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: 7/10/2015

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 60.00 67.00 85.00 130 150 250 875 11000 - -
$ - - - - - - - 105 140 175 350 7650 -

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Total Graded: 2095
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
9/15/2003 NGC MS 66   Goldberg September 15-17, 2003 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 21/Lot# 208 $403.00
9/9/2007 PCGS MS 66   Teletrade Auction 2419, 2419/Lot# 1168 $212.80
9/27/2007 NGC MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2007 September Long Beach, CA Signature Coin Auction #446, 446/Lot# 793 $805.00
5/6/2012 PCGS MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/06/2012, 21/Lot# 50751 $247.50
7/10/2012 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money Auction - US and World Lots - Internet Only Sessions, 174/Lot# 13091 $113.98
9/22/2013 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131340/Lot# 22646 $204.45
8/3/2014 PCGS MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 815, 824/Lot# 571 $125.00
7/20/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers July 2015 Baltimore Auction, 6105/Lot# 30855 $99.88
8/18/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers 2015 Chicago ANA, 6104/Lot# 42294 $99.88

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