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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1938 D/S BUFFALO 5C MS obverse 1938 D/S BUFFALO 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

First revealed in 1961, the 1938 D/S nickel was thought to be rare until collectors began searching for this variety. Only then did it become evident that thousands had survived, many in Mint State. This was due to the overall hoarding of 1938 D Buffalo Nickels that made searching for the variety so easy.

There were actually several reverse dies marked for San Francisco which were overpunched with a D mintmark when it became evident that only Denver would coin Buffalo Nickels in 1938. The most obvious examples will be certified generically as D/S under regular grading tiers when requested on the submission form. Identification of specific varieties by number requires that the submitter request and pay for VarietyPlus Service.

Like the 1938 D/D varieties, these are actually not rare when spread across several dies. The most desirable variety is FS-511 (photos). It is seen on the left in an early die state (EDS) with three D mintmarks punched over the S. Shown at right is the late die state (LDS) in which only the deepest D still remains, due to the die erosion evidenced by heavy flow lines.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/10/2015

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

Base $ 5.75 7.50 10.50 13.50 21.00 33.00 34.00 36.00 42.00 60.00 67.00 85.00 130 150 250 875 11000 - -
$ - - - - - - - 105 140 175 350 7650 -

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: 2049
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/27/2001 NGC MS 66   Teletrade Auction 1453, 1453/Lot# 1147 $218.00
2/24/2003 NGC MS 66   Goldberg February 24-25, 2003 Coin Auction, 17/Lot# 264 $242.00
4/17/2008 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 239, 245/Lot# 8283 $184.00
10/22/2009 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2009 October Signature US Coin Auction #1130, 1130/Lot# 7403 $805.00
12/22/2013 NGC MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/22/2013, 106/Lot# 148982 $100.00
6/3/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 3729 $146.88
8/10/2014 PCGS MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 816, 825/Lot# 28 $210.00

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