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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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.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/24/2016

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

Base $ 5.75 7.50 10.50 13.50 21.00 33.00 34.00 36.00 42.00 55.00 60.00 67.00 85.00 130 150 250 875 11750 - -
$ - - - - - - - - 105 140 175 350 7650 -

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Total Graded: 2142
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/20/2004 PCGS MS 65   Teletrade Auction 1938, 1938/Lot# 1169 $154.00
5/30/2005 NGC MS 67   Goldberg May 30 - June 16, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 31/Lot# 140 $1,840.00
9/1/2009 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction #29092, 29092/Lot# 22073 $116.15
12/8/2011 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2011 December 8-11 US Coins Signature Auction- New York Session(4), 1162/Lot# 7704 $172.50
1/5/2014 NGC MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/05/2014, 176/Lot# 148982 $110.00
6/3/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 3728 $146.88
8/10/2014 PCGS MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 816, 825/Lot# 28 $210.00
12/20/2015 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131552/Lot# 29392 $159.80
8/10/2016 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2016 August 10 - 14 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Anaheim Session(6), 1238/Lot# 7403 $517.00

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