1877 Shield Nickel. Proof-65 Cameo (PCGS). This example features deeply mirrored fields, fully lustrous devices, and an outstanding cameo contrast. Just the lightest tinting is seen on each side. Certainly one of the best remaining from the scant 900 pieces minted. Due to silver coin hoarding in the 1860s, the government instructed the Mint to switch to a copper-nickel alloy for three cent and five cent pieces beginning at the end of the Civil War. It had long been surmised that the subsidiary silver coins which disappeared in 1861-62 during the beginning of the War were either melted or sent to Europe and sold as bullion. It turns out only a small proportion were disposed of in that way. The majority went to countries where they had values as coins above their bullion values, some to Canada but most to Latin-America. Their dramatic reappearance many years later was noteworthy in its day. The capacity for Latin-America to absorb United States silver was obviously limited, but there was some place for new coins even after the wholesale exportation of 1862. In later years, the mints continued to coin silver for bullion dealers who shipped the coins to Latin-America and brought back gold or foreign silver coins. After June, 1862, the United States mints were, so far as silver was concerned, merely establishments conducted for the benefit of New York and San Francisco bullion dealers.