The Racketeer Nickel (1833)The Racketeer Nickel (1833)

Liberty Head Nickel

How much would you pay for the pictured “$5 gold coin” today?  The coin weighs 5 grams.  The current price for gold is $1456.00 per ounce.  One ounce contains 28.35 grams.  Five grams of gold would equal $257.00.  Would you jump at a chance to buy one of these coins for $100.00?

If you answered yes to the last question, then you would be the most recent victim of a scam that is over 125 years old.    

The featured coin is actually a Liberty Head Nickel ($.05) first struck by the Philadelphia Mint in 1883.  Designed by Charles E. Barber, the initial 5,474,300 nickels struck by the mint appeared without the word “CENTS” on the reverse.  A simple “V” served to identify the coin.  Enterprising individuals with questionable morals soon began to apply a thin layer of gold plate to the coins and pass them off as $5 gold pieces. 

The mint quickly became aware of the scam and altered the design on the reverse to include the word “CENTS.”  Utilizing the new design, the mint struck another 16,026,200 nickels in 1883.

Designer Charles E. Barber; weight 5 grams; composition .750 copper, .250 nickel; diameter 2.2 mm; plain edge.