Coin Specifications

Category: Buffalo Five Cents (1913-1938)
Mint: Denver
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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1937 D 3 LEGS 5C MS obverse 1937 D 3 LEGS 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

Coin collecting seems to be among the few hobbies in which the poorest examples of quality control are celebrated, but this issue has been a hot-ticket item since it was first reported in 1939.

Not a true variety, as the missing leg feature was present in the die when new, it is more properly described as a late die state (LDS) striking. The technical term that has been adopted by variety specialists is Abraded Die Reverse (ADR).

Conventional wisdom has it that the removal of the bison's foreleg came about through overpolishing of the die to eradicate clash marks, but other evidence in both dies suggests otherwise. The heavy erosion lines visible in the hindmost leg and in the Indian's neck establishes that this die pair was severely worn at the time. A more likely scenario is that both dies were repolished to smooth their fields by removing the heavy furrows that form on overused dies.

The famed 3-legged nickel is not rare in worn condition, but pieces grading XF and higher are scarce in relation to the great demand. Mint State coins are very elusive, with gems being genuinely rare.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/9/2015

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

1937 D 3 LEGS 5C MS
Base $ 520 600 690 775 1000 1150 1250 1375 1700 2500 3350 5500 9500 36000 67250 130000 - - -
$ - - - - 2000 - 3650 6500 12500 46000 - - -

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: 6378
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
10/14/1996 NGC MS 62   Teletrade Auction 0884, 884/Lot# 1163 $1,350.00
7/4/2011 NGC MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 598, 605/Lot# 4304 $6,123.75
1/29/2012 PCGS AU 55   Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 2402 $1,035.00
2/2/2012 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2012 February 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach Session(2), 1167/Lot# 3964 $747.50
9/6/2012 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2012 September 6-9 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach Session(1), 1174/Lot# 3721 $1,270.18
12/13/2012 PCGS AU 55   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 20086/Lot# 1083 $1,170.00
6/29/2014 PCGS Genuine AU   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 173260 $721.00
6/3/2014 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 3725 $675.63
4/22/2015 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2015 April 22 - 26 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(7), 1219/Lot# 7466 $763.75

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1937 D 3 LEGS 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 63
Points: 3968
Owner: MarkPaul
Grade: MS 61
Points: 2807
Owner: johnoj
View the Registry Image Gallery

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