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    297 No CENTS 1883 Nickels
    Uncirculated 19th-Century Hoard

    297-Piece Lot of 1883 5C No Cents Nickels Uncertified. A February 9, 2009 Coin World article that accompanies the lot states that Jeff Garrett acquired a hoard of 298 (this lot contains 297) Uncirculated 1883 No CENTS nickels. The hoard had been stored since October 2, 1889 in a cloth bag (also included with the lot) with the printed inscription "New York / Lead Company's / HIGHLY FINISHED / DROP SHOT / Tower & Office / 63 Centre St / New York / 3". The coins are presently stored in eight plastic tubes. The grades average Uncirculated to Choice Uncirculated. The coins are sold as is, without a return privilege.

    The Liberty nickel was introduced in 1883 with the denomination designated only by a large Roman numeral V on the reverse. This was consistent with the contemporary three cent nickel, whose denomination was specified strictly by the Roman number III. Unfortunately, the nickel diameter was similar to the gold half eagle, and the new nickels were purportedly reeded and gold plated by hucksters attempting to circulate the five cent coin as five dollars.

    A numismatic legend is that deaf mute Josh Tatum successfully passed many of the plated nickels, and that this was the source of the saying "You're joshing me." The story continues that Tatum was apprehended, but was never convicted since Tatum could not speak, and thus could not claim that the nickel was a half eagle. In the February 25, 2007 E-Sylum, Patrick Feaster traces the likely fictional Tatum tale to a September 5, 1965 column by Maurice Gould in the Independent Press-Telegram, a newspaper published in Long Beach, California.

    The Liberty nickel design was promptly updated to include CENTS, which ended the frauds and created a short-lived subtype. Rumors circulated that the Federal government would recall the No CENTS nickels, which might make the survivors valuable. The coins were set aside in quantity by speculators, and the 1883 No CENTS nickel is plentiful in Mint State today, especially when compared with the low mintage dates of 1885 and 1886.

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    25th-29th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
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