California. It seems to me that the FS5c-013.3 is more available than FS5c-013 and FS5c-013.2, but I can't be sure. Valuation should be approximately the same as the FS5c-013.1 and FS5c-013.2 or perhaps slightly less.
There are different die stages available for the reverse die, but I've see only one stage of the obverse die.
In the later die stage that shows very little of the underdate, this variety is available and can be cherrypicked. It can pay to look at encapsulated coins - I have an F-07 late die stage marked simply "RPD" on the holder. In the early die stage (feet of the 2 visible below the 3), I have found only one coin so the early die stage may be a rarity. Time will tell - this variety has not been recognized and sought for very long.
Valuation on the F-07 should be at a discount to the typical pricing for FS5c-013.1, FS5c-13.2, and FS5c-013.3, particularly in the later die stage. It is visually unimpressive and its rarity is unproven.
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