Coin Specifications

Category: Buffalo Five Cents (1913-1938)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 4,882,000
Obverse Designer: James Earle Fraser
Reverse Designer: James Earle Fraser
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 5.0000g
Diameter: 21.2mm
Edge: Plain
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1918 S 5C MS obverse 1918 S 5C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The 1918 S nickel had a rather modest mintage at a time when most production figures were quite high. Despite the hoarding of worn S-Mint coins from circulation that typified the coin hobby from the 1930s through the 1950s, this issue remains fairly scarce across all grades.

Mint State pieces do survive, but their quality is usually quite disappointing. Very weak strikes, whether from fresh or worn dies, are the norm. It appears that the San Francisco Mint increased the set distance between the dies to extend their useful life, so this issue never really had a chance.

The coin illustrated is typical of many Buffalo Nickels in that it reveals a mis-matched die pair. The obverse die is clearly quite worn, yet the reverse die was fresh, probably a replacement for one that became unusable through severe clashing or breaking. Such contradictions between obverse and reverse just add to the difficulty of grading Buffalo Nickels, particularly those in the higher circulated grades.

Gems of this date are exceedingly rare, while most Mint State coins will have less than satisfying luster.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 1/17/2017

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

1918 S 5C MS
Base $ 15.00 28.00 60.00 140 200 335 375 485 575 650 750 1375 2850 4750 18500 60000 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - 1650 - 7650 32500 - - -

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Total Graded: 663
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/12/1999 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 1999 February Long Beach Sale #197, 197/Lot# 5815 $2,300.00
6/26/2005 PCGS MS 64   Teletrade Auction 2057, 2057/Lot# 1087 $5,940.00
5/30/2012 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers The June 2012 Baltimore Auction, 137/Lot# 2432 $3,172.50
1/19/2014 PCGS G 4   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/19/2014, 185/Lot# 128919 $53.00
5/11/2014 PCGS MS 98   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 803, 812/Lot# 822 $48.00
9/22/2014 PCGS MS 65   Goldberg September 22-25, 2013 September Pre Long Beach, 75/Lot# 1326 $19,550.00
2/1/2015 PCGS VF 30   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131506/Lot# 23960 $111.63
5/31/2015 PCGS VF 35   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131523/Lot# 24199 $141.00

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