What is my Buffalo Indian Head Nickel Worth
One of the most frequent questions
I receive is how much is my Buffalo Nickel worth.
The answer will depend on
several factors, such as the actual date, mint mark and
condition of the coin, perceived survival rate and original
As explained in this
Why Are Some Coins Worth More Than Others, the value of
a coin is NOT determined by the age of a coin.
Many people believe that
because something is old, it could and should be quite
valuable. With coins, that is usually not the case.
When pricing out Buffalo Nickels, I usually break them
down into 3 categories.
No Date Coins
These coins have had the date
completely worn off.
These coins typically have no numismatic value,
which means they have no value over face value, or 5 cents.
One of the flaws of this coin design was that
the date was raised on the coin, which made it subject to easy wear.
There is a market for bulk quantities of these
coins, but even then, they only sell for 6 or 7 cents per coin.
There are literally millions of these coins in
the hands of collectors.
These coins look like this
Partial Date Coins
These are coins that have only a
partial date, usually the last two digits so you can still determine actual
These coins are usually from the teens and 1920ís.
Most 1930 and newer coins still have the full
These coins, unless one happens to be a rare coin also
do not have much value.
Typically 15 cents or so per coin.
From a collectors perspective, would you rather
have an example of a coin that is not worn and looks new or a coin that is all
Of course you would want the nicer coin.
Because coins were made to circulate, nicer
examples are scarcer thus you have to pay a higher price for them. Here is
an example of a partial date coin. The "19" is mostly worn.
Full Date Coins Late 1920's and 1930's
When pricing Buffalo Nickel full
date coins, I break this down into a few sub categories.
The first is an easy one.
All full date coins from the 1930ís and late
1920ís are worth about 35 cents per coin.
Donít believe it?
Go to ebay and you can buy a roll of these (40
coins) for $20 or so. Unlike the teens and 1920's, Buffalo Nickel mintages
really picked up, so there are many more examples of these dates.
Other Full Date Buffalo Nickels
No date, partial date and coins
from the late 1920's and from the 1930's covers about 99% of what most people
have in their collections.
The Buffalo Nickel series does have some coins
that can be worth well over $100 in circulated condition. Of course, these coins
are rare, thus the reason they are worth more.
A couple examples of these are the 1913 S Type
II coin in Very Fine condition.
Most of these coins went on to circulate for
years so examples in decent shape are hard to come by.
The coin below never circulated and was graded by PCGS, a
professional coin grading service. This coin is worth well over $100
These are examples of nicer coins. There are many
full date coins in the teens and early 1920's that are worth maybe a
dollar or more. It just depends.
Basically, the way I price coins
that did not fit in the 99% batch is I need the date, mint mark and graded
description of the coin to make an estimate.
You may ask, why not just quote a price here.
Well, it is not that simple, there are
potentially dozens of variations between date, mint mark and condition and the
market can change on a daily basis.
There are a couple of other
pricing situations that you should also be aware of.
Any coin with a restored date (simply google
"restored buffalo nickels") or that is otherwise cleaned is basically worthless
to most collectors and therefore have no value other than face value.
If you have coins of any kind and are looking
to sell them, please do NOT clean them.
It will reduce their value.
you have any Buffalo Nickels, let us know and we will make you an