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Any shield nickel experts? (Reverse added)

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How do you tell the difference between a missing leaf 1868 and a normal 1868? I was comparing this pic to other coin pics of the same date shield nickel. Why is the date on this coin overlapping the circle on the bottom? Could this coin be counterfeit? I don't know much about shield nickels, but I think it will be my next venture.

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I think the missing leaf is on the 3rd bulb from the bottom on the right. It sticks out a bit toward the edge. I noticed the date should be closer to the rim too but Breens lists a variety of date crowded into ball for 1868. Nothing about the missing leaf though.

Nice website Smprfi.

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Thanks for the post ... nice coin !! laugh.gif You can certainly see the "missing leaf" error on this coin -- the second cluster of leaves on the right side of the obverse (counting down from the top) clearly shows only three leaves, instead of the intended design which has four leaves.


What happened here is that the master die for the obverse was mistakenly fashioned with only three leaves in that leaf cluster. Therefore, all of the working dies made from it only show the three leaves. The engravers noticed this situation, and in most cases someone added another leaf by hand on most of these non-conforming working dies. So on many shield nickels of this era, the fourth leaf is there, but it was added by hand (as Smprfi noted above). And because of this, the leaf in question varies from a thin sliver to a clumsy fat blob.


The most desirable coins are those struck from dies which were NOT corrected by hand. These are the "missing leaf" shield nickels, and this is one of those coins. It is possible to find missing leaf shield nickels dated 1866 through 1869. I would love to see a scan of the reverse as well, to see whether the coin is a "Reverse of 1868" or the more typical "Reverse of 1867."


Fletcher does have many photos of missing leaf coins, and there is also a nice section discussing these coins in the 4th edition of the Fivaz-Stanton Cherrypicker's Guide.


As far as the date being punched too close to & overlapping the ball, this is very common in early shield nickels. Whoever was responsible for punching the dates into the working dies must either have been an alcoholic or a victim of Parkinson's. The dates are all over the place on these coins, and it is not uncommon to find doubled, tripled, misplaced, and widely spaced repunched dates. This is what makes shield nickels the single most interesting series after 1840 in terms of die varieties.


Due to the blizzard in the northeast, I am not at home, and therefore do not have access to all of my references and notes with regard to the "missing leaf" class of shield nickels. After I get home and have access to all my notes, I will post more info.




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