HistoryThe shield type nickel was made possible by the Act of May 16, 1866. In 1866 the coin was designed with rays between the stars on the reverse.
Some of the pieces minted in 1867 have the same details, but later the rays were eliminated creating two varieties for that year.
There was no further change in the type until it was replaced by the Liberty head device in 1883. The most valuable (in an EF40) is the 1880 coin.
Shield nickels weigh 5 grams and are made out of an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
I would love to find one of these - another on the wish list.