Coin Specifications

Category: Buffalo Five Cents (1913-1938)
Mint: Denver
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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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.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/2/2019

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

1938 D/S BUFFALO 5C MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 5.50 9.00 12.00 15.00 21.00 31.00 37.00 39.00 41.00 55.00 60.00 65.00 72.00 130 160 260 750 8000 - -
$ - - - - - - - - 90.00 145 170 300 4700 -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 2305
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68

The chart showing 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, 67 series, 68 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 7/16/2019 1938 D/S BUFFALO 5C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base---3323-1716--143821885610321039--2305
-----------------4451--50
----------------3818---29
-----------------------
Total---3323-1716--1438218859104416610--2384
 ---0 %0 %0 %0 %-0 %0 %1 %--1 %2 %9 %36 %44 %7 %0 %-- 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
8/24/2008 PCGS MS 66   Teletrade Auction 2575, 2575/Lot# 1133 $184.00
5/29/2011 PCGS MS 66   Goldberg May 29 - June 1, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction of US, World Coins and Currency, 63/Lot# 194 $161.00
10/23/2011 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131144/Lot# 21167 $115.00
8/2/2012 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia Session(5), 1173/Lot# 7623 $164.50
12/29/2013 PCGS MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 784, 793/Lot# 44 $300.00
2/9/2014 PCGS MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/09/2014, 171/Lot# 169626 $172.92
8/18/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers 2015 Chicago ANA, 6104/Lot# 42294 $99.88


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