Coin Specifications

Category: Buffalo Five Cents (1913-1938)
Mint: Denver
Mintage: 7,020,000
Catalog: KM-134
Obverse Designer: James Earle Fraser
Reverse Designer: James Earle Fraser
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 5.00 Grams
Diameter: 21.2mm
Edge: Plain
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1938 D BUFFALO 5C MS obverse 1938 D BUFFALO 5C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The nation slipped back into recession during 1937-38 on its way to full recovery a few years later. This terminated the demand for new nickels from the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints, and only Denver struck Buffalo Nickels in this last year of issue. These, too, were evidently not needed at the time, as collectors beseeched the Treasury to obtain specimens, while banks continued to dispense fresh rolls of 1936- and 1937- dated nickels. When the 1938 D Buffalo Nickels did finally begin to be distributed, thousands of rolls were immediately put away by speculators, as it was by then known that this coin was the last of its line.

By far the most common Buffalo Nickel in Mint State condition, worn examples are actually more rare. This issue comes every which way, with both well struck and mushy coins surviving in equal numbers. The only constant is that 1938 D Buffalo Nickels were wonderfully lustrous as made. This has greatly boosted the certified population of high grade coins, though many of these are less than fully struck and should be avoided by the discriminating collector.

There are several repunched mintmark varieties, as well as a few overmintmarks, too. Due to the great availability of 1938 D Buffalo Nickels, these varieties have a strong following and are thus treated in separate entries following this one.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 4/3/2014

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1938 D BUFFALO 5C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 3.75 4.00 4.25 4.50 5.50 5.50 9.00 10.00 11.50 15.00 20.50 22.50 25.00 30.00 34.00 57.00 70.00 180 11500 - -
$ - - - - - - 24.00 28.00 33.00 38.00 62.00 85.00 1235 27350
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 30675
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
12/27/2000 NGC MS 67   Teletrade Auction 1389, 1389/Lot# 1114 $109.00
9/20/2004 NGC MS 67   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #12, 16/Lot# 116 $207.00
2/20/2005 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 1257 $3,120.00
9/30/2008 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions Tuesday Internet Coin Auction #28101, 28101/Lot# 21263 $42.00
1/3/2012 NGC MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando Session(9), 1166/Lot# 10213 $207.00
2/22/2013 NGC MS 66   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 6898 $57.58
5/12/2013 NGC MS 67   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/12/2013, 74/Lot# 114387 $14.55


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