Coin Specifications

Category: Buffalo Five Cents (1913-1938)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,557,000
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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1921 S 5C MS obverse 1921 S 5C MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Only 1-1/2 million nickels were coined at the San Francisco Mint early in 1921 before the demand for additional pieces dried up completely until late 1923. This issue is scarce across all grades, and Mint State pieces are genuinely rare. Gems are very rare.

The obverse master die for 1921 was sharpened with hand engraving, resulting in a crisper rendition of the date and designer's initial. Of course, this was of little value when the working dies were permitted to wear down and become blurry. This is more of a problem with the reverse dies, as these could be carried into 1921's coinage from earlier years. Most were not removed from the press until they failed altogether. It's thus not unusual to find a 1921 S nickel that has a sharp obverse and a mushy reverse.

Like most early dates in the Buffalo Nickel series, this issue may be found in a "two-feathers" die state. Clashing and repolishing of the dies often removed the shallow feather adjacent to the Indian's neck, and this feature is barely visible on the coin illustrated. Since this is not a true variety, NGC does not recognize "two-feathers" coins.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 4/3/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1921 S 5C MS
Base $ 60.00 110 175 375 850 850 1175 1300 1425 1550 1675 1775 2000 2600 3900 8750 22500 - - - -
$ 940 1250 1375 1500 1675 1775 1875 2200 3800 5875 12000 40000 - -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 1073
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/15/2003 PCGS VF 20   Goldberg September 15-17, 2003 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 21/Lot# 194 $632.50
2/28/2005 NGC AU 50   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #30, 34/Lot# 200 $831.60
5/4/2005 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Auction #372, 372/Lot# 6154 $6,325.00
11/6/2011 PCGS MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/06/2011, 143/Lot# 19176 $7,428.30
2/28/2012 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers The March 2012 Baltimore Auction, 135/Lot# 1885 $4,140.00
8/28/2012 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Teletrade Auction 3337, 3337/Lot# 1039 $118.00
1/30/2015 PCGS VF 35   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3519, 6088/Lot# 21039 $364.25

NGC Registry

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