With a high 1881 nickel value, in all conditions, it is safe to say your coin is rare and desirable to all Shield nickel collectors. 1881 nickels are a key date to the fist nickel series produced by the US mint.
Values range from a starting point of around $130 and climb into the thousands for an 1881 nickel. It all depends on the condition of the coin.
Looking closely at your coin, are any horizontal lines showing within the shield? This shield, when first minted, was full of detail. Time in circulation wears away at these details and depending on the amount remaining determines its "grade." Judging condition and assigning a grade is reflected in the value chart.
You have a valuable old nickel. Start with a review of the value chart, next, continue with an examination of your coin's condition. Let's discover how much your 1881 nickel is worth.
|1881 Nickel Value|
|Condition of Coin|
|1881 Nickel Value Updated||2016|
Known as "grading," judging the condition of your 1881 Shield nickel is especially important. Subtle details, when noticed, often indicate a higher grade. Compare your coin to the images and descriptions and determine the best match. Be conservative in your judgment and you arrive at an accurate value. Viewing a close-up of a coin in the condition it first left the mint is an excellent place to start.
Uncirculated: Radiating with the shine of a new coin, mint luster is still present over the entire surface. A Shield nickel in uncirculated condition shows no signs of wear. There must be no breaks in luster on the high points of the design. The Cross, the frame surrounding the shield and the leaves still glimmer when tilted under a light. Any wear would show as a smoothing of the surface and a color change, either slightly brighter or dull. 1881 nickel value in this condition is well over $1200 and a very rare coin.
Extremely Fine: Light wear has removed the luster from the surface, although a coin in this grade is still well received by collectors. Typical of the grade is a slight flattening to the tips of the leaves and upper part of the cross above the shield, both remain bold however. The many fine outlining and scrolling details of the shield border show signs of wear and obscuring. Within the shield itself, fine horizontal and vertical lines show minor wear causing a few to merge. On the reverse the stars are well defined with lines radiating from the centers.
Fine: Moderate even wear depicts an 1881 nickel in Fine condition. Leaves surrounding the shield are bold and outlined, the cross is bold but each are lacking interior design details. The border of the shield, once full of detail is now smooth. Protected in the shield's interior, some of the fine horizontal and vertical lines must remain visible. Lettering on both obverse and reverse is complete but weak. The stars on the reverse are worn flat, the center radiating line details have all but disappeared.
Good: In the "Good" grade 1881 nickel value is still strong at $130 and above. However the condition of the coin is reduced to just major outlines of the design. To consider your coin as a strong candidate for the good grade, major details must not be merged. The shield must remain separate of the leaves. Date and lettering along the rims, both on the obverse and reverse, also must remain clear.
Any 1881 Shield nickel, in any condition is a collectible coin. So few were minted and saved at the time, finding one today is a major challenge. Collectors are left primarily with heavily circulated example to consider for their collections. Amazedly the center coin; lightly circulated and graded extremely fine condition, is a high end 1881 nickel.
Pictured to the left is a truly rare nickel, never entering circulation and considered one of the finest to exist. The hobby considers the coin in Gem mint state condition and worth well into the multi-thousand dollar price range. So few remain in this elite condition, few trade each year.
On the far right is a "Proof" example of the elusive 1881 nickel. Proof Shield nickels have a distantly different appearance and notable for their reflective mirror fields. As many as 3,500 of these specially minted coins were produced in that year. Interestingly, the small mintage total of proof examples are more available than high grade business strikes.
Date by Date Shield Nickel Value
Complete listing of all Shield nickel values. Your 1881 nickel is truly one of the value leaders on the charts, however all dates are worth a close look. Separate your coins by condition, looking for above average examples to find higher value.
Find Old Nickel Values Covering All Series
Identify your old nickels by their different series, check each date and locate mintmarks. Old nickel value is a combination of Series | Date | Mintmark | Condition. Follow the image links to accurately find the value of your box of old coins.
Coin Values Discovery finds... 1881 Nickel Value and...
All old US coin values. Value charts in combination with grading images to judge condition discovers how much your old coins are worth. Get the best price if selling by knowing the accurate value of all your coins.