These half-dimes, made in 1857 and 1858, show Liberty sitting on her shield on the front. The coins were worth five cents and made of silver. After the Civil War, when many silver coins were melted down or sold for the value of the material, Congress passed a law to allow the U.S. Mint to create new coins made from copper and nickel. By 1873, the copper-nickel five-cent coin -- now called a nickel -- had replaced the half-dime.These coins were carried by Sergeant Matthew Marvin during the Civil War. Marvin was wounded three times, once at the First Battle of Bull Run, once in camp when a gun accidentally went off, and once at Gettysburg where a bullet went through the length of his foot. His foot wound made it impossible for him to continue fighting and troubled him for the rest of his life.