1866 Rays 5C PR66 Cameo NGC. The Shield Nickel series of 1866-1883 arose partly out of Uncle Sam’s desire to retire the fractional currency that had become prevalent during the Civil War, and partly out of his intent to produce inexpensive minor coinage that would generate profit for the federal government. The premier specimens of this type are the only readily collectible proof Shield Nickels that display rays between the reverse stars. This splendid Premium Gem Cameo possesses all the attributes necessary for an ideal With Rays type coin. The wreath leaves, shield lines, and stars are all crisply brought up with a thick coating of mint frost, while the deeply mirrored fields accentuate just a tinge of light champagne color. Mintage 600.