Despite the fact that the Mint struck the 1883 Liberty Nickel “without Cents” variety for only a limited under of months, the output was reasonably large, with 5,474,300 coins struck for circulation, and 5,219 coins struck in Proof format for collectors. This high production may indicate that the Mint wanted to use the dies on hand before using the new dies reflecting the change to the reverse design. A newspaper article, mentioning that approximately 1.2 million of the new nickels had been released by mid-March 1883, appears to support this statement. The “with cents” variety, however, has an even larger mintage, with 16,026,200 pieces struck for circulation and 6,783 Proofs for collectors.
The Without Cents variety of this year immediately caught the attention of the public, even if they were not set to fool the cigar man across the street. Because of the anomaly of the missing denomination, the coins were saved in huge numbers, mostly after they had only circulation for a very short period or even when still in uncirculated condition. This results in a very large number of coins remaining available for present day collectors, including many certified coins in uncirculated condition. The issue remains popular with both type set collectors as well as casual collectors due to the often recounted story of the “Racketeer Nickel.”
A much smaller quantity of the With Cents variety have been graded by the major certification services. While this is a slightly more difficult coin to find in uncirculated condition, it can hardly be considered a scarce coin. It is also slightly less popular, as it is not a one-year type coin, and does not have the special story to tell that the earlier type has. As such, it is very affordable and like the without cents nickel of 1883 always available.