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Topics in Review: Nickel coinage in the United States – PMC

Nickel is the most common contact allergen found in patch test. 1 The diagnosis of nickel allergy is normally straightforward : the skin becomes scaly and eczematous after touch with metallic suspenders, metallic buttons or clasp ( ), medical alert pendants ( ), or ear-rings. Because of the nickel contented in coins, the switch in a affected role ‘s pockets can cause an allergic bark reaction. In this article, we discuss the history of nickel as a 3- and 5-cent firearm and as the base alloy used in most of the coins presently in circulation ( ) .


In the early years of the United States, foreign coins circulated with US coins because of the deficit of neologism. The spanish real was legal tender in the United States until 1857. 2, 3 The term bits came from the chop of a spanish 8 real ( called a “ piece of 8 ” by buccaneers ) 2 into 4 peer pieces, each worth 2 reales, —2 bits—or 25 cents. early on United States neologism included unusual denominations, such as the half penny, 2-cent piece, 20-cent assemble, and the 3-dollar aureate slice. 4

Silver half dime

reverse to popular belief, the first 5-cent piece was not termed a “ nickel ” but preferably the “ half dime. ” The original term for dime was disme from the french term dixime, which meant one one-tenth. 2, 5 The half dime was discontinued in 1873 because of the increasing popularity of the nickel 5-cent piece. 6

Nickel 3-cent piece

The first “ nickel ” was a 3-cent piece produced from 1865 to 1889. It was created in 1851 by the US Mint because the postage for a letter decreased from 5 cents to 3 cents. In 1865, a nickel interpretation of the 3-cent assemble was created to introduce a establish metallic element coin to prevent ash grey billboard after the Civil War. 3 The nickel 3 cent was composed of 75 % copper and 25 % nickel, frankincense the dub “ nickel ” even though it had more copper than nickel. The dub “ copper ” was already taken by the 1-cent piece, a term picked up from the English description of a penny.

Shield nickel

Our modern adaptation of the nickel did not come into being until 1866. After the discovery of amber in 1849, gold was more bountiful than silver, which led to an increase in the proportional value of eloquent and the roll up of silver coins. During the resulting mint dearth, stamps were used as currentness. 3 The dearth of silver that followed prompted the US Mint to introduce a base metal coin, the harbor nickel, to finally replace the silver half dime. The carapace nickel was made until 1883 and was composed of 75 % copper and 25 % nickel.

Liberty nickel

In 1883, with the eloquent half dime out of production, the Mint changed the plan of the 5-cent while. The first gear series of coins in 1883 did not have the news cents on the reverse, lone a large Roman numeral 5 or “ V ”. unscrupulous people gold-plated the newfangled nickel and passed the mint as a 5-dollar amber part, because the 2 coins were about the lapp size and both had a exchangeable Liberty engraving on the obverse. 4

Around this time, celebrated memorize artist Josh Tatum purportedly would walk into a storehouse and select a 5-cent detail, such as a 5-cent cigar, and tender a 24-karat goldplate nickel. If the shopkeeper noticed it was a nickel, Tatum would just leave with his buy. Most of the clock time, however, he would leave with his purchase and $ 4.95 in change. When Tatum was finally apprehended and his case went to test, the defense lawyer asked each shopkeeper if Tatum, who could neither speak nor hear, had asked for change back. Every shopkeeper testified “ ordinal number ” Because it was not illegal to goldplate coins in the 1880s and Tatum did not specifically ask for change back, he was found not guilty. Josh Tatum is frequently credited with inspiring the term “ I was fair joshing. ” In 1884, this type of counterfeiting stopped when the Mint began to engrave the words Five Cents on the obverse of the nickel. 6 The 1913 Liberty nickel was the final of this series and is one of the most valuable coins in the world. One such coin was sold at an auction for $ 1.485 million. 7

Buffalo nickel

James E Fraser designed one of the most popular coins, the buffalo nickel. exchangeable to the Liberty nickel, this coin had a composition of nickel and bull. The popularity of the mint was attributed to the 2 very american subjects on the obverse and rearward, the american Indian and the buffalo, respectively. The image of the american Indian is a composite of 3 indian chiefs ; the buffalo was modeled on “ Black Diamond, ” a celebrated american bison of the time in New York ‘s Central Park Zoo. 2 The old world buffalo nickel was produced during the Great Depression, and some unemployed people men would change the indian to a portrayal of a supporter by carving into the mint, therefore the name “ tramp nickels. ”

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