Half-Dime 1794-1873: George Washington donated a silver tea service to mint them. 1500 pieces were minted. In 1800 “Liberty” was misspelled, with a “K” replacing the “R”. From 1829-1837, 5 C appeared on the reverse. In 2004, an 1870s half-dime sold for $1,250,000.
Shield 5 Cent 1866-1883: Rays on the reverse of the design were thought to be causing the die to break during pressing, so they were removed from the design in 1867. The dies continued to break, and the 1867 date is high priced coin.
Liberty 5 Cent 1883-1912: The word “cent” did not appear on the coin, causing it to be confused with the $5 gold piece due to similar size. Plating one in gold and receiving $4.95 back in change was a scam reportedly perpetrated by a deaf man named Josh (the origin of the phrase to “josh”). Shield nickels continued to be minted along with the Liberty coins as the design was changed until 1883.
Buffalo or Indian Head 5 Cent 1913-1938: There are several interesting key dates for these coins. 1926S was the lowest mintage, 970,000. 1913S Type 2 was rare (Buffalo standing on flat ground instead of the hill on Type 1 coins). 1937D was the 3 legged buffalo. 1918D featured 8 over 7, and one sold for $350,000 in 2006.
Jefferson 5 Cent 1938-present: Key dates for this coin include 1939 Proof with low mintage of 12, 535, 1994P with a mintage of 167,703, and 1997P with a mintage of 25,000. 2004-2005 celebrated the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase with several design changes. A new portrait of Jefferson was on the obverse. The first two reverses featured the Indian Peace Medal and Keelboat in 2004, and a Bison and Ocean View in 2005.