Description and Analysis

Buffalo Five Cents
1929 S 5C MS

Description & Analysis

This is the most common San Francisco Mint nickel of the 1920s across all grades, and this is explained only in part by the slightly higher than usual mintage. A bigger factor was the onset of the Great Depression, which slowed economic activity to the point at which thousands of coins remained idle in Treasury or bank vaults for the next several years. The 1929 S nickel was among the many issues that remained available in Mint State when business began to pick up in 1934-35. Dealers always seemed to have Mint State 1929 S nickels in stock during the late 1930s, while other S-Mint nickels of the 1920s were scarce.

Despite a plentiful supply of unworn examples, gems of this issue are still a bit elusive. Most 1929 S nickels have good luster but weak to average strikes. As always, a handful of exceptional pieces survive that combine great luster with sharp strikes, and these will bring premium prices.

This issue was widely hoarded from circulation beginning in the late 1930s, at which time pieces could still be found in grades XF and AU. Such coins remain plentiful today.

Several repunched mintmark varieties are known for 1929 S nickels, but only a couple of them are of interest. A minor doubled-die obverse variety is also found for this issue.