#3977452 - 04/30/1012:30 PMProving you have a real Racketeer Nickel?
Scott BScott B
I was posting here when you were in diapers.
Loc: Maryland 'burbs of DC
Is there anyway to prove that an 1883 No Motto Liberty Head V Nickel was plated in 1883 and attempted to be passed as a $5 gold coin?
I know that there have been later attempts at gold plating these coins and trying to pass them off as genuine. But how could you tell the difference between one of these post-controversy plating versus one that really plated in 1883?
I am asking because a friend found such a coin with remnants of the plating, but I keep telling him that the plating was probably done later. I don't think that any of the ones in the original story survived. Is there any way to tell the difference?
If the reeding was done properly and the plating has rubbed off in places, your odds of having a genuine Racketeer Nickel improves. I do not think a lay person could tell the difference, it's going to have to be an expert who has seen or can compare the real deal to any other candidate.
- "Never be ashamed of being patriotic, fork em!" -Toby Keith
Loc: St. Louis, MO
It is not possible to know for 100% absolute sure that you have a genuine racketeer's nickel. I went through a brief state where I wanted to hoard "real" racketeer nickels, and managed to assemble a mini-hoard of about a half-dozen pieces. From conversations at length with others who have had a similar interest, the best evidence seems to be that the coin naturally circulated subsequent to the plating. After all, in the 1880s, 5c was a useful amount of money, and nickels circulated heavily. So, I look for coins that have had the plating worn off highpoints, while the fields are still well plated.
Many companies have used the old "buy a racketeer nickel" ploy for decades to sell off hoards of unneeded, common 1883 "no-cents" by plating them themselves (sometimes in brass, even). These will show no wear, of course.
Hope this helps - I would post some images of mine, but they are stored away somewhere, and I don't recall exactly where that is ....
Proud EX-50% owner of the banned PCGS-certified Norweb/non-Norweb Wood Hibernia
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Here is the closest I've ever seen to a racketeer nickel. It has nice reeding and there are no holes in the plating.
It is not possible to know for 100% absolute sure that you have a genuine racketeer's nickel.
Given the price I paid for this one, (one of three possible racketeer nickels styles for $14) I don't think that it would have been worthwhile for someone to get to the trouble of nicely reeding the edge. One of the other two was the usual gold plated, plain edge pieces, and the other was a piece with corse, crude reeding and no plating. I'll post pictures if anyone is interested.
-- Retired dealer. I am a numismatic author. I specialize in choice early coins and poltitical tokens. I've been collecting coins, tokens and medals for over 50 years. Check my type sets! Type Set My gold type set Gold Type Set
The "real racketeer nickels" that I've seen have worn plating where the nickel shows through. In any case, it wouldn't be too difficult to create one today and it would be vitually impossible to prove that it wasn't an original.
An assumption in the above seems to be that there was only one kind of “real” racketeer nickel. According to contemporary newspaper stories and Mint documents, the plating of new nickels, and sometimes reeding them, was an ad hoc affair, with jewelers and others in the metals trades at the forefront. Considering the variety of producers, it is likely that many different variations existed in 1883. Absent historical examples, such as one kept in Granny’s sock since 1883 with a signed note about her losing $4.95 by accepting an altered nickel as $5, there is little hope of establishing any plated 1883 “V” nickel as a “real” racketeer nickel.