1867 Shield Nickel With Rays Struck on Wrong Planchet
Shield Nickel off-metals are extremely rare. This off-metal is the RAYS variety, a two year type from 1866 and 1867. There are three known Shield Nickels with “RAYS” struck on Cent Planchets. U.S. Mint Documents and Records show that no coins were struck at any of the U.S. Mints for foreign countries between 1855-1875. Since this blank planchet is of Nickel composition, and weighs 3.56 grams (55 grains), it is most likely struck on a left over blank from the previous year that was intended for a 1866 Pattern Shield Nickel.
According to Pollock’s United States Patterns and Related Issues page 147 and assigned Pollock #577 (Judd-489), Pattern Shield Nickels of different designs were struck on thin Nickel blanks. The two listed are the Garrett coin, weighing 54.1 grains, and the Bass coin, weighing 54.7 grains.
Since this coin weights 55 grains (within tolerance) and since the U.S. Mint did not strike foreign coins during this 20 year time period, the most likely scenario is that it is on a left over pattern blank from the preceding year. This is a spectacular wrong planchet Major Mint Error.