A brief history of the 1883 Racketeer Nickel

The Liberty Head nickel is a 5-cent coin that was produced by the United States mint starting in 1883 until it was replaced by the Buffalo nickel starting in 1913.  It has a simple design with the portrait of Liberty wearing a coronet and wreath on the obverse while the reverse has the Roman Numeral V surrounded by a wreath on the reverse.

No Cent variety courtesy of Wikipedia.com

In 1883, the coin had a word missing from its design—the word CENTS (it only had the V on the obverse designating the denomination of the coin).  Another problem that this coin had was that close in size to the $5 gold piece.  To top it off, the two coins had a similar design as well.

With Cents variety courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The racketeer nickel came about soon after the U.S. mint issued the Liberty nickel in 1883.  What happened was this nickel got a gold plating on it to make it look like the $5 gold piece even more.

5 Dollar gold coin courtesy of Wikipedia.com

There are stories about the gold-plated coin being pawned off as the legitimate $5 gold piece at stores or even poker games.

There is even a story of a man named Josh Tatum.  One version states that he could not speak, and I have even heard that he was deaf and could not speak.  In the story, Josh would walk into a store and get a 5-cent cigar.  He then would pay with the gold-plated coin and get $4.95 back in change.

After doing this a few times, Josh was arrested and tried in a court of law for his actions.  Josh was exonerated since no one heard him speak—they didn’t know if he knew if it was a 5-cent coin or the $5 gold piece.

The United States mint halted the production of the Liberty Head nickels as the design was changed with the addition of the word CENTS on the reverse—the revised nickel was issued on June 26, 1883.

When you run across an 1883 Liberty Head nickel you need to see it has the word CENTS or not.  Out of the two different varieties (one is called WITH CENTS and the other is called WITHOUT CENTS)—the WITH CENTS variety costs a little more. What kinds of stories like the “racketeer nickel” have you heard?

Advertisements

What are some of the different types of marbles that you will run across?

Marbles are a fun area to dive into and collect.  There are plenty of different types of marbles that you can find—cat’s eyes, steelies and even Latticinio core are just a few of what you will find.  Here are some more that you will come across:

Gooseberries – this is an example of a colored glass marble.  Gooseberries have numerous thin white threads of glass that are distributed evenly around the surface of the marble.

gooseberry marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

Sulphides –this type of marble consists of clear glass spheres that have a white or silvery figure suspended in their center.  The figures consist of animals, birds, people, numbers or even letters.

Sulphide marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

Corkscrews—this type of marble was made with 2 or more colors that have a spiral design.  In corkscrews marbles, the spiral design rotates around the marble from one pole to the other, but the design does not meet.

Corkscrew marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

Clouds—this is an End of day marble that came with colored flecks of glass that aren’t stretched.  The flakes look like clouds that are floating over the core.

Cloud marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

This is just a small sample of all of the different types of marbles that you can find.  Which ones have you run across?