In 1883 the five cent piece was changed to a Liberty Head Type
that continued to be used until 1912. The design by Charles E. Barber
was popular but not without its problems. The first of these coins
produced did not have the word cents on them anywhere.
This led some dishonest folks to start gold plating them to pass as
five- dollar gold pieces. The word cents was quickly
added before the first year of production was over. Most collectors
call these coins V Nickels due to the large Roman numeral
for the value. It is one of the United States series that almost
no-one can complete; while production halted in 1912, five coins were
struck with the date 1913. So in the entire world there can only be
five truly complete sets.
Good reference works for those more interested in this type of coin are The Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins by Walter Breen and Treasure Hunting Liberty Head Nickels by Kevin Flynn and Bill Van Note.
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