Who else wants to build a collection of buffalo nickels?


Buffalo nickels are copper-nickel 5-cent pieces produced by the US Mint in the first half of the 20th century {from 1913 to 1938}.It replaced the Liberty “V” nickel and was replaced by the Jefferson nickel that Americans use today.

An image of a bison or buffalo is stamped on the reverse of the coin, hence the name.It was the first coin to feature an animal that wasn’t an eagle.

The obverse (front face) of the buffalo nickel features a realistic likeness of a Native American

What everybody ought to know about starting a buffalo nickel collection?

If one wants to start a collection of buffalo nickels, they should first learn about the series by picking up a copy of Q. David Bowers’ “Guide Book of Buffalo and Jefferson Nickels.”

This book breaks down the series, date by date and mint by mint, and gives collectors historical insights into the series and a handy price table that details the value of nickels in various collectible grades.

Can you find them in circulation today?

Buffalo nickels are still in circulation, yet they are rarely identified.

One of the reasons for this is that the coins look different from today’s designs, and did not particularly wear well. Most worn buffalo nickels have lost significant details, including the date.

Another reason that buffalo nickels aren’t plentiful in change is the sheer volume of modern coins that are produced each year. The most buffalo nickels the Mint ever produced in a given year was 119 million, in 1936.

Are there certain years, or type of buffalo nickel, that command especially high prices?

Generally, buffalo nickels aren’t get-rich collectors’ items — yet they have  intangible value for their collectors.

The most famous buffalo nickel of all is the 1937-D “three legged” buffalo nickel. This is a scarce coin variety struck at the Denver Mint. It gets its name because the right front leg of the buffalo was polished off the die before the coin was struck.

In circulated grades, this variety is worth hundreds of dollars. The record price paid for one, however, is $97,950. This price, paid at a 2009 auction, was for the finest known example.

Grading categories

These are the grading categories of buffalo nickels, as outlined by the PCGS. The condition is usually judged by the wear on the coin’s reverse.

  • FR / AG: This means “fair” / “about good.” The dates are well-worn and the rim will be worn down to the lettering.
  • G / VG: This means “good” / “very good.” You should be able to see clear lettering and the full date.
  • F / VF: This means “fine” / “very fine.” You need to be able to see the horn on the bison for your nickel to earn this grade.
  • EF / AU: This means “extremely fine” / “about uncirculated.” If you’re lucky enough to get this grading, the full horn tip on the buffalo is visible.

Sourced by: CNN

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