From the NGC Archives: 1913 Proof Indian Head Buffalo Nickel Type 1

Posted on 1/17/2012

Sculptor James Earle Fraser (1876-1953) executed this most American of United States coins.

His bold models, considered radical and impractical by Chief Engraver Charles Barber, resulted in a coin of outstanding character and beauty.

The Philadelphia Mint reportedly struck 1,520 proof examples of this first type of Indian Head/Buffalo Nickel. The number surviving is somewhat less, and very few of these are high-grade pieces. In fact, most Type 1 proofs are quite disappointing in quality, evidently as made. In contrast, this superb gem is everything that a collector could desire. Its strike is absolutely complete in every fine detail. Though commonly described as a matte proof, this specimen is quite satiny and bright. Its surfaces are entirely free of marks.

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