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1866 Shield Nickel Has No "Ring," Counterfeit?

 
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 Posted 01/08/2021  7:49 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Joey Morgan to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello and Happy New year,

First time posting on the forum!

I purchased a well worn 1866 Shield nickel recently (mail order), and upon examining the coin, I noticed that it has no "ring" to it. Totally dull and dead when you give it the old ping test or drop it on the table. I am familiar with the difference between the sound a copper cent makes versus a zinc cent, and this nickel is deader sounding then even a modern Zinc penny. My suspicion is that it is made of something other than copper & nickel. What do you guys think? Pictures are posted below.

The coin weighs 4.95 grams. (Seems a little heavy for a well worn nickel)
Mint spec is supposed to be 5 grams.

Diameter averages 20.6mm (Very slightly larger than spec)
Spec is supposed to be 20.5mm
The shields are about .7 mm smaller than the liberty & Buffalo nickels so maybe that could explain the lack of resonance.

Price was $28 and I bought it from a large Ebay coin dealer with excellent feedback.

I don't see any casting marks. Edges are flat and well rounded from wear.

Could this be a contemporary counterfeit? Or do some coins just not have the characteristic ring that all my other nickels have?

I would greatly appreciate any comments or feedback on this coin. Thanks in advance!





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Canada
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 Posted 01/08/2021  8:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add whatdowehavehere to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
First year use of the alloy-many problems with the dies (that's why the Rays were removed in 1867). Nickel is a tough metal. Look at the edge and rims to see it it has passed through the upsetting mill as usual...
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 Posted 01/08/2021  8:39 pm  Show Profile   Check 52Raymo's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 52Raymo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sure looks good to me but I'm not an avid Shield nickel collector.
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 Posted 01/08/2021  9:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Silver has a "ring" to it, not copper nickel coins.
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 Posted 01/08/2021  9:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Genuine.



to the CCF!
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 Posted 01/08/2021  10:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Joey Morgan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Everyone! There is so much expertise on this forum&

So, assuming this is, in fact, a genuine piece, it seems that metallic resonance isn't a reliable indicator of authenticity? That is, for Nickels anyway. (Not talking about Silver here)

This coin is my first Shield nickel, but it is also the only US coin I've ever held that didn't have at least a nice high pitched "clink".
(Maybe steel cents are the exception?)

This nickel actually has the same "dead" resonance of some steel Euro coins I have, and that's what caught my attention!

I wonder if the mix of copper to nickel could be off enough to create this effect? Or maybe if I had a hand full of Shield nickels I would find out that they all sound this way... Guess I'll have to get some more to compare it to!!

Thanks for entertaining my sensitive ears, as metallurgy and audiology are two fascinating aspects of numismatics that make it so interesting, haha!

Thanks again for the comments. Much appreciated.
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 Posted 01/09/2021  10:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not a fan of the "ring" test, since dropping a coin on a surface to hear a sound makes my skin crawl.
If it is a worn circulated coin, I suppose it is OK.
An uncirculated coin could possibly an IMO probably drop in a grade from MS66 to MS65 in one hit from dropping in this test technique. Depending on the coin it could be an expensive experiment.
I will say that the composition of your 1866 V nickel with rays (a significant "type" coin) is the same as a modern day Jefferson nickel and they are both 75% copper and 25% nickel and weigh 5 grams.
So dropping a Jefferson should sound the same as a Shield nickel. You could compare that I guess.
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Edited by TNG
01/09/2021 10:07 am
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 Posted 01/09/2021  11:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ExoGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ Joey .... to the CCF

IMHO, you bought a good coin at decent price. While you didn't get a bargain, you didn't take a bath on this purchase.

Yours is a first year type coin. For a great many years, a nickel was the standard price of a beer, a cigar, a loaf of bread and numerous other items. No telling how many hands this coin passed through, during the past 150 years! Still, your coin, despite some minor surface issues, shows strong details for the grade.

Most collectors will advise purchasing coins that lack surface or environmental issues. When I collected type coins and sets, I abided by that. You can tell by my avatar that I'm also a counterstamp collector, and these damaged coins are avidly collected by those who cherish history above appearance.

Edited by ExoGuy
01/09/2021 11:54 am
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 Posted 01/09/2021  3:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Joey Morgan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Thanks for all the warm welcomes! Glad to be here.

Your responses are excellent


Quote:
No telling how many hands this coin passed through, during the past 150 years!


THIS is why I love old coins. It's just fascinating to think about how many hands have held a well circulated coin. And yes, the counter stamp coins are very interesting pieces of history indeed.


Quote:
So dropping a Jefferson should sound the same as a Shield nickel. You could compare that I guess.


Interestingly, every Jefferson, Buffalo, or Liberty nickel I've tested has the same sound while this Shield nickel has basically NO sound at all. While I believe that I have a genuine piece (thanks for the comments) I am just so curious as to why it "sounds" so different.

(And I certainly agree about not dropping coins. Probably wouldn't use that method on any valuable MS coins, but I don't have many of those anyway, haha!)

So, does anyone have the opportunity to compare nickel sounds? Would be interested to know what you guys hear! Thanks!

This experiment has me currently looking for another Shield nickel to compare with. Might be the beginning of a new collection.
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 Posted 01/20/2021  8:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Joey Morgan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Update: I managed to find 3 more Shield nickels! Yes they are all very worn and of low grade but the dates are readable on 3 of them

I tested the sound of each coin by balancing on one finger and (gently) tapping the coin while listening to the pitch and resonance. All 4 Shield nickels produced the same characteristics: a dull low pitched clunk with no sustain. So this tells me that these observations are just what a normal Shield nickel should sound like. Settles that!

As a comparison, Liberty, Buffalo, & Jefferson nickels all have a MUCH different sound, similar to a copper/nickel quarter. (High pitched "copper" ring with a little bit of sustain, but of course shorter than silver)
Any ideas as to why?


So for any other kids obsessed with minor details like the sound of a nickel, there ya go.

Thanks for the community responses!

It's been a fun discussion.



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 Posted 04/16/2021  6:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MisterT to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not a fan of the ping test even on silver coins. I had a Trade dollar that passed the ping test yet still tested out as a copper core counterfeit. The weight seems to be OK. I have some G4 coins that weigh 4.9 grams. Diameter, the 0.1mm over could be error in the caliper or micrometer. Another measurement you can take is the thickness. It should be 1.95mm. And finally the way I detected the composition of my counterfeit Trade dollar was by doing a specific gravity test. Specific gravity for this Shield nickel should be 8.92 or close to it.
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 Posted 04/17/2021  08:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
it seems that metallic resonance isn't a reliable indicator of authenticity?

Correct, it is not.


Quote:
Silver has a "ring" to it, not copper nickel coins.

Coppernickel coins ring as well, but the ring is a different tone and is not as prolonged.


Quote:
So dropping a Jefferson should sound the same as a Shield nickel.

No it will be similar but not quite the same since the Shield nickel is smaller in diameter and thicker.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 04/18/2021  08:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Maybe if you dropped from the top of a building it would ring. Dumbest method to check coins. Why not just melt them?
just carl
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 Posted 04/18/2021  09:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ExoGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The ring test has helped me distinguish many a silver coin/token over the years. There's a slightly resonant quality to silver, a slightly more sustained pitch. There are musicians who have "perfect pitch" and can tell the letter of a single note that's played.

One of my best flea market purchases was made, pursuant to a "ring" or "ping" test. It sounded like silver to me and later proved to be so; this, by specific gravity testing AND later with an XRF metal spectrometer gun. If the rare token had evidenced a dull ring, I'd not have purchased it.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  11:54 am  Show Profile   Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Joey!

As a new fan to Shield nickels then you'll probably enjoy this book, I first heard of it when I met both the authors at a coin show I had a table at, I purchased a copy which they graciously signed and inscribed a little message to me.

Free to read online or download in PDF just click the bottom of the frame if you aren't familiar with the NNP yet.

https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/555394

Ed Fletcher wrote an even more in depth book "The Shield Five Cent Series" on many of the various varieties, that book is out of print, yet still pops up on places like eBay for sale, however the price on it has been going sky high lately. Gloria and Cynthia's book for free should keep you busy for a while.

I also really like the Shield nickels, almost as much as my Two Cent Pieces, since they look so similar, and both were designed by James Longacre.
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
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