History of the Buffalo Nickel
The Buffalo nickel saw minor changes to the design in 1916. The word "LIBERTY" was given more emphasis and moved slightly; however many Denver and San Francisco issues of the 1920s exhibit weak striking of the word, the Denver issue of 1926 especially. The bison's horn and tail also posed striking problems, again with the Denver and San Francisco issues of the 1920s in general, and 1926-D in particular, showing the greatest propensity for these deficiencies.
The piece was struck by the tens of millions, at all three mints (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco), through the remainder of the 1910s. In 1921, a recession began, and no nickels at all were struck the following year.
A well-known variety in the series is the 1937–D "three-legged" nickel, on which one of the buffalo's legs is missing. This variety was caused by a pressman at the Denver Mint, who in seeking to remove marks from a reverse die (caused by the dies making contact with each other), accidentally removed or greatly weakened one of the animal's legs. By the time Mint inspectors discovered and condemned the die, thousands of pieces had been struck and mixed with other coins.
When the Buffalo nickel had been in circulation for the minimum 25 years, it was replaced with little discussion or protest. The problems of die life and weak striking had never been solved, and Mint officials advocated its replacement. In January 1938, the Mint announced an open competition for a new nickel design, to feature early President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse, and Jefferson's home, Monticello on the reverse. In April 1938, Felix Schlag was announced as the winner and on October 3, 1938, production of the Jefferson nickel began, and they were released into circulation on November 15.
More on the history of the Buffalo Nickel
Current Buffalo Nickel Values (courtesy of about.com)
This table will give you an estimate the value of your Indian Head Buffalo nickels. The table provides average coin values and prices based upon the condition of the coin. If the coin shows evidence of wear on it due to being used in commerce, it considered "circulated." If it was never used, then it is classified as "uncirculated."
Recent News on Buffalo Nickels (courtesy of coinweek.com)
Authoritative Reference Guide on Buffalo Nickels released
The Buffalo Nickel series is considered to be one of the most collectible issues struck by the US Mint. Its unique design lends to its charm and popularity: the portrait of a Native American chief on the obverse and an American Buffalo or bison on the reverse. With hundreds of images, this book was written to aid the collector and to provide an invaluable tool to identify all the different varieties in their collection... read more »
The 5 Cent Nickels- Buffalo Nickel Type 2 (1913-1938)
Buffalo, or Indian Head, nickels have been a popular series with collectors since the start of the type, abetted by the introduction of collecting boards in the 1930s. James Earle Fraser’s design for the coin included popular western themes represented by the native American on the obverse and the bison (more commonly known as a buffalo, though the two are distinct species) on the reverse. ... read more »
New Guide Book of Buffalo Nickels and Jefferson Nickels by David Bowers
Lavishly illustrated in full color, the Guide Book of Buffalo and Jefferson Nickels features high-resolution enlargements for important overdates and other varieties. These popular coins are given the famous Bowers treatment: insightful study, plenty of fascinating historical background, and good storytelling.... read more »
*FREE Pack of Intercept Shield Anti-Tarnish Strips is supplied with non-Intercept Coin Cases over $19