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 NGC 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: 5/19/2015

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

1921 S 5C MS
Base $ 60.00 110 175 385 950 1200 1300 1425 1550 1850 2150 2600 4550 8750 25000 - - - -
$ 1025 - - - - - 2350 3800 5875 12750 - - -

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Total Graded: 1140
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/18/2001 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2001 November Santa Clara Bullet Sale #276, 276/Lot# 303 $1,121.25
11/6/2011 NGC Details VF Details  Teletrade Auction 3167, 3167/Lot# 1600 $150.00
2/22/2013 PCGS MS 65   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 1248 $6,756.25
1/26/2014 PCGS Genuine VF   Goldberg January 26-28, 2014 January Pre-Long Beach Sale 17.5% BP, 78/Lot# 1031 $42.30
5/4/2014 PCGS MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 802, 811/Lot# 48 $2,225.00
10/12/2014 PCGS VG 8   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/12/2014, 190/Lot# 225133 $1.00
10/12/2014 NGC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/12/2014, 190/Lot# 202474 $60.00
6/4/2015 NGC Details UNC Details  Heritage Auctions 2015 June 4 - 7 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(5), 1221/Lot# 7290 $969.38

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1921 S 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: XF 45
Points: 1649
Grade: VF 20
Points: 949
Owner: The Wilson Collection
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