The first five cent coin struck using nickel as part of the composition was the Shield Nickel. These 5 cent pieces weighed 5 grams, or 77 grains. Their composition is 75% copper and 25% nickel, an alloy which results in a gray appearance. The diameter of this denomination is 20.5 mm, and all have a plain edge.
No coins were minted at any of the branch mints for the duration of the series, resulting in no pieces with mintmarks.
Shield Nickels were designed by James B. Longacre. The series was minted from 1866 to 1883, at which point it was replaced by the Liberty Nickel designed by Charles E. Barber.
Dates: 1866 -1883
Mint Mark: none
Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Weight: 5 grams
Diameter: 20.5 mm
Designer: James B. Longacre