Liberty Nickels, 1883-1913
The Liberty Head or V nickel as it is sometimes called, was designed by Charles E. Barber, and was issued continuously in two distinct types for nearly 30 years. The first issue, in 1883, had no denomination on the coin, using the Roman numeral V to represent five cents. These coins were often gold-plated, given reeded edges, and passed off by the unscrupulous as five-dollar gold pieces. The Mint soon realized their error and added the word Cents beneath the V thereby ending the scam. The Liberty Head Nickel was the first nickel struck at a branch mint. (Both the Denver and San Francisco Mints produced nickels in 1912.)
- 1883 Liberty, Without CENTS Type
- 1883-1913 Liberty, With CENTS Type
In 1913, despite the fact that the series had been officially discontinued, five Liberty Head Nickels were surreptitiously produced at the Philadelphia Mint. These unofficial, but nevertheless genuine, coins are now among the most valuable and well-known pieces in U.S. numismatics. Colonel E.H.R. Green, son of the famous miser Witch of Wall Street Hetty Green, originally owned all five of them! They are now proudly held in prominent private collections.