VarietyPlus » Buffalo Nickels (1913-1938)

Buffalo Nickels (1913-1938)

One of the most beloved of United States coin designs, James E. Fraser’s Indian Head/Buffalo Nickel was nearly abandoned at the outset due to protests from the vending industry that its bold design would not activate their machines properly. These concerns proved unfounded, though the coin did have some technical flaws. The value FIVE CENTS had to be set within an exergue midway through the first year’s production to protect it from wear. Sadly, the same was not done for the date, and countless pieces were rendered unidentifiable after just a couple decades in circulation.

This is among the most popular of series with date and mint collectors, as there are no rare issues to prevent its completion. Scarce coins include nearly all mintmarked examples before 1916, most prominently 1913-S Type 2 and 1914-D. Still others are condition rarities, readily available in worn condition but quite scarce uncirculated and with sharp impressions.

This series has a number of very dramatic varieties, the most desirable being the 1916 doubled-die obverse, the 1918/7-D overdate and the 1937-D three-legged bison. Numerous minor varieties are known, too, and these receive more attention than they would merit in series that are less popular than the Buffalo Nickel.

NGC will attribute Buffalo Nickel varieties listed in VarietyPlus. Others may be found within the books listed below.

Denom.MS/PFDateFee*NGC LabelVarietyPlusCONECAFivaz-Stanton (NEW)Fivaz-Stanton (OLD)
5CMS1913 TYPE 1-     
5CMS1913 D TYPE 1-     
5CMS1913 S TYPE 1-     
5CMS1913 TYPE 2-     
5CMS1913 DDO TYPE 2$15FS-1101  DDO-001 FS-014.8
5CMS1913 DDR TYPE 2$15FS-1801  DDR-001 FS-014.86
5CMS1913 DDR TYPE 2$15FS-1802  DDR-002  
5CMS1913 D TYPE 2-     
5CMS1913 S TYPE 2-     
5CMS1914 S/S$15VP-001  RPM-001  
5CMS1915 DDO$15FS-101 VP-001DDO-001 FS-014.9
5CMS1915 D/D$15FS-501 VP-001RPM-001 FS-015
5CMS1915 S/S/S$15FS-501  RPM-001 FS-015.5
5CMS1915 S/S/S$15FS-502  RPM-002 FS-015.6
5CMS1916 DOUBLED DIE OBV- VP-001DDO-001FS-101FS-016
5CMS1916 2 FEATHERS$15   FS-402 
5CMS1917 DDR$15FS-801 VP-001DDR-001 FS-016.4
5CMS1917 D 3-1/2 LEGS$15   FS-901 
5CMS1918 DDR$15FS-801 VP-001DDR-001 FS-016.45
5CMS1918/7 D- VP-001DDO-001FS-101FS-016.5
5CMS1919 DDO$15VP-001  DDO-002  
5CMS1920 D/D-FS-502  RPM-001  
5CMS1921 2 FEATHERS$15   FS-401 
5CMS1925 S/S$15FS-501 VP-001RPM-001 FS-016.64
5CMS1926 DDO & DDR$15FS-101/801  DDO-002 & DDR-002  
5CMS1927 D/D/D$15FS-501 VP-001RPM-001 FS-016.7
5CMS1927 S DDO$15FS-101  DDO-001  
5CMS1929 DDO-FS-101     
5CMS1929 S/S/S$15VP-001  RPM-002  
5CMS1930 DDO$15FS-101 VP-001DDO-001 FS-017
5CMS1930 DDO$15FS-102 VP-003DDO-004  
5CMS1930 DDO$15FS-103 VP-004DDO-006  
5CMS1930 DDR$15FS-801  DDR-001 FS-017.5
5CMS1930 DDR$15FS-802 VP-002DDR-002 FS-017.3
5CMS1930 S DDO$15FS-101  DDO-001  
5CMS1930 S/S$15FS-501 VP-001RPM-002 FS-017.71
5CMS1930 S/S$15VP-002  RPM-005  
5CMS1930 S/S$15VP-003  RPM-001  
5CMS1931 S DDR$15FS-801  DDR-002  
5CMS1931 S TDR$15FS-802  DDR-003  
5CMS1931 S/S$15VP-001  RPM-001  
5CMS1934 D SMALL D$15     
5CMS1934 D LARGE D$15     
5CMS1935 DDR$15FS-801 VP-001DDR-001 FS-018
5CMS1935 DDR$15FS-803  DDR-003 FS-018.1
5CMS1935 D/D/D/D$15FS-502 VP-001RPM-002 FS-018.5
5CMS1935 D/D/D$15VP-002  RPM-003  
5CMS1935 S/S$15VP-002  RPM-002  
5CMS1935 S/S/S$15VP-003  RPM-001  
5CMS1935 S DDR$15FS-801 VP-001DDR-001 FS-018.6
5CMS1936 DDO$15FS-101  DDO-001 FS-018.7
5CMS1936 DDR$15FS-801     
5CMS1936 D 3-1/2 LEGS$15   FS-901FS-019
5CMS1936 D/D$15FS-502 VP-001RPM-002 FS-019.5
5CMS1936 D/D$15VP-002  RPM-003  
5CMS1936 D/D$15VP-003  RPM-001  
5CMS1936 S/S$15FS-501 VP-001RPM-001 FS-020
5CMS1936 S/S$15VP-002  RPM-002  
5CMS1937 D/D$15VP-002  RPM-001  
5CMS1937 D/D$15VP-003  RPM-002  
5CMS1937 D/D$15VP-004  RPM-008  
5CMS1937 D 3 LEGS- VP-001 FS-901FS-020.2
5CMS1937 S/S$15VP-001  RPM-002  
5CMS1938 D BUFFALO-     
5CMS1938 D/D BUFFALO-     
5CMS1938 D/D BUFFALO$15FS-501 VP-007RPM-001  
5CMS1938 D/D BUFFALO$15FS-502 VP-005RPM-002  
5CMS1938 D/D BUFFALO$15FS-503 VP-006RPM-003  
5CMS1938 D/D BUFFALO$15FS-504 VP-008RPM-004  
5CMS1938 D/S BUFFALO-     
5CMS1938 D/D/D/S BUFFALO$15FS-511 VP-001OMM-001 FS-020.5
5CMS1938 D/S BUFFALO$15FS-511 LDS     
5CMS1938 D/S BUFFALO$15FS-512  OMM-002  
5CMS1938 D/S BUFFALO$15FS-513  OMM-003  
5CPF1913 TYPE 1-     
5CPF1913 TYPE 2-     
5CPF1936 SATIN-     
5CPF1936 BRILLIANT-     

* In order to have the above varieties requiring the $15 fee designated by NGC, VarietyPlus service must be requested at time of grading. VarietyPlus service is also available for coins already encapsulated by NGC. For coins where the fee column is blank, no VarietyPlus charge is required to have your coin designated during grading. For coins marked $15, a $15 surcharge applies to the tier fee during grading, or a $15 fee applies to have the VarietyPlus designation added to any coin already graded and encapsulated by NGC.
Fivaz, Bill & J.T. Stanton. The Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties, 5th Edition, Volume 1. Whitman Publishing, Atlanta, 2009
Lange, David W. The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels, 3rd Edition. DLRC Press, Virginia Beach, 2006
Wexler, John A., Ron Pope & Kevin Flynn. Treasure Hunting Buffalo Nickels. Stanton Publishing, Savannah, GA, 1999