The Jefferson Nickel

The longest circulating five-cent coin is the Jefferson Nickel. It first appeared in 1938 after replacing the Buffalo Nickel which was first minted in 1913. Over the years, the Jefferson Nickel has seen modifications when it came to its obverse and reverse design, as well as a change in its metal composition. As of this year, it has been around for 80 years in circulation.

The History of the Jefferson Nickel

In early 1938, the United States Treasury Department wanted to create a new five-cent coin that will replace the Buffalo Nickel. The Buffalo Nickel has already been in circulation for the past 25 years, and it was time for a change in the nickel’s design. So, a competition was held to the public.

The criteria for the new five-cent specifically asked to feature what the US Treasury Department called as “an authentic portrait” of the third president, President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse. As for the reverse side of the coin, Jefferson’s historic home, Monticello will be featured. The public was made aware of the criteria and deadlines, and at the end of the competition, a total of 390 designs were submitted.

Out of all the designs, Felix Schlag’s entry reigned supreme. He was a German-American sculptor at the time of the contest. In the end, he received a prize amounting to $1,000.00. despite winning the competition, his design for the reverse was met with criticisms by the Federal Commission of Fine Arts. Since his design was rejected, it was only after a couple of debates and revision that the final design was approved.

The minting of the Jefferson Nickel was delayed, and it is only in September that the coin was released. The coins were minted in three US Mints – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver – all coins bearing the respective mintmark of the Mint they were coined with the exception of the Philadelphia Mint. Coins minted in San Francisco bears the mintmark S while those produced in Denver has D mintmarks. As for those minted in Philadelphia, the coins were only struck with the mintmark P starting 1980.

The Four Types of the Jefferson Nickel according to PCGS Coin Facts

Type 1 Original Design, Vintage Jefferson Nickel

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/NNC-US-1938-5C-Jefferson_Nickel.jpg

The Type 1 Jefferson Nickel weighs 5.00 grams, is 21.20 mm in diameter, has a plain edge and is composed of 75% Copper and 25% Nickel. These were minted from 1938-1964. The obverse features a portrait of President Thomas Jefferson facing left. IN GOD WE TRUST is seen on the left side of the coin while the word LIBERTY * Date minted is on the right side of the obverse.

For the reverse, a classic rendition of Jefferson’s home is featured with its name, MONTICELLO just below the building. The legend E PLURIBUS UNUM is seen on top while the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is on the bottom of the coin. the denomination FIVE CENTS is situated in between MONTICELLO and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The mintmark is them located on the right side of Jefferson’s home.

Regular Strike

1938 – 19,496,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1938-D – 5,376,000 pieces minted in Denver

1938-S – 4,105,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1939 – 120,627,535

  •    1939 Reverse of 1938
  •    1939 Reverse of 1940
  •    1939 Doubled Monticello

1939-D – 3,514,000 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1939-D Reverse of 1938
  •    1939-D Reverse of 1940

1939-S -6,630,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

  •    1939-S Reverse of 1938
  •    1939-S Reverse of 1940

1940 – 176,485,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1940-D – 43,540,000 pieces minted in Denver

1940-S -36,690,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1941 -203,265,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1941-D – 53,432,000 pieces minted in Denver

1941-S – 43,445,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1942 – 49,789,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1942-D -13,938,000 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1942-D/D D/Horizontal D

1946 – 161,116,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1946-D – 45,292,200 pieces minted in Denver

1946-S – 13,560,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1947 – 95,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1947-D – 37,822,000 pieces minted in Denver

1947-S – 24,720,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1948 – 89,348,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1948-D – 44,734,000 pieces minted in Denver

1948-S – 11,300,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1949 – 60,652,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1949-D – 36,498,000 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1949-D/S

1949-S – 9,716,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1950 – 9,796,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1950-D – 2,630,030 pieces minted in Denver

1951 – 28,552,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1951-D – 20,460,000 pieces minted in Denver

1951-S – 7,776,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1952 – 63,988,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1952-D – 30,638,000 pieces minted in Denver

1952-S – 20,572,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1953 – 46,644,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1953-D – 59,878,600 pieces minted in Denver

1953-S – 19,210,900 pieces minted in San Francisco

1954 – 47,684,050 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1954-D – 117,183,060 pieces minted in Denver

1954-S – 29,384,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

  •    1954-S/D

1955 – 7,888,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1955-D – 74,464,100 pieces minted in Denver

  •    1955-D/S

1956 – 35,216,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1956-D – 67,222,940 pieces minted in Denver

1957 – 38,400,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1957-D – 136,828,900 pieces minted in Denver

1958 – 17,088,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1958-D – 168,249,120 pieces minted in Denver

1959 – 27,248,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1959-D – 160,738,240 pieces minted in Denver

1960 – 55,416,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1960-D – 192,582,180 pieces minted in Denver

1961 – 73,640,100 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1961-D – 229,342,760 pieces minted in Denver

1962 – 97,384,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1962-D – 280,195,720 pieces minted in Denver

1963 – 175,784,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1963-D – 276,829,460 pieces minted in Denver

1964 – 1,024,672,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1964-D – 1,787,297,160 pieces minted in Denver

Proofs

1938 – 19,365 ((estimated)) pieces minted in Philadelphia

1939 – 12,535 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1939 Reverse of 1940

1940 – 14,158 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1940 Reverse of 1938

1941 – 18,720 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1942 – 29,600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1950 – 51,386 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1951 – 57,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1952 – 81,980 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1953 – 128,800 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1954 – 233,300 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1955 – 378,200 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1956 – 669,384 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1957 – 1,247,952 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1958 – 875,652 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1959 – 1,149,291 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1960 – 1,691,602 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1961 – 3,028,144 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1962 – 3,218,019 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1963 – 3,075,645 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1964 – 3,950,762 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Special Strikes

1964 SMS – 3,950,762 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Type 1 Original Design, Modern Jefferson Nickel

The second type of Type 1 Jefferson Nickel as minted from 1965-2003.

Regular Strike

1965 – 136,131,380 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1966 – 156,208,283 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1967 – 107,325,800 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1968-D – 91,227,880 pieces minted in Denver

1968-S – 103,437,510 pieces minted in San Francisco

1969-D – 202,807,500 pieces minted in Denver

1969-S – 123,009,631 pieces minted in San Francisco

1970-D – 515,485,380 pieces minted in Denver

1970-S – 214,464,814 pieces minted in San Francisco

1971 – 106,884,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1971-D – 316,144,800 pieces minted in Denver

1972 – 202,036,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1972-D – 351,694,600 pieces minted in Denver

1973 – 384,396,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1973-D – 261,405,000 pieces minted in Denver

1974 – 601,752,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1974-D – 277,373,000 pieces minted in Denver

1975 – 181,772,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1975-D – 401,875,300 pieces minted in Denver

1976 – 367,124,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1976-D – 563,964,147 pieces minted in Denver

1977 – 585,376,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1977-D -297,313,422 pieces minted in Denver

1978 – 391,308,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1978-D – 313,092,780 pieces minted in Denver

1979 -463,188,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1979-D – 325,867,672 pieces minted in Denver

1980-P – 593,004,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1980-D – 502,323,448 pieces minted in Denver

1981-P – 657,504,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1981-D – 364,801,843 pieces minted in Denver

1982-P – 292,355,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1982-D – 373,726,544 pieces minted in Denver

1983-P – 561,615,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1983-D – 536,726,276 pieces minted in Denver

1984-P – 746,769,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1984-D – 517,675,146 pieces minted in Denver

1985-P – 647,114,962 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1985-D – 459,747,446 pieces minted in Denver

1986-P – 361,819,140 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1986-D – 361,819,140 pieces minted in Denver

1987-P – 371,499,481 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1987-D – 410,590,604 pieces minted in Denver

1988-P – 771,360,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1988-D – 663,771,652 pieces minted in Denver

1989-P – 898,812,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1989-D – 570,842,474 pieces minted in Denver

1990-P – 661,636,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1990-D – 663,938,503 pieces minted in Denver

1991-P – 614,104,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1991-D – 436,496,678 pieces minted in Denver

1992-P – 399,552,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1992-D – 450,565,113 pieces minted in Denver

1993-P – 412,076,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1993-D – 406,084,135 pieces minted in Denver

1994-P – 722,160,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1994-D – 715,762,110 pieces minted in Denver

1995-P – 774,156,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1995-D – 888,112,000 pieces minted in Denver

1996-P – 829,332,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1996-D – 817,736,000 pieces minted in Denver

1997-P – 470,972,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1997-D – 466,640,000 pieces minted in Denver

1998-P – 688,272,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1998-D – 635,360,000 pieces minted in Denver

1999-P – 1,212,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1999-D – 1,066,720,000 pieces minted in Denver

2000-P – 846,240,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2000-D – 1,509,520,000 pieces minted in Denver

2001-P – 675,704,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2001-D – 627,680,000 pieces minted in Denver

2002-P – 539,280,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2002-D – 691,200,000 pieces minted in Denver

2003-P – 441,840,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2003-D – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

Proofs

1968-S – 3,041,506 pieces minted in San Francisco

1969-S – 2,934,631 pieces minted in San Francisco

1970-S – 2,632,810 pieces minted in San Francisco

1971-S – 3,220,733 pieces minted in San Francisco

  •    1971 No S

1972-S – 3,260,996 pieces minted in San Francisco

1973-S – 2,760,339 pieces minted in San Francisco

1974-S – 2,612,568 pieces minted in San Francisco

1975-S – 2,845,450 pieces minted in San Francisco

1976-S – 4,149,730 pieces minted in San Francisco

1977-S – 3,251,152 pieces minted in San Francisco

1978-S – 3,127,781 pieces minted in San Francisco

1979 – 3,677,175 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1979-S Type 1
  •    1979-S Type 2

1980-S – 3,554,806 pieces minted in San Francisco

1981 – 4,063,083 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1981-S Type 1
  •    1981-S Type 2

1982-S – 3,857,479 pieces minted in San Francisco

1983-S – 3,279,126 pieces minted in San Francisco

1984-S – 3,065,110 pieces minted in San Francisco

1985-S – 3,362,821 pieces minted in San Francisco

1986-S – 3,010,497 pieces minted in San Francisco

1987-S – 4,227,728 pieces minted in San Francisco

1988-S – 3,262,948 pieces minted in San Francisco

1989-S – 3,220,194 pieces minted in San Francisco

1990-S – 3,299,559 pieces minted in San Francisco

1991-S – 2,867,787 pieces minted in San Francisco

1992-S – 4,176,560 pieces minted in San Francisco

1993-S – 3,394,792 pieces minted in San Francisco

1994-S – 3,269,923 pieces minted in San Francisco

1995-S – 2,797,481 pieces minted in San Francisco

1996-S – 2,525,265 pieces minted in San Francisco

1997-S – 2,796,678 pieces minted in San Francisco

1998-S – 2,086,507 pieces minted in San Francisco

1999-S – 2,543,401 pieces minted in San Francisco

2000-S – 3,082,483 pieces minted in San Francisco

2001-S – 2,294,043 pieces minted in San Francisco

2002-S – 2,277,720 pieces minted in San Francisco

2003-S – N/A minted in San Francisco

Special Strikes

1965 SMS – 2,360,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1966 SMS – 2,260,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1967 SMS – 1,860,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1994-P SMS – 167,703 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1997-P SMS – 25,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Type 2 Silver Alloy Jefferson Nickel

Photo taken by user bobby131313. Image courtesy of CCF Numismatics , 1945-P-Jefferson-War-Nickel-Obverse , size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0

The second type of the Jefferson Nickel were minted from 1942-1945 only. The composition was replaced with 56% Copper, 35% Silver, 9% Manganese since Nickel can no longer be used in coining five cents.

Photo taken by user bobby131313 and may be used freely with following credit. Image courtesy of CCF Numismatics, 1945-P-Jefferson-War-Nickel-Reverse, size von Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0

Another change in design was the location of a bigger mintmark just above the Monticello residence in the reverse.

Regular Strike

1942-P  – 57,873,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1942-S – 32,900,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1943-P – 271,165,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1943-P Doubled Die Obverse
  •    1943/2-P

1943-D – 15,294,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1943-S – 104,060,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1944-P – 119,150,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1944-D – 32,309,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1944-S – 21,640,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1945-P – 119,408,100 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1945-P Doubled Die Reverse

1945-D – 37,158,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1945-S – 58,939,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

Proofs

1942-P Type 2 – 27,600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

When the 200th anniversary of Meriwether Lewis & William Clark expedition occurred during the time Thomas Jefferson was the seated President, so a Jefferson Nickel was created in honor of this expedition. The Type 3 Jefferson Nickel actually has four designs which were all minted in 2004-2005. The metal composition is now back to 75% Copper, 25% Nickel.

The 2004 Peace Medal Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

The original design for the obverse remained but the reverse was replaced with a featured image of two hands shaking, with a tomahawk and crossed peace pipe. The legends the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA followed by LOUISIANA PURCHASE and the date 1803 is above while the E PLURIBUS UNUM and the denomination FIVE CENTS are below the featured image.

These are the two obverse designs for the Type 3 Jefferson Nickel

 

United States Mint, Nickel Obverse , size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

These are the four reverse designs for the Type 3 Jefferson Nickel

United States Mint, NickelReverses , edited by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The 2004 Keel Boat Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

Minted in 2004, it features the original design of the obverse while the reverse is now featuring a boat believed to be used by Lewis and Clark during their expedition. LEWIS & CLARK and the denomination FIVE CENTS  can be seen just below the boat while the legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM lies above the boat.

The 2005 American Bison Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

Minted in 2005, the obverse now has a portrait of Jefferson off-center and facing right. IN GOD WE TRUST, liberty is written in cursive and the year 2005 can be seen on the right side of the coin together with the mintmark. As for the reverse, an American Bison was used while the legend UNITED STATES of AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, and FIVE CENTS are inscribed,

The 2005 Western Waters Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel

The last type of the Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel was minted in 2005 and retained the obverse of the 2005 American Bison Type 3 Westward Journey Jefferson Nickel. The reverse now features a view of the Pacific Ocean where the words Ocean in view! Oh the Joy! Surrounding the featured image are the legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and LEWIS & CLARK 1805.

Regular Strike

2004-P Peace Medal – 361,440,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2004-D Peace Medal – 372,000,000 pieces were minted in Denver

2004-P Keel Boat – 366,720,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2004-D Keel Boat – 344,880,000 pieces were minted in Denver

2005-P Bison – 448,320,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Speared Bison – 487,680,000 pieces were minted in Denver

2005-D Bison – unknown pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-P Western Waters – 394,080,000 pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Western Waters – 411,000,000 pieces were minted in Denver

Proofs

2004-S Peace Medal – 2,965,422 pieces were minted in San Francisco

2004-S Keel Boat – 2,965,422 pieces were minted in San Francisco

2005-S Bison – 3,344,679 pieces were minted in San Francisco

2005-S Western Waters – 3,344,679 pieces were minted in San Francisco

Special Strikes

2005-P Bison – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Bison – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Denver

2005-P Western Waters – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Philadelphia

2005-D Western Waters – Satin Finish – unknown pieces were minted in Denver

Type 4, Return to Monticello Jefferson Nickel

The last and still in circulation design for the Jefferson Nickel went back to the original reverse design where Monticello is featured. Jefferson is now almost facing forward and is indented to the left. IN GOD WE TRUST, liberty in cursive writing and the date and year is inscribed on the right side of the coin. Minting of the Type 4 Jefferson Nickel started in 2006 up until the present.

Regular Strike

2006-P 5C Return to Monticello – 690,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2006-D 5C Return to Monticello – 810,000,000 pieces minted in Denver

2007-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2007-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2008-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2008-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2009-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2009-D 5C – 46,800,000 pieces minted in Denver

2010-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2010-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2011-P 5C – 450,000,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2011-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2012-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2012-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2013-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2013-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

2014-P 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

2014-D 5C – 383,040,000 pieces minted in Denver

Proofs

2006-S 5C Return to Monticello – 3,054,436 pieces minted in San Francisco

2007-S 5C – 2,577,166 pieces minted in San Francisco

2008-S 5C – 2,169,561 pieces minted in San Francisco

2009-S 5C – 2,179,867 pieces minted in San Francisco

2010-S 5C – 1,689,364 pieces minted in San Francisco

2011-S 5C – 1,453,276 pieces minted in San Francisco

2012-S 5C – 1,237,926 pieces minted in San Francisco

2013-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

2014-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

2015-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

2017-S 5C – unknown pieces minted in San Francisco

Special Strikes

2006-P 5C Return to Monticello-Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2006-D 5C Return to Monticello-Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2007-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2007-D 5C Satin Finish –  unknown pieces minted in Denver

2008-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2008-D 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2009-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

2009-D 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2010-D 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Denver

2010-P 5C Satin Finish – unknown pieces minted in Philadelphia

Collection Jefferson Nickel Coins

The Jefferson Nickel was lots of varieties – overdates doubled dies and over mintmarks. Due to high mintages,no dates are considered as scarce. Because of this, the Jefferson Nickel is an easily attainable and an affordable collection. As for collectors, the following are targeted and desired: the 1938-D, 1938-S, 1939, 1939-D, 1939-S 1950-D and 1961.

One can purchase PCGS-graded Jefferson Nickel coins from $1.00-27,500.00. Since most Jefferson Nickels are cheap, it makes a fun and easy collection that will continuously grow in number up until the time the design is retained. If you want to start a coin collection wherein you don’t need a lot of money to pull out from your and with less stress and difficulty, then the Jefferson Nickel is one you can start with.

References:

PCGS, PCGS CoinFacts, NGC Coin, Coin Community

The Shield Nickel

The Shield Nickel first appeared in the year 1866 – the same year when the Seated Liberty Half Dime was still in circulation. It was truly an unusual event wherein two coins of the same denomination were issued. However, the Shield Nickel was made up of 75% Copper and 25% Nickel while the Seated Liberty Half Dime was composed of 90% Silver and 10% Copper.

The Shield Nickel was created because the United States needed a small change in circulation. This is after coin hoarding became an issue – wherein the shortage of coins was caused after citizens started collecting coins even before the American Civil War. The reason? Since coins in circulated during that time were made up of precious metals, the public took an interest in them.

James Pollock, the US Mint Director at that time used to oppose the idea of minting nickel coins because of the issues the Mint has to face when striking and creating the coins. Also, he was aware that Joseph Wharton, owner and chief stockholder of the largest US nickel mine had many friends and supporter in the Congress. He has been using his connections to pursue metal in the minting of US coins.

However, all changed when he finally accepted the need to create a new five-cent coin made out of nickel. Pollock then assigned the James Longacre to create the design of the new five-cent coin since he was already the US Mint Chief Engraver at that time.

Longacre was unable to use a portrait in the new nickel coin due to some issues, so he opted to use a motif he created and used earlier on a two-cent coin after modifying its design. The Obverse features a shield that has a wreath on both sides and the Order of Calatrava’s cross above it. This is the reason why the new five-cent coin was called the Shield Five Cents. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST is placed above the cross and the date just below the shield.

As for the reverse, a large number 5 is seen on the center is being surrounded by 13 stars, each star having a ray of the sun in between. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA placed in a form of an arc on top and CENTS below. The coin is made up of 75% Copper and 25% Nickel. It has a plain edge, is 20.50 millimeters and weighs about 1.94 grams.

As expected, the new five-cent coin was rarely well-struck and many dies broke during the process. The Shield Nickel with the rays on the reverse was minted from 1866-1867 and came to be the Type 1 Shield Nickel.

After the Type Shield Nickel was terminated, a new Shield Nickel was born minus the rays on the reverse to solve the problem. The Type 2 Shield Nickel was first minted early in 1867. Both types were minted only at the US Mint located in Philadelphia. The Type 2 Shield Nickel only lasted up until 1883, then the design was replaced and the 1883 Liberty Nickel was born.

The Two Types of the Shield Nickel (Varieties and Mintages)

Type 1 Shield Nickel With Rays

US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1866-5C-Shield Nickel (rays), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

Minted from 1866-1867 only, it was the original design made by James Barton Longacre. The Obverse features a shield that has the Order of Calatrava’s cross above the shield and wreaths on each side. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST is placed above the cross and the date just below the shield.

The reverse has a much simpler design. A big number 5 is in the middle of the coin. A series of 13 stars with 13 rays in between encircles the number 5 while UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and CENTS place above and below the reverse respectively. All were struck in Philadelphia Mint.

Regular Strike

1866 Shield Nickel With Rays – 14,742,500 pieces were struck in Philadelphia

1867 Shield Nickel With Rays – 2,019,000 pieces were struck in Philadelphia

Proofs

1866 Shield Nickel With Rays – 600 pieces were struck in Philadelphia

1867 Shield Nickel With Rays- 60 pieces were struck in Philadelphia

Type 2 Shield Nickel With No Rays

US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1873-5C-Shield Nickel (stars), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The second type of the Shield Nickel was first minted in 1867 and until 1883. The new design no longer has the rays in between the stars found at the back of the coin. This is to help prevent the coin dies from breaking prematurely, since striking the rays only added pressure on the dies.

The obverse is still the same, while the only elements that were not included in the Type 2 Shield Nickel were the rays in the reverse.

Regular Strike

1867 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 28,890,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1868 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 28,817,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1869 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 16,395,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1870 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 4,806,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1871 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 561,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1872 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 6,036,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1873 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 4,550,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1873 Open 3
  •    1873 Closed 3

1874 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 3,538,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1875 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 2,097,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1876 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 2,530,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1879 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 25,900 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1880 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 16,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1881 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 68,800 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1882 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 11,472,900 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1883 Shield Nickel With No Rays – 1,451,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1883/2

Proofs

1867 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof- 600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1867 Pattern Reverse

1868 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1869 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 600 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1870 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 1,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1871 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 960 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1872 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 950 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1873 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof- 1,100 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1873 Closed 3 Proof

1874 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 700 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1875 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 700 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1876 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 1,150 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1877 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 510 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1878 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 2,350 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1879 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 3,200 pieces minted in Philadelphia

  •    1879/8 Proof

1880 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 3,955 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1881 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 3,575 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1882 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 3,100 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1883 Shield Nickel With No Rays Proof – 5,419 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Collecting Shield Nickel Coins

It may come as a surprise among coin collectors that even if the minting of the Shield Nickel coin was only for a short period of time, still, there are notable rarities. Those dated in 1866 and 1873 have interesting varieties. There were two overdates – 1879/8 and 1883/2. The key dates are those dated in 1877 and 1878 since only proof coins were minted. As for 1867 With Rays Proof Shield Nickel, is the most sought-after among collectors since very little was known to be struck.

When collecting Shield Nickels, the areas to check for signs of wear would be on the leaves and cross on the obverse and the number 5 at the back of the coin. These are often collected by type and date coin collectors. For type collectors, one would need to obtain each of the Shield Nickel with and without no rays. As for collecting it by date, it proves to be a much more a challenging task.

One can buy PCGS-graded Shield Nickels starting at $13.00 up to $53,000.00 for regular strikes and $1,100-$75,000.00.

References:

PCGS, PCGS CoinFacts, NGC Coin, Coin Study, My Coin Guides

 

The Buffalo Nickel

Buffalo Five Cents or Buffalo Nickels as they are commonly called, was designed by James Earle Frasier. It appeared and were minted in the year 1913-1938 at the US Mints located in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver. To this date, it remains to be a beloved and one of the most popular coins among collectors even after almost a century of being released to the public.

The Buffalo Nickel’s History

The Liberty Head Nickel has been in circulation ever since it was struck in 1883. However, since a new design is permitted every 25 years thanks to the Coinage Act of 1890, the production of the Liberty Head Nickel was stopped in the year 1912. It was under the jurisdiction of Franklin MacVeagh, the current Secretary of US Treasury at that time, who made the production of the Liberty Nickel’s replacement a possibility.

James Earl Fraser, a well-known artist and a former assistant of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is the head behind the monumental design of the Buffalo Nickel. These were made from 75% Copper and 25% Nickel. It has a diameter of 21.2mm, weighs approximately 5.00g and has a plain edge.

The Obverse

1935_Indian_Head_Buffalo_Nickel.jpg: Original uploader was Bobby131313 at en.wikipedia derivative work: Wehwalt (talk), Indian Head Buffalo Obverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Obverse features a male Native American which was a composite of the Native American Chiefs facing right. The three chiefs were John Big Tree, Two Moons and Custer’s opponent at the Little Big Horn, Iron Tail. The legends LIBERTY can be seen on the upper right edge of the bust while the date is located on the lower left.

The Reverse

1935_Indian_Head_Buffalo_Nickel.jpg: Original uploader was Bobby131313 at en.wikipedia derivative work: Wehwalt (talk), Indian Head Buffalo Reverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

On the other side of the coin, a portrait of an American Bison or buffalo facing left is featured as well as the legends the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM above the bison and the words Five Cents below it.

Charles Barber, the current Chief Engraver of the US Mint during the time the old Liberty Head Nickel was replaced, made objections to Fraser’s design. Barber claimed that the elements of the design were too big causing improper placement of the inscriptions. However, because of Fraser’s medallic and artistic design, it was no wonder why it was favored by MacVeagh and was chosen for the new Five Cent coin.

Another controversy struck the making of the Buffalo Nickel after the US Mint received the machines that will be used for the production of the new nickels and cents. Mr. Hobbs, the owner of the Hobbs Manufacturing Company that provided pieces of machinery that were able to detect counterfeit coins, argued about Fraser’s design. He claims that the machines would not work efficiently with the proposed design, which is why a revision was in order. After a long and complicated dispute, MacVeagh ordered the US Mint to proceed with Fraser’s original design, letting the mechanisms of the machine make the necessary adaptations.

From the time the Buffalo Nickel was minted in 1913 up until 1938, over 1.2 billion were produced. However, none were minted in 1922, 1932 and 1933. In the year 1913-1916, there were 5,967 Buffalo Nickel Matte Proofs produced. In 1936 to 1937, there were 10,189 Buffalo Nickel Brilliant proofs minted.

Since the striking of the Buffalo Nickel has always been a problem ever since the beginning of the production, a large number with mintmarks were not available in well-struck conditions from 1918-1934. It was also because of this persisting issue that many matte proofs were mistakenly identified as well-struck business strikes, and vice versa.

Each coin was minted in the three US Mints bearing their respective mint marks. Those minted in Philadelphia bears no mint mark, D for coins minted at the Denver Mint and S for those produced in the San Francisco Mint. Each mintmark can be found on the reverse side of the coin under the denomination. Fraser’s initial (F) was also incorporated in the design and can be seen on the obverse side of the coin, just below the date.

The Buffalo Nickel has two varieties – the Type 1 and Type 2. However, minor modifications were again made by Barber. Some collectors consider this as another variety, but most only consider the first two. Strangely enough, Barber made no attempts to address the underlying issue of why the dates on the coins wore down too quickly.

The Buffalo Nickel was born in the age where nickels were an extremely useful coin. As a result of their heavy circulation in the public, one may be lucky enough to come across one in very fine to extremely fine conditions many years after being produced.

24 years after the Buffalo Nickel, a new design started to come around as per the Coinage Act of 1890 and a new nickel was born. The Jefferson Nickel replaced the Buffalo Nickel and has continued its production and circulation up until today.

Collecting Buffalo Nickel

Although Buffalo Nickel has a lower value than other coins, these are still a popular and a sought-after coin among collectors because of their affordability and ease of acquisition. However, since a complete set will require you to collect a 25-year set, it can be tricky, not to mention the fact that some have worn out dates making them hard to identify. When you plan on collecting Buffalo Nickels or any other coins, it is important to check the coins’ key dates, grades, variety, and rarity.

Key Dates

A key date is one that depicts the date or date and mint mark in a coin series that is harder to obtain. For Buffalo Nickels, the key-date are categorized into two: regular issue key dates and the unplanned or error irregularities.

Regular Issue Key dates are coins with dates and produced in mints that have low mintage rate. These have high values nowadays and includes Buffalo Nickels with key dates 1913-S Type Two, 1921-S, 1924-S as well as 1926-S.

With just one look, one can easily tell that these were all minted in the US Mint located at San Francisco since all coins produced here bears the mint mark S. The San Francisco Mint produced far less Buffalo Nickels than Denver and Philadelphia. Multiple numbers of Buffalo Nickels minted have weak strikes since Nickel is a very hard metal.

Unplanned or Error Irregularities are key dates that were among the greatest rarities. Since no one planned the errors made due to irregularities in the minting process, the die used or both, there is no exact number as to how many unplanned key dates are there. The following are the most sought after irregularities for the Buffalo Nickel:

  • 1916 Double Die
  • 1918/17 D Overdate
  • 1937-D 3-Legged Variety
  • 1936-D 3 ½-legged variety

Grading Buffalo Nickels

Buffalo Nickels are usually graded by checking on the wear of the reverse side of the coin. However, since these were struck in Nickel which is a very hard metal, most coins struck from the 1910s to 1920s in the Denver and San Francisco Mints with mint marks D and S respectively were poorly struck.

FR-AG (Fair and About Good) – The rim is worn on the tops of the lettering and the date cannot be seen accurately and there are only one or two numbers showing.

G-VG (Good to Very Good) – The horn’s base can be seen, and the date and lettering are worn. However, the date is still visible and the letterings are clear.

F-VF (Fine to Very Good) – Most parts of the horn are visible, but although the tip may or may not be visible.

EF-AH (Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated) – One can see the full horn tip.

The Two Varieties of the Buffalo Nickel

In early 1913 when the first Buffalo Nickels were produced and made available to the public, the buffalo stands on a raised mound and its denomination (Five Cents) appeared to be in raised letter. Because of this, the denomination wore off very fast much to the US Mint’s distaste.

In order to resolve this, they had to modify the design to protect the denomination later that spring. They made the buffalo stand on a flat plane while the denomination is now in a recessed area. The denomination no longer wears prematurely. However, since the date on the other side of the coin was still minted with raised letters, this resulted in countless of dateless Buffalo Nickels by 1950s through early 1960s.

Buffalo Nickels were minted in Mint and Proof States. Mint state coins were made mainly for collectors and are not meant to be used for commerce. Circulated coins were meant for circulation or public use, also known as Business Strikes or Regular Strikes. On the other hand, Proof Coins are those minted for collectors and generally go for higher prices.

Type 1 Buffalo Nickel Coins according to the PCGS Coin Facts

1913 5C Type 1 Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 30,992,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1913-D 5C Type 1 Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 5,337,000 at the Denver Mint

1913-S 5C Type 1 Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 2,105,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1913 5C Type 1 (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 1,520 at the Philadelphia Mint

Type 2 Buffalo Nickel Coins according to the PCGS Coin Facts

1913 5C Type 2 Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 29,856,186 at the Philadelphia Mint

1913-D 5C Type 2 Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 4,156,000 at the Denver Mint

1913-S 5C Type 2 Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 1,209,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1914 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 20,664,463 at the Philadelphia Mint

1914/(3) 5C Buffalo Nickel  total number of coins minted: 20,664,463 at the Philadelphia Mint

1914-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 3,912,000 at the Denver Mint

1914-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 3,470,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1915 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 20,986,220 at the Philadelphia Mint

1915-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,569,000 at the Denver Mint

1915-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 1,505,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1916 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 63,498,066 at the Philadelphia Mint

1916 5C Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 63,498,066 at the Philadelphia Mint

1916-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 13,333,000 at the Denver Mint

1916-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 11,860,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1917 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 51,424,019 at the Philadelphia Mint

1917-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 9,910,000 at the Denver Mint

1917-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 4,193,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1918 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 32,086,314 at the Philadelphia Mint

1918-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 8,362,000 at the Denver Mint

1918/7-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 8,362,000 at the Denver Mint

1918-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 4,882,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1919 5C Buffalo Nickel- total number of coins minted: 60,868,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1919-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 8,006,000 at the Denver Mint

1919-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,521,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1920 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 63,093,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1920-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 9,418,000 at the Denver Mint

1920-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 9,689,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1921 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 10,663,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1921-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 1,557,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1923 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 35,715,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1923-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 6,142,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1924 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 21,620,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1924-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 5,258,000 at the Denver Mint

1924-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 1,437,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1925 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 35,565,100 at the Philadelphia Mint

1925-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 4,450,000 at the Denver Mint

1925-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 6,256,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1926 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 44,693,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1926-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 5,638,000 at the Denver Mint

1926-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 970,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1927 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 37,981,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1927-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 5,730,000 at the Denver Mint

1927-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 3,430,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1928 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 23,411,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1928-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 6,436,000 at the Denver Mint

1928-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 6,936,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1929 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 36,446,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1929-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 8,370,000 at the Denver Mint

1929-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,754,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1930 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 22,849,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1930-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 5,435,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1931-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 1,200,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1934 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 20,213,003 at the Philadelphia Mint

1934-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,480,000 at the Denver Mint

1935 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 58,264,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1935 5C Doubled Die Reverse Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 58,264,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1935-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 12,092,000 at the Denver Mint

1935-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 10,300,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1936 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 118,997,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1936-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 24,814,000 at the Denver Mint

1936-D 5C 3-1/2 Legs Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 24,814,000 at the Denver Mint

1936-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 14,930,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1937 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 79,480,000 at the Philadelphia Mint

1937-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 17,826,000 at the Denver Mint

1937-D 5C 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 17,826,000 at the Denver Mint

1937-S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 5,635,000 at the San Francisco Mint

1938-D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,020,000 at the Denver Mint

1938-D/S 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,020,000 at the Denver Mint

1938-D/D 5C Buffalo Nickel – total number of coins minted: 7,020,000 at the Denver Mint

1913 5C Type 2 (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 1,514 at the Philadelphia Mint

1914 5C (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 1,275 at the Philadelphia Mint

1915 5C (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 1,050 at the Philadelphia Mint

1916 5C (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 600 at the Philadelphia Mint

1936 5C Satin (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 4,420 at the Philadelphia Mint

1936 5C Brilliant (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 4,420 at the Philadelphia Mint

1937 5C (Proof) – total number of coins minted: 5,769 at the Philadelphia Mint

1927 5C Special Strike (Special Strike) – total number of coins minted: 5 at the Philadelphia Mint

The Rarity of the Buffalo Nickel

The rarity of a Buffalo Nickel will depend on the date of the series. Regular issues are considered common, while the remaining issues are considered rare.

The following are the several valuable varieties of the Buffalo Nickel

1913-S Type 2

After the first design of the Buffalo Nickel came out, the US Mint had to make some adjustments to help delay the premature wearing of the denomination. All three mints in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco produced the varieties, but those with the mint mark S is the rarest variety.

1916/16 Doubled Die Variety

This die variety is the most in-demand among the Buffalo Nickel varieties. A mistake in the production of the Buffalo Nickel happened in 1916 when a doubling appeared on the obverse side of the coin. The last three digits of the date have duplicate digits that appear a little to the right and lower than the clearer 1916. This is considered very rare when in uncirculated conditions, and very valuable in circulated grades.

1918-D 8 over 7 Doubled Die Variety

The US Mint located in Denver also yielded a doubling mistake in the year 1918 and many numismatics believed that over a hundred thousand were produced. The 1916/16 Doubled Die Variety is far more pronounced than the 1918-D 8 over 7 Doubled Die Variety, but latter still features a very obvious doubling on the last digit of the date which is 8. A number 7 can be clearly seen under the 8. Uncirculated 1918-D 8 over 7 Doubled Die Variety are considered extremely rare.

1921-S

In 1921, Buffalo Nickels were minted at the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints, but since Philadelphia produced over ten million coins and San Francisco Mint only has a mintage rate of 1,500,000 coins, those that bear the mint mark S is rarer. Circulated Buffalo Nickels are not that hard to find, but you will have to pay a premium price for them, nonetheless.

1924-S

These are more affordable than the 1921-S. Philadelphia and San Francisco minted Buffalo Nickels in 1924, with Philadelphia having a far less high mintage rate.  San Francisco only produced more than 5 million coins while Philadelphia struck more than 21 million Buffalo coins. Thanks to the 14:1 ratio, the 1924-S makes it a scarce variety in all grades.

1926-S

The San Francisco Mint only produced more than 970,000 Buffalo Nickel coins while Philadelphia struck almost 6 million Buffalo coins, making the 1926-S a scarce coin.

1935 Doubled Die Reverse

When the coin die was manufactured for the Buffalo Nickel at the US Mint in Philadelphia, these produced a double die variety. A doubling occurred on the legend E PLURIBUS UNUM and the denomination FIVE CENTS. Another doubling occurred on the buffalo’s eye, mane and horn.

1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo

In 1937, there was a damaged reverse die that resulted in a die clash found on the buffalo’s front right leg. A production worker made attempts to repair the mistake but it obviously turned out worse. When he removed the indentation found on the die using a tool, way too much metal was removed and one of the buffalo’s front leg was lost – resulting to a three-legged buffalo. When collecting a 1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo, make sure to purchase only from certified dealers as many have tried to remove the buffalo’s front leg on some 1937-Ds with four legs.

Buffalo Nickel Price Guide

When it comes to Buffalo Nickels, you can buy a common variety in the lowest grades for as low as $1. The condition, variety, and rarity of the coin will determine its price value. According to the PCGS, the most expensive Buffalo Nickel they have graded is at $500,000 for the 1918/7-D.

References:

PCGS, PCGS CoinFacts,US MintCoin Trackers, The Spruce

Featured Image Source: Photo taken by user bobby131313 and may be used freely with following credit. Image courtesy of CCF Numismatics, 1936-Buffalo-Nickel, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0