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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VarietyPlus®

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.

GRADE SUMMARY

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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
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
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 - -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1062
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 66


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
4/28/1997 PCGS VF 25   Teletrade Auction 0940, 940/Lot# 1117 $283.40
5/28/2003 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2003 May Long Beach Signature Sale #324, 324/Lot# 5624 $2,875.00
2/11/2007 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg February 11-14, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 39/Lot# 1209 $1,552.50
3/22/2010 NGC VF 20   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 464, 470/Lot# 119 $224.25
8/26/2012 PCGS MS 64   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/26/2012, 37/Lot# 65586 $2,992.00
10/17/2012 PCGS   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 24350 $720.28
1/1/2013 PCGS MS 65   Stack's Bowers The January 2013 Americana Sale, 180/Lot# 13141 $8,812.50
2/3/2014 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2014 February 3 - 5 US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1202/Lot# 5057 $19,975.00
9/19/2014 NGC F 12   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3500, 6054/Lot# 22097 $76.38
10/10/2014 PCGS XF 45   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 14608 $675.63


NGC Registry

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