Coins of the United States dollar were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually since then and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢ (i.e. 1 cent or $0.01), 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion (including gold, silver and platinum) and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.
Today four mints operate in the United States producing billions of coins each year. The main mint is the Philadelphia Mint, which produces circulating coinage, mint sets and some commemorative coins. The Denver Mint also produces circulating coinage, mint sets and commemoratives. The San Francisco Mint produces regular and silver proof coinage, and produced circulating coinage until the 1970s. The West Point Mint produces bullion coinage (including proofs). Philadelphia and Denver produce the dies used at all of the mints. The proof and mint sets are manufactured each year and contain examples of all of the year's circulating coins.
Coin roll hunting (often abbreviated "CRH") is the hobby of searching and sorting coinage pulled from circulation for collectible coins. This is achieved through obtaining rolled coin, boxed coin, or bagged coin from banks and credit unions. In the United States, coin roll hunters obtain rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and sometimes dollar coins.
Prime targets of American coin roll hunters are silver dimes and quarters prior to 1965, silver half dollars from 1964 and earlier, and 40% silver half dollars from 1965-1970. Nickels are searched for 35% silver "war nickels" (1942–1945) older discontinued designs such as the Buffalo and "V" Nickel are also collected. Pennies are searched for wheat cents (1909–1958) and Indian Head cents from 1859–1909. Some penny roll searchers save copper Lincoln cents (1959–1982 for part of the year) for the growing value as copper bullion. An occasional dime can also be found in penny rolls, giving the collector an instant bonus. Often coin roll hunters also collect special proof coins, exonumia, and coins from other nations. Others attempt to find and complete a set of coins, like the America the Beautiful Quarters or 50 State Quarters.
The Liberty Head nickel, sometimes referred to as the V nickel because of its reverse (or tails) design, was an American five-cent piece. It was struck for circulation from 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913.
The original copper–nickel five-cent piece, the Shield nickel, had longstanding production problems, and in the early 1880s, the United States Mint was looking to replace it. Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber was instructed to prepare designs for proposed one-, three-, and five-cent pieces, which were to bear similar designs. Only the new five-cent piece was approved, and went into production in 1883. For almost thirty years large quantities of coin of this design were produced to meet commercial demand, especially as coin-operated machines became increasingly popular.