Like any coin, the Liberty Head nickel can vary widely in value depending on what grade it is. It's difficult to determine the value of liberty head nickels and other coins unless you know what characteristics are typical of the various coin grades.
The following are different grades of the Liberty Head nickel, from the best possible grade to the lowest quality grade:
Mint state or uncirculated
A mint state Liberty Head nickel will exhibit a shiny and sharp luster. The metal should show no signs of dullness. The copper-nickel alloy that was used to produce the Liberty Head nickel typically shows resistance to toning, but mint condition coins that have been cleaned might show a very slight wash of gold due to toning. This is likely to decrease the coins value even if it receives a "mint" grade.
A Liberty Head nickel that is graded "almost uncirculated" will usually receive this grade because it has begun to show some toning. While the images and text on the coin will be sharp and clear, the coin will look slightly more dull than a mint condition coin and show a more golden color than the pure silver that's typical of the mint condition grade.
The detail on the image and text of an extremely fine Liberty Head coin will be undiminished, but the coin will have lost most of its shiny luster.
Liberty Head nickels graded as fine will typically show some scratches, and the detail on the image is likely to have worn off to some extent. The etched details on Lady Liberty's face will probably significantly flattened. Also, it may be difficult to pick out the letters in "Liberty" along Lady Liberty's crown.
This grade is given to Liberty Head nickels that may look significantly worn but are still showing some small level of detail in the etching of images and lettering. Although the letters "Liberty" will probably no longer be visible, the eye and nose detail around the face on the coin will probably still show slightly.
About good is generally the worst grade that a Liberty Head coin can receive. The details on "about good" coins will look severely washed out, and it may be hard to make out any of the wording. It also can sometimes be difficult to make out the year on such a coin.
Coins graded as "about good" tend to be heavily circulated and are not likely to be worth much money unless they are from 1912 or 1913—the last two years of production of the Liberty Head nickel. If you're looking to purchase a rare Liberty Head nickel, visit Penny Pincher Coins & Jewelry.Share