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: 5.0000g
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 2300 2500 3350 5500 9500 36000 67250 130000 - - -
$ - - - - 2000 - - 3650 6500 12500 46000 - - -

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Total Graded: 6503
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/4/2016   Stack's Bowers November 2016 Baltimore, 6151/Lot# 4066
11/9/2016 AU 50   Stack's Bowers November 2016 Baltimore, 6151/Lot# 6572

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/25/1998 NGC VG 10   Teletrade Auction 1052, 1052/Lot# 1216 $185.30
9/9/2004 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2004 September Long Beach Signature Sale #355, 355/Lot# 6012 $948.75
4/9/2007 NGC VF 35   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 134, 139/Lot# 140 $1,086.75
12/13/2012 PCGS AU 55   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 20086/Lot# 1083 $1,170.00
2/3/2013 PCGS AU 53   Goldberg February 3-6, 2013 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 72/Lot# 1233 $1,035.00
4/14/2013 NGC AU 50   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131317/Lot# 26098 $869.50
11/1/2013 PCGS XF 40   Heritage Auctions 2013 November 1 - 3 US Coin Signature Auction - New York Session(1), 1191/Lot# 3245 $881.25
6/30/2014 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3488, 6037/Lot# 20142 $837.78
9/7/2014 PCGS VF 30   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/07/2014, 191/Lot# 217533 $38.00
4/27/2016 NGC MS 60   Heritage Auctions 2016 April 27 - May 1 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(2), 1234/Lot# 4027 $2,585.00

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
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