Racketeer Nickel

(1883 No Cents)

1883 N/C “Victory” Nickel

Coin Type: Altered Victory “V” Nickel - .05¢

Genuine Weight: 5.0 grams

Metals: 75% Copper % 25% Nickel

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Altered: Gold Plated

Minted in 1883, the first victory nickels were designed without the word cents on the reverse.

The nickel measured 21.2 millimeters across while the five dollar gold pieces of this era measured  21.65 millimeters, almost the same size. So, some racketeers gold plated the newly minted nickels to pass off as five dollar gold pieces. Numismatic folklore says a deaf/mute man, Josh Tatum, was the first to try this devious scheme. The story further suggests that Mr. Tatum couldn’t be convicted because there was no proof he actually tried to pass the gold-plated nickels off as five dollar gold pieces... although he chose not to point out the error if given too much change. Thus the name "Racketeer Nickel".

Notice around Liberty’s head - the stars, the letters, the date - there is still some gold plating that hasn’t completely worn off.