1868 Shield Nickel Obv. of the Shield Nickel, is similar to the 2 cent piece introduced in 1864 with some minor modifications. A large shield is prominent in the design, with horizontal lines on the upper portion and vertical lines beneath. A large cross was placed on top, and arrows were visible to both sides on the bottom. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed above and the date below. Rev. design features a large numeral 5 within a circle of 13 stars. Coins dated 1866 and some 1867, rays were placed between the stars, representing the initial design variety Shield Nickel with Rays. In production, the copper-nickel composition proved hard to strike, and the rays increased the metal that had to be flowed on the design, resulting in many pieces weakly struck . The rays were removed during 1867 creating the second design variety Shield Nickels without rays.