The 1877 and 1878 Proof Shield Nickels (Buy on eBay) are two issues of the series which were struck in proof format only. By this time, economic uncertainties had eased and silver coins began to circulate once again. With large numbers of previously hoarded coins re-entering circulation, there was little need to produce new coins and mintages for small denominations dropped to minimal levels. In the case of the nickel, no circulating coin production took place for two years.
The Mint still produced a limited number of proof coins for collectors. The 1877 Proof Shield Nickel had an estimated mintage of 510 coins, a relatively low figure among proof coins of the series. The following year, the 1878 Proof Shield Nickel had a mintage of 2,350 coins, at the higher end for proof coin production. Both issues carry premiums since the lack of circulation strikes creates extra demand for the proofs.
- Designer: James B. Longacre
- Composition: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel
- Weight: 5 grams
- Diameter: 20.5 mm
- Edge: Plain