Top 25 Most Valuable Buffalo Nickel Worth & A Comprehensive Analysis

Jack16306
52 Min Read

Explore the fascinating world of Buffalo nickels, coins minted between 1913 and 1938, known for their iconic design by James Earle Fraser. Uncover the factors influencing their worth, such as rarity, condition, historical significance, and market demand. Learn about the grading process, investing strategies, and proper care and preservation techniques to make informed decisions when collecting or investing in these unique coins. Appreciate the historical and artistic value of Buffalo nickels as a testament to the United States’ rich past and its connection to Native American heritage and the American West.

Introduction

Brief history of Buffalo nickels

Buffalo nickels, officially known as Indian Head nickels, were introduced in 1913 and served as the official United States five-cent coin until 1938. These coins featured a striking design by renowned sculptor James Earle Fraser, depicting a Native American on the obverse and an American bison on the reverse. The Buffalo nickel is a beloved part of American coinage history and has become a favorite among collectors and investors alike.

Importance of understanding their worth

Understanding the worth of Buffalo nickels is essential for collectors, investors, and enthusiasts interested in numismatics. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the factors influencing the value of these coins, the grading process, investing strategies, and proper care and preservation techniques. By the end of this article, readers will have a comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to the worth of Buffalo nickels and how to navigate the numismatic market.

The Design and Origins of Buffalo Nickels

Designer: James Earle Fraser

James Earle Fraser, an accomplished American sculptor, designed the Buffalo nickel. Fraser’s work is widely recognized, and his portfolio includes numerous monuments, statues, and medal designs. He sought to create a coin that was distinctly American, showcasing the rich history and culture of the nation.

Minting period: 1913-1938

The United States Mint produced Buffalo nickels from 1913 to 1938. During this period, the coins were minted at three locations: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The mint marks, “D” for Denver and “S” for San Francisco, can be found on the reverse side of the coin below the denomination “FIVE CENTS.” Coins without a mint mark were produced in Philadelphia.

C. Design inspiration

  1. Obverse: Native American portrait The obverse of the Buffalo nickel features a composite portrait of three different Native American chiefs: Iron Tail (Sioux), Two Moons (Cheyenne), and John Big Tree (Seneca). Fraser aimed to create an iconic and powerful image representing the proud spirit of Native Americans.
  2. Reverse: American Bison The reverse side of the coin displays an American bison, also known as a buffalo. This design choice was inspired by Fraser’s desire to represent the untamed American West. The bison portrayed on the coin is believed to be Black Diamond, a buffalo that lived in the Central Park Zoo in New York City during the early 20th century.

List 25 Most Valuable Buffalo Nickels Worth Money

Buffalo nickels, with their iconic design and rich history, have captured the hearts of collectors for decades. Among the many minted varieties, some stand out for their rarity and value. Here are the 25 most valuable Buffalo nickels worth money:

Year & Mint MarkMintageKey FeaturesEstimated Value Range (in USD)
1913-S Type II1,209,000Rarest and most sought-after Buffalo nickel$50 – $100,000+
1926-S970,000Key date, low mintage$30 – $50,000+
1937-D 3-leggedN/AMinting error (3-legged bison)$500 – $30,000+
1918/7-D OverdateN/AOverdate error (7 beneath 8)$750 – $20,000+
1916/16 DDON/ADouble die obverse, doubled date$500 – $10,000+
1914/3 OverdateN/AOverdate error (3 beneath 4)$200 – $5,000+
1913-D Type II4,156,000Relatively scarce and valuable$20 – $3,000+
1921-S1,557,000Key date, highly valuable in all conditions$25 – $30,000+
1924-S1,437,000Valuable and sought-after$20 – $10,000+
1915-S1,505,000Relatively rare and valuable$20 – $4,000+
1927-S3,430,000Semi-key date$10 – $2,000+
1917-S4,193,000Valuable in higher grades$15 – $1,500+
1920-S9,418,000Valuable, few survived in high grades$10 – $1,000+
1928-S6,936,000Relatively scarce and valuable in higher grades$10 – $2,000+
1913-D Type I5,337,000Semi-key date$10 – $1,500+
1919-D8,006,000Valuable in higher grades$10 – $1,000+
1919-S7,521,000Valuable in higher grades$10 – $1,000+
1923-S6,142,000Relatively scarce and valuable in higher grades$10 – $1,500+
1931-S1,200,000Relatively rare and valuable$15 – $3,000+
1925-S6,256,000Semi-key date$10 – $1,000+
1920-D9,418,000Valuable in higher grades$10 – $1,000+
1927-D5,730,000Relatively scarce and valuable in higher grades$10 – $1,000+

1913-S Type II

The 1913-S Type II Buffalo nickel is highly coveted by collectors due to its rarity and historical significance. With a mintage of only 1,209,000, it stands as the rarest Buffalo nickel in the series. This particular coin features a raised mound on the reverse side, as opposed to the Type I’s flat mound, which was altered to improve the coin’s wear resistance. The 1913-S Type II is highly sought after by numismatists, and its value increases dramatically in higher grades.

1926-S

The 1926-S Buffalo nickel is a key date in the series, known for its low mintage of just 970,000 coins. This scarcity, combined with the coin’s historical significance, makes it highly valuable to collectors and investors. The value of the 1926-S Buffalo nickel tends to increase substantially in higher grades, with well-preserved specimens commanding premium prices. As a key date coin, the 1926-S Buffalo nickel is a crucial addition to any Buffalo nickel collection, and its rarity and desirability make it a sought-after piece in the numismatic world.

1937-D 3-legged

The 1937-D 3-legged Buffalo nickel is a unique and highly collectible variety, resulting from a minting error that left the bison on the reverse side of the coin appearing with only three legs. This error occurred when a mint employee excessively polished the die to remove clash marks, inadvertently removing one of the bison’s front legs in the process.

Due to its distinctive appearance and the fascinating story behind the error, the 1937-D 3-legged Buffalo nickel has become one of the most sought-after varieties in the series. Its value increases significantly with higher grades and better preservation. Collectors and investors alike prize this coin not only for its rarity but also for its place in numismatic history as an intriguing and unusual error coin.

1918/7-D Overdate

The 1918/7-D Overdate Buffalo nickel is a rare and highly prized error coin that occurred when the Denver Mint accidentally struck 1918-dated nickels using an overdated die with a “7” beneath the “8.” The die was likely created in late 1917 but was not discovered and corrected until 1918, resulting in a limited number of these error coins being produced.

This overdate error is clearly visible under magnification, with the remnants of the “7” appearing beneath the “8” in the date. The 1918/7-D Overdate Buffalo nickel is highly sought after by collectors due to its rarity, historical significance, and the fact that it represents a unique and intriguing error in the series. The value of this coin increases dramatically in higher grades, with well-preserved specimens commanding premium prices.

1916/16 Double Die Obverse

The 1916/16 Double Die Obverse Buffalo nickel is an extremely valuable and rare error coin in the series. This particular error occurred when the coin’s obverse die was struck twice, with a slight rotation between the strikes, causing the date to appear doubled. As a result, the “1916” date on the coin appears to have been struck over itself, creating a noticeable doubling effect.

The 1916/16 Double Die Obverse Buffalo nickel is highly sought after by collectors and investors due to its rarity, historical significance, and the unique nature of the error. The value of this coin increases significantly in higher grades, with well-preserved specimens commanding top dollar. As one of the most valuable errors in the Buffalo nickel series, the 1916/16 Double Die Obverse is a prized addition to any numismatic collection.

1914/3 Overdate

The 1914/3 Overdate Buffalo nickel is a rare and valuable error coin in the series. This overdate error occurred when a die originally intended for 1913-dated nickels was repurposed for 1914 by overstriking the “4” over the “3.” Due to the repurposing, remnants of the underlying “3” can still be seen beneath the “4” in the date when examined closely.

Collectors and investors highly value the 1914/3 Overdate Buffalo nickel due to its rarity, historical significance, and the unique nature of the error. The coin’s value increases significantly in higher grades, as well-preserved specimens are challenging to find and can command premium prices. As an intriguing and rare error in the Buffalo nickel series, the 1914/3 Overdate is an attractive addition to any numismatic collection.

1913-D Type II

The 1913-D Type II Buffalo nickel is a relatively scarce and valuable coin in the series. This coin features the second variety of the Buffalo nickel design, known as the Type II, which was introduced in 1913. The Type II design features a more distinct separation between the ground and the raised mound on which the bison stands, compared to the Type I design where the ground line extends beneath the bison.

The 1913-D Type II Buffalo nickel has a mintage of 4,156,000, which makes it a semi-key date coin in the series. Collectors and investors value this coin due to its scarcity, historical significance, and the appeal of the Type II design. The coin’s value increases significantly in higher grades, as well-preserved specimens are challenging to find and can command premium prices. The 1913-D Type II Buffalo nickel is a sought-after addition to any numismatic collection, particularly for those interested in completing a set of Buffalo nickels.

1921-S

1921-S Buffalo nickel is a key date coin in the series and holds significant value, especially due to its low mintage of just 1,557,000. This coin, minted in San Francisco, is highly sought after by collectors and investors alike.

The scarcity of the 1921-S Buffalo nickel is further amplified by the fact that many surviving examples are in lower grades, with high-grade specimens being quite rare. This rarity, combined with the coin’s historical significance and the general appeal of Buffalo nickels, makes the 1921-S Buffalo nickel a valuable addition to any numismatic collection.

As the condition of the coin plays a crucial role in determining its value, well-preserved examples of the 1921-S Buffalo nickel can command premium prices in the market. Collectors and investors looking to acquire this key date coin should consider purchasing certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or grading services to ensure authenticity and accurate assessment of the coin’s condition.

1924-S

The 1924-S Buffalo nickel is a valuable and sought-after coin in the series, largely due to its relatively low mintage of 1,437,000. This coin was minted in San Francisco, and its scarcity adds to its appeal for collectors and investors.

The 1924-S Buffalo nickel is even more valuable in higher grades, as well-preserved specimens are challenging to find. Many surviving examples are in lower grades, making high-grade coins especially rare and desirable.

In addition to its scarcity, the 1924-S Buffalo nickel holds historical significance as part of the iconic Buffalo nickel series, which features the distinctive designs of James Earle Fraser. Collectors and investors who are interested in acquiring the 1924-S Buffalo nickel should consider purchasing certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or grading services to ensure the coin’s authenticity and accurate assessment of its condition.

Overall, the 1924-S Buffalo nickel is a prized addition to any numismatic collection, particularly for those looking to complete a set of Buffalo nickels or acquire key date coins.

1915-S

The 1915-S Buffalo nickel is a relatively rare and valuable coin in the series, largely due to its moderate mintage of 1,505,000. This coin was minted in San Francisco and has become an attractive piece for collectors and investors.

The value of the 1915-S Buffalo nickel increases significantly in higher grades, as well-preserved specimens are harder to find. Many surviving examples are in lower grades, which makes high-grade coins particularly rare and sought-after.

In addition to its scarcity, the 1915-S Buffalo nickel is part of the iconic Buffalo nickel series, which showcases the distinctive designs by James Earle Fraser. These coins hold historical significance and general appeal, making them desirable for numismatists.

Collectors and investors interested in acquiring the 1915-S Buffalo nickel should consider purchasing certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or grading services. This approach ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1915-S Buffalo nickel is a prized addition to any numismatic collection, particularly for those seeking to complete a set of Buffalo nickels or acquire key date coins.

1927-S

The 1927-S Buffalo nickel is considered a semi-key date coin due to its relatively low mintage of 3,430,000. Minted in San Francisco, this Buffalo nickel has become a sought-after piece for collectors and investors alike.

The value of the 1927-S Buffalo nickel increases with its grade, as higher-grade examples are relatively scarce. Many surviving coins are found in lower grades, which makes well-preserved specimens especially rare and valuable.

As part of the iconic Buffalo nickel series designed by James Earle Fraser, the 1927-S Buffalo nickel holds historical significance and a high degree of aesthetic appeal. These factors contribute to the coin’s desirability among numismatists.

When acquiring a 1927-S Buffalo nickel, collectors and investors should consider purchasing certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This approach ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1927-S Buffalo nickel is an attractive addition to any numismatic collection, particularly for those focusing on the Buffalo nickel series or seeking semi-key date coins. The coin’s rarity and historical importance make it a valuable asset for collectors and investors.

1917-S

The 1917-S Buffalo nickel is a valuable coin for collectors and investors due to its relatively low mintage of 4,193,000. Minted in San Francisco, this Buffalo nickel has gained popularity among numismatists over time.

The value of the 1917-S Buffalo nickel depends on its grade, with higher-grade examples commanding higher prices. Well-preserved specimens are harder to come by, which adds to their rarity and desirability.

As a part of the iconic Buffalo nickel series designed by James Earle Fraser, the 1917-S Buffalo nickel holds both historical significance and aesthetic appeal. These factors contribute to its allure among coin enthusiasts.

When purchasing a 1917-S Buffalo nickel, collectors and investors should consider obtaining certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This helps ensure the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In conclusion, the 1917-S Buffalo nickel is an attractive addition to any numismatic collection, especially for those who focus on the Buffalo nickel series or seek coins from the early 20th century. The coin’s relative scarcity and historical importance make it a valuable asset for both collectors and investors.

1920-S

The 1920-S Buffalo nickel is a valuable and sought-after coin in the Buffalo nickel series. Struck at the San Francisco Mint, it has a mintage of 9,418,000, which is a relatively large number. However, the true value of the 1920-S Buffalo nickel lies in its scarcity in higher grades, as few have survived in such condition.

The coin’s value is highly dependent on its grade, with well-preserved examples being rarer and, therefore, more valuable. Collectors and investors are particularly interested in higher-grade 1920-S Buffalo nickels because they represent a small fraction of the original mintage.

As part of the Buffalo nickel series designed by James Earle Fraser, the 1920-S Buffalo nickel has both historical significance and aesthetic appeal, which contribute to its popularity among numismatists.

When looking to acquire a 1920-S Buffalo nickel, it is important for collectors and investors to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In conclusion, the 1920-S Buffalo nickel is a valuable piece for numismatic enthusiasts, especially those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its scarcity in higher grades and historical importance make it an attractive addition to any collection or investment portfolio.

1928-S

The 1928-S Buffalo nickel is a relatively scarce and valuable coin in the Buffalo nickel series. Produced at the San Francisco Mint, it has a mintage of 6,936,000, which contributes to its desirability among collectors and investors.

The value of the 1928-S Buffalo nickel is largely determined by its grade, with higher-grade examples being harder to find and therefore more valuable. Due to the scarcity of well-preserved specimens, collectors and investors are particularly interested in obtaining coins in excellent condition.

As part of the Buffalo nickel series designed by James Earle Fraser, the 1928-S Buffalo nickel has both historical and artistic significance. This adds to its appeal among numismatists and makes it an attractive addition to collections or investment portfolios.

When acquiring a 1928-S Buffalo nickel, it is crucial for collectors and investors to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1928-S Buffalo nickel is a sought-after piece for numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its scarcity in higher grades and historical importance make it a valuable coin that collectors and investors alike will appreciate.

1913-D Type I

The 1913-D Type I Buffalo nickel is a semi-key date coin in the Buffalo nickel series, adding to its value and appeal among collectors and investors. Produced at the Denver Mint, it has a mintage of 5,337,000, which contributes to its scarcity and desirability.

The 1913-D Type I Buffalo nickel features a design by James Earle Fraser, who created the iconic Buffalo nickel to represent the spirit of the American West. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse showcases an American bison.

In the Type I design, the bison stands on a raised mound with the denomination “FIVE CENTS” inscribed beneath it. This design was changed later in 1913 to the Type II, where the bison stands on a flat plane with the denomination recessed to avoid excessive wear on the coin.

The value of the 1913-D Type I Buffalo nickel is determined primarily by its grade, with higher-grade examples being more challenging to find and therefore more valuable. Collectors and investors prize well-preserved specimens, as they are rarer and offer greater long-term value.

When acquiring a 1913-D Type I Buffalo nickel, it’s essential to purchase certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This helps ensure the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1913-D Type I Buffalo nickel is a sought-after piece for numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its scarcity, historical importance, and semi-key date status make it a valuable coin that collectors and investors alike will appreciate.

1919-D

The 1919-D Buffalo nickel is a valuable coin within the Buffalo nickel series, especially when found in higher grades. Minted at the Denver Mint, it has a mintage of 8,006,000, which makes it a relatively scarce coin and appealing to collectors and investors.

Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is a highly recognizable and iconic piece of American coinage, symbolizing the spirit of the American West. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse showcases an American bison.

The value of the 1919-D Buffalo nickel is primarily determined by its grade, with examples in higher grades being harder to find and thus more valuable. Collectors and investors are particularly interested in well-preserved specimens, as they are rarer and hold greater long-term value.

When acquiring a 1919-D Buffalo nickel, it’s essential to purchase certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This helps ensure the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1919-D Buffalo nickel is a sought-after piece for numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its relative scarcity and historical importance make it a valuable coin that collectors and investors will appreciate.

1919-S

The 1919-S Buffalo nickel is a valuable coin within the Buffalo nickel series, particularly in higher grades. Minted at the San Francisco Mint, it has a mintage of 7,521,000, making it a relatively scarce coin and appealing to collectors and investors alike.

Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is an iconic piece of American coinage that embodies the spirit of the American West. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse showcases an American bison.

The value of the 1919-S Buffalo nickel is primarily determined by its grade. As higher grade examples are rarer, they are more valuable and sought after by collectors and investors. A well-preserved specimen will hold greater long-term value, making it a desirable addition to any collection.

When purchasing a 1919-S Buffalo nickel, it is crucial to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1919-S Buffalo nickel is a popular piece among numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its relative scarcity and historical importance make it a valuable coin that both collectors and investors will appreciate.

1923-S

The 1923-S Buffalo nickel is a relatively scarce and valuable coin within the Buffalo nickel series, particularly in higher grades. Minted at the San Francisco Mint, it has a mintage of 6,142,000, making it a sought-after coin for collectors and investors.

Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is an iconic piece of American coinage that captures the spirit of the American West. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse showcases an American bison.

The value of the 1923-S Buffalo nickel is primarily determined by its grade. Higher grade examples are rarer and, therefore, more valuable and appealing to collectors and investors. A well-preserved specimen will hold greater long-term value, making it a desirable addition to any collection.

When purchasing a 1923-S Buffalo nickel, it is crucial to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1923-S Buffalo nickel is a popular piece among numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its relative scarcity and historical importance make it a valuable coin that both collectors and investors will appreciate.

1931-S

The 1931-S Buffalo nickel is a relatively rare and valuable coin within the Buffalo nickel series, especially in higher grades. It was minted at the San Francisco Mint and has a mintage of only 1,200,000, making it one of the lower mintage issues in the series and highly sought-after by collectors and investors alike.

Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is an iconic piece of American coinage that reflects the spirit of the American West. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse showcases an American bison.

The value of the 1931-S Buffalo nickel is primarily determined by its grade. Higher grade examples are rarer and, therefore, more valuable and appealing to collectors and investors. A well-preserved specimen will hold greater long-term value, making it a desirable addition to any collection.

When purchasing a 1931-S Buffalo nickel, it is essential to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1931-S Buffalo nickel is a popular piece among numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its low mintage, historical importance, and relative rarity make it a valuable coin that both collectors and investors will appreciate.

1925-S

The 1925-S Buffalo nickel is a semi-key date coin within the Buffalo nickel series, adding to its value and desirability among collectors and investors. Minted at the San Francisco Mint, this coin has a mintage of 6,256,000, making it relatively scarce, especially in higher grades.

James Earle Fraser designed the Buffalo nickel, creating an iconic piece of American coinage that reflects the spirit of the American West. The obverse features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse displays an American bison.

The value of the 1925-S Buffalo nickel primarily depends on its grade. Higher grade examples are rarer and, as a result, more valuable and appealing to collectors and investors. A well-preserved specimen will hold greater long-term value, making it a desirable addition to any collection.

When purchasing a 1925-S Buffalo nickel, it is important to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1925-S Buffalo nickel is a sought-after piece among numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its semi-key date status, historical significance, and relative scarcity make it a valuable coin that both collectors and investors will appreciate.

1920-D

The 1920-D Buffalo nickel is a valuable coin, particularly in higher grades. Minted at the Denver Mint, this coin has a mintage of 9,418,000, which makes it relatively scarce and sought after by collectors and investors. Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is an iconic piece of American coinage, reflecting the spirit of the American West. The obverse features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse displays an American bison.

The value of the 1920-D Buffalo nickel primarily depends on its grade. Higher grade examples are rarer and, as a result, more valuable and appealing to collectors and investors. A well-preserved specimen will hold greater long-term value, making it a desirable addition to any collection.

When purchasing a 1920-D Buffalo nickel, it is important to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1920-D Buffalo nickel is a sought-after piece among numismatic enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its relatively low mintage, historical significance, and scarcity in higher grades make it a valuable coin that both collectors and investors will appreciate.

1927-D

The 1927-D Buffalo nickel is a relatively scarce and valuable coin, especially in higher grades. Minted at the Denver Mint, this coin has a mintage of 5,730,000. Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is a classic piece of American coinage that represents the spirit of the American West. The obverse features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse displays an American bison.

The value of the 1927-D Buffalo nickel primarily depends on its grade. Coins in higher grades are rarer and more valuable due to their better state of preservation. Collectors and investors place a premium on well-preserved examples, as they hold greater long-term value and are more visually appealing.

When purchasing a 1927-D Buffalo nickel, it is important to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services. This ensures the coin’s authenticity and provides an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1927-D Buffalo nickel is an appealing coin for collectors and investors alike, particularly those interested in the Buffalo nickel series or early 20th-century American coinage. Its relatively low mintage, historical significance, and scarcity in higher grades make it a valuable addition to any collection.

1936-D 3-1/2 Legs

The 1936-D 3-1/2 Legs Buffalo nickel is a rare and collectible variety resulting from a minting error at the Denver Mint. This error caused the bison on the reverse of the coin to appear with 3-1/2 legs instead of the usual four. Designed by James Earle Fraser, the Buffalo nickel is a beloved piece of American coinage, showcasing the spirit of the American West. The obverse features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse displays the American bison.

The 3-1/2 Legs variety occurred due to an overpolishing of the die, which removed part of the bison’s front right leg. As a result, this variety is highly sought after by collectors and is considered a significant rarity within the Buffalo nickel series.

The value of the 1936-D 3-1/2 Legs Buffalo nickel depends on its grade and the overall condition of the coin. Higher grades are rarer and more valuable due to their better preservation. Collectors and investors place a premium on well-preserved examples, as they hold greater long-term value and are more visually appealing.

When purchasing a 1936-D 3-1/2 Legs Buffalo nickel, it is important to buy certified and graded examples from reputable dealers or third-party grading services to ensure the coin’s authenticity and provide an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1936-D 3-1/2 Legs Buffalo nickel is a rare and valuable coin for collectors and investors interested in the Buffalo nickel series or minting errors. Its rarity and historical significance make it an attractive addition to any collection.

1914-D

The 1914-D Buffalo nickel is a relatively rare and valuable coin, especially in higher grades, due to its lower mintage of 3,912,000. Struck at the Denver Mint, the 1914-D is part of the iconic Buffalo nickel series that was designed by James Earle Fraser and minted from 1913 to 1938.

The Buffalo nickel features a portrait of a Native American on the obverse, while the reverse displays an American bison. The design is a celebration of the American West and its culture, which has made the series a favorite among collectors and investors alike.

The value of the 1914-D Buffalo nickel varies depending on its condition, with higher grades commanding a premium due to their better preservation. Well-struck, uncirculated examples are especially sought after as they exhibit crisp details and luster, making them more visually appealing.

When purchasing a 1914-D Buffalo nickel, it is essential to ensure that the coin is certified and graded by a reputable dealer or third-party grading service. This will help guarantee the coin’s authenticity and provide an accurate assessment of its condition.

In conclusion, the 1914-D Buffalo nickel is a valuable coin for collectors and investors interested in the Buffalo nickel series. Its lower mintage and historical significance make it an attractive addition to any collection.

1929-S

The 1929-S Buffalo nickel is a relatively scarce and valuable coin in the series, particularly in higher grades, due to its mintage of 7,754,000. Produced at the San Francisco Mint, the 1929-S Buffalo nickel is part of the popular Buffalo nickel series designed by James Earle Fraser and minted from 1913 to 1938.

The obverse of the Buffalo nickel features a portrait of a Native American, while the reverse showcases an American bison. This design pays homage to the American West and its rich history, making the series a favorite among both collectors and investors.

The value of the 1929-S Buffalo nickel varies depending on its condition, with coins in higher grades commanding a premium. Well-struck, uncirculated examples are particularly sought after due to their sharp details and luster.

When acquiring a 1929-S Buffalo nickel, it is crucial to ensure that the coin is certified and graded by a reputable dealer or third-party grading service. This helps guarantee the coin’s authenticity and offers an accurate assessment of its condition.

In summary, the 1929-S Buffalo nickel is a valuable and relatively scarce coin for those interested in the Buffalo nickel series. Its historical significance and lower mintage make it an appealing addition to any collection.

These 25 valuable Buffalo nickels represent a mix of key dates, mint mark varieties, and errors that make them particularly sought-after by collectors and investors. While some of these coins may be challenging to find, especially in higher grades, their rarity and desirability make them a worthwhile pursuit for those passionate about numismatics. Always remember to research, verify the authenticity, and consult with experts before purchasing any valuable coins to ensure you’re making a wise investment.

Factors Influencing Buffalo Nickel Worth

Rarity

  1. Mint mark varieties Buffalo nickels minted at different locations can have varying degrees of rarity. Coins with the “D” (Denver) or “S” (San Francisco) mint marks are generally more valuable due to their lower mintage numbers compared to those produced in Philadelphia.
  2. Key dates and low-mintage years Some years had a lower mintage, making those coins rarer and more valuable. Key date Buffalo nickels include 1913-S Type 2, 1914-D, 1918/7-D, and 1937-D 3-legged buffalo.

Condition

  1. Grading scale (Good, Fine, Extremely Fine, etc.) The condition of a coin plays a significant role in determining its worth. The grading scale for Buffalo nickels ranges from Poor (P-1) to Mint State (MS-70), with various grades in between such as Good (G-4), Fine (F-12), and Extremely Fine (XF-40).
  2. Importance of remaining details The level of detail remaining on a Buffalo nickel greatly affects its value. Coins with sharp and well-defined features, such as the Native American’s facial features and the bison’s fur, are more desirable and command higher prices.

Historical significance

The historical context in which Buffalo nickels were minted adds to their overall worth. These coins serve as tangible reminders of the United States’ rich history and its connection to Native American culture and the American West.

Market demand

The popularity and demand for Buffalo nickels among collectors and investors directly impact their value. As more people seek to acquire these coins, their worth is likely to increase.

Errors and varieties

  1. Notable examples: 1916/1916 double die, 1937-D 3-legged buffalo Error coins and unique varieties are highly sought after by collectors, making them more valuable. Notable examples include the 1916/1916 double die obverse, where the date appears to be doubled, and the 1937-D 3-legged buffalo, a rare variety caused by an overzealous polishing of the die that removed one of the bison’s legs.

Grading Buffalo Nickels

The Sheldon Scale

The Sheldon Scale, named after numismatist Dr. William H. Sheldon, is a 70-point grading system used to evaluate the condition of coins. This scale is widely accepted and used by collectors, dealers, and third-party grading services to determine a coin’s grade and, ultimately, its value.

Third-party grading services

  1. PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) PCGS is a highly respected third-party coin grading service. They authenticate, grade, and encapsulate coins in a protective holder with a label indicating the coin’s grade and other relevant information.
  2. NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) NGC is another reputable third-party grading service. Similar to PCGS, they authenticate, grade, and encapsulate coins, providing collectors and investors with confidence in the coin’s condition and authenticity.
  3. ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service) ANACS is the oldest third-party grading service in the United States. They also authenticate, grade, and encapsulate coins, and their services are widely respected within the numismatic community.

Factors impacting the grade

  1. Surface preservation The overall condition of a coin’s surface, including the presence of scratches, dings, and other imperfections, influences its grade.
  2. Strike quality A coin’s strike quality refers to the clarity and detail of its design elements. A well-struck coin with crisp, well-defined features will receive a higher grade than a coin with weak or indistinct design elements.
  3. Luster The luster of a coin refers to its natural shine and reflective quality. Coins with original, undisturbed luster typically receive higher grades.
  4. Eye appeal A coin’s eye appeal, or overall visual attractiveness, plays a role in determining its grade. Coins with strong eye appeal, including pleasing toning and well-balanced design elements, are more likely to receive higher grades.

Investing in Buffalo Nickels

Benefits of investing in numismatic coins

Investing in numismatic coins like Buffalo nickels offers several benefits, including the potential for appreciation, portfolio diversification, and the enjoyment of owning historical and artistically significant pieces.

Risks associated with coin investing

Coin investing carries certain risks, such as market fluctuations, potential forgeries, and the challenge of accurately assessing a coin’s condition and value.

Building a balanced collection

To minimize risks and maximize potential returns, it is essential to build a balanced collection. This can be achieved by focusing on a mix of key dates, mint marks, and varieties, as well as considering coins in different conditions and price ranges.

Tips for purchasing Buffalo nickels

  1. Buying from reputable dealers Purchasing coins from reputable dealers ensures the authenticity and accurate grading of the coins. Reputable dealers are typically members of professional organizations, such as the American Numismatic Association (ANA) or the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG).
  2. Attending coin shows and auctions Coin shows and auctions provide excellent opportunities to view and purchase a variety of Buffalo nickels. These events also offer the chance to interact with fellow collectors, dealers, and experts, enhancing your knowledge and understanding of the market.
  3. Utilizing online resources and forums Online resources, such as coin forums, blogs, and websites, offer valuable information on Buffalo nickels, including pricing data, recent sales, and expert advice. These resources can help you make informed decisions when buying or selling coins.

Caring for and Preserving Buffalo Nickels

Proper storage techniques

  1. Coin holders and albums Store your Buffalo nickels in acid-free, archival-quality coin holders or albums to protect them from environmental damage, such as humidity, temperature fluctuations, and contaminants.
  2. Coin capsules and storage boxes For added protection, consider using coin capsules made of inert materials to house your nickels. Additionally, store your coins in sturdy, well-ventilated storage boxes to prevent potential damage.

Handling coins safely

  1. Using gloves or soft cloth When handling Buffalo nickels, use gloves or a soft cloth to prevent transferring oils, dirt, or other contaminants from your fingers to the coin’s surface.
  2. Avoiding unnecessary contact with surfaces Limit your contact with the coin’s surface by holding it by its edges. Avoid touching the obverse and reverse, as this may cause wear or damage over time.

Cleaning considerations

  1. Potential risks of cleaning coins Improper cleaning can significantly reduce a coin’s value by causing scratches, altering its surface, or removing its natural patina. In most cases, it is best to leave a coin in its original state.
  2. Seeking professional advice before cleaning If you believe a coin requires cleaning, consult with a professional numismatist or conservator. They can provide guidance on the appropriate cleaning methods or perform the cleaning themselves, minimizing the risk of damaging the coin.

Conclusion

The lasting impact of Buffalo nickels on numismatics

Buffalo nickels have left a lasting impact on the world of numismatics, thanks to their iconic design, historical significance, and enduring popularity. They remain a favorite among collectors and investors and serve as a testament to the artistic and historical legacy of the United States.

The importance of understanding their worth for collectors and investors

Understanding the worth of Buffalo nickels is crucial for collectors and investors looking to build a valuable and well-rounded collection. By considering factors such as rarity, condition, historical significance, and market demand, individuals can make informed decisions when buying, selling, or investing in these unique coins.

Appreciating the historical and artistic value of Buffalo nickels

Beyond their monetary worth, Buffalo nickels also offer a unique glimpse into the history and culture of the United States. They serve as a reminder of the nation’s rich past, its connection to Native American heritage, and the untamed spirit of the American West. By appreciating the historical and artistic value of these coins, collectors and investors can develop a deeper understanding and connection to the fascinating world of numismatics.

In summary, the Buffalo nickel is an iconic piece of American coinage that continues to captivate collectors and investors alike. By understanding the factors that contribute to their worth, such as rarity, condition, historical significance, and market demand, individuals can make informed decisions when participating in the numismatic market. Additionally, proper care, storage, and handling techniques are essential for preserving the value and integrity of these coins. As collectors and investors continue to appreciate the historical and artistic significance of Buffalo nickels, their legacy as a cornerstone of American numismatics remains secure.

References

  1. The United States Mint: The official website of the United States Mint provides authoritative information on the history and design of the Buffalo nickel. (https://www.usmint.gov/coins/coin-medal-programs/commemorative-coins/american-buffalo)
  2. The American Numismatic Association (ANA): As a trusted organization for coin collectors and enthusiasts, the ANA offers valuable resources and educational materials on various coins, including the Buffalo nickel. (https://www.money.org/)
  3. A Guide Book of United States Coins (also known as “The Red Book”) by R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett: This annually updated guidebook is a go-to resource for coin collectors, providing information on coin history, mintages, values, and grading.
  4. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC): As one of the top coin grading services, NGC offers a wealth of information on coin values, mintages, and grading standards, including details on the Buffalo nickel. (https://www.ngccoin.com/)

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