I've seen them sell for anything in the $10-$30 range, depending on condition. If they can be verified as original (from 1883 as opposed to a modern gold plating), and have a reeded edge, they can be worth significantly more.
The US never made a gold nickel. The coin is plated. Gold is too valuable for low-denomination coins. Even in 1888 its price was high enough that 5¢ worth would be so tiny you'd need tweezers to pick it up.If the date is definitely 1888 and not 1883, the coin has no added value. If its date is actually 1883 and it only has a large Roman numeral V on the back without the word "cents" underneath, you should have it examined by a dealer. It could be a so-called racketeer nickel that's a regular 1883 nickel altered to fool people into thinking it was a $5 gold piece. However racketeer nickels have themselves been counterfeited so you need to get a professional, in-person evaluation.
25 Most Valuable Nickels1.) 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $4,408,6502.) 1880 Shield Nickel - Worth $20,0003.) 1924 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $14,0004.) 1926 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $7,6005.) 1927 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $5,0006.) 1881 Shield Nickel - Worth $4,0007.) 1883 Shield Nickel - Worth $3,9008.) 1867 Shield Nickel - Worth $3,6009.) 1920 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,50010.) 1928 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,40011.) 1918 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,30012.) 1925 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,30013.) 1924 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $3,00014.) 1870 Shield Nickel - Worth $3,00015.) 1920 S Buffalo Nickel - Worth $2,50016.) 1872 Shield Nickel - Worth $2,50017.) 1919 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $2,35018.) 1885 Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $2,32819.) 1912 S Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $1,94520.) 1886 Liberty Head V Nickel - Worth $1,86121.) 1877 Shield Nickel - Worth $1,85422.) 1938 Jefferson Nickel - Worth $1,80023.) 1873 Shield Nickel - Worth $1,80024.) 1874 Shield Nickel - Worth $1,80025.) 1916 D Buffalo Nickel - Worth $1,780
The U.S. has never made a 5-cent gold coin. If your coin has a large V on the back and the word CENTS near the bottom, it's a standard Liberty nickel that was plated.When the denomination first was issued in 1883, crooks quickly noticed that the word CENTS was not part of the original design. They gold-plated them and passed them off as a "new design" $5 gold piece. These became known as "racketeer nickels" and are now considered to be quite collectible despite being fakes. The Mint soon changed the design to add the word CENTS, and the fakery stopped.If your nickel is dated 1888 and not 1883, it may have been a late attempt at making a racketeer nickel, or simply something that was plated for use in a necklace or other jewelry. In that case it's unlikely to be worth more than a small amount above face value because it's technically an altered coin.
Racketeer nickels are dated 1883. They were created when crooks realized that the new Liberty Head design only had the Roman numeral V (= 5) on the back but not the word CENTS. The coins were almost identical in size to $5 gold pieces so "racketeers" plated them and passed them off as "brand new $5 gold coins". Fortunately the Mint responded by quickly changing the design to add the word CENTS. If your coin is dated 1903 it has CENTS on the back so it's not a Racketeer nickel. It's just an ordinary nickel that was plated for use in jewelry or something similar. Unfortunately that makes it an altered coin with very little value.
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