Coin Specifications

Category: Buffalo Five Cents (1913-1938)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,557,000
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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1921 S 5C MS obverse 1921 S 5C MS reverse
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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.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/27/2019

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

1921 S 5C MS
Base $ 105 140 245 460 1000 1250 1380 1500 1850 2000 2000 2200 2875 4250 10500 22400 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - 2350 3200 5350 12000 - - -

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Total Graded: 1421
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 40
High Grade: 66

The chart showing PrAg series, G series, VG series, F series, VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 1/21/2020 1921 S 5C MS
 0 %3 %13 %23 %29 %4 %4 %1 %1 %1 %2 %-0 %1 %2 %10 %3 %0 %---- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1921 S 5C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: VF 20
Points: 949
Owner: The Wilson Collection
Grade: F 15
Points: 563
Owner: david3142
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