The liberty head nickel designed by Charles E. Barber replaced the shield nickel in 1883. There is a fascinating illegal modificattion that was made to the coin by would-be counterfeiters. The original design had just a Roman numeral V on the reverse. Because the word Cents was nowhere on the coin, it was easy to gold plate it and pass it off as a $5 gold piece. Well, all that had to be stopped, and it was in the same year the coin was introduced. The V was removed and the word cents was added, and that put the bad guys out of business for the time being.
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