The 1913 Buffalo Nickel is a remarkable coin that has become a fascinating subject for coin collectors. This edition of the Buffalo Nickel is particularly unique to its six distinct varieties. The value of the 1913 Buffalo Nickel depends on various factors, including its type, rarity, mint location, and condition. In this article, we will take a closer look at the intriguing history of the 1913 Buffalo Nickel and explore the factors that determine its worth.
1913 Buffalo Nickel Details
The 1913 Buffalo Nickel is an exceptional coin that is highly notable in the world of numismatics. It has a total mintage of 73,656,186 and was produced in three different US Mints: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. It has a diameter of 21.2mm, weighs 5gr, with a plain edge. The coin’s composition is 75% copper and 25% nickel, making it a durable and long-lasting addition to any coin collection.
The buffalo nickel’s engraver, James Earle Fraser, is renowned for creating a design that embodies the American spirit. One of the interesting things about the 1913 buffalo nickel is that it was minted in two distinct varieties: Type 1 and type 11. The reason for this was that the Type 1 coin was launched in March 1913 and many people didn’t like the fact that the denomination “five cents” was not clearly displayed on the coin. To address this, the US Mint modified the design and released the Type 11 buffalo nickel later that same year.
The 1913 Buffalo nickel which is part of the Buffalo Five Cents which was minted from 1913 to 1938 features a Native American on its obverse and an American bison on its reverse. Collectors of the Buffalo Nickels value coins in superior condition, with the initial release being the most sought-after. Despite a lengthy minting period, the 5-cent coin’s first edition remains the favorite.
1913 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart
|1913 Type 1 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value
|1913 Type 1 – D Buffalo Nickel Value
|1913 Type 1 – S Buffalo Nickel Value
|1913 Type 2 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value
|1913 Type 2 – D Buffalo Nickel Value
|1913 Type 2 – S Buffalo Nickel Value
|1913 Matte Proof Buffalo Nickel Value
1913 Type 1 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel
The 1913 Type 1 Buffalo nickel was the first year of issue for this highly popular series. The Philadelphia Mint struck a massive mintage of 30,993,500 coins, which did not have a mint mark. due to the large quantity minted, these nickels are still readily available today, especially in average grades.
Collectors can expect to pay between $5 to $38 for average-grade coins of this variety. However, some rare mint state 1913 Type 1 Buffalo nickels can fetch as high as $27,000.
Despite the ample supply of this coin, collectors still highly value them due to their historical importance as the inaugural year of the series. Overall, the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo from the Philadelphia Mint is a highly demanded coin due to its popularity and significance. While common in average grades, the rarity of some mint state coins has led to significant prices at auctions and among as stated earlier.
1913 Type 1 – D Buffalo Nickel
The 1913-D Type 1 Buffalo nickel from the Denver Mint is a rare and unique coin highly sought-after among collectors. With a mintage of just 5,337,000, these coins are scarce to this day, making them a worthy addition to any collection.
The 1913-D Buffalo nickel Type 1 is particularly in-demand because it was the first of its kind to bear a “D” mint mark under its “FIVE CENTS” inscription. These nickels can be purchased for prices ranging from $8.10 to $67 in average-grade condition. However, rare, pristine examples of this coin can fetch as high as $30,000.
Despite its low mintage, it is still considered common due to hoarding by collectors and investors in response to its first-year-of-issue status. These nickels are available in all grades up to MS66, and the level of shine can vary from lackluster to a highly reflective stain finish.
Compared to the 1913 Philadelphia Type 1 Buffalo nickel, this is much rarer, with about 5 to 10 times fewer mint state examples. Nonetheless, the 1913-D Type 1 Buffalo nickel remains one of the more available early-date Buffalos, and it is a great choice for collectors looking for a well-minted and visually appealing coin.
1913 Type 1 – S Buffalo Nickel
The 1913-S Type 1 Buffalo nickel is a rare coin due to its low mintage of 2,105,000 and the hoarding that typically accompanies first-year coins. Although the western states have a smaller population and fewer coins were saved, leading to its scarcity across all grades. The scarcity is especially pronounced in gems as the San Francisco Mint had difficulty in striking this type fully, resulting in many poorly struck examples in Mint State.
As of April 2023, the NGC Price Guide values a circulated 1913-S Buffalo Nickel between $30 and $125. However, in mint state condition, this coin can fetch up to $15,000 on the open market. Despite seven-figure mintage, only about 10,000 samples exist in all grades.
The 1913-S is the lowest mintage of the three Types 1 Buffalo nickels and one of the lower mintages of the entire Buffalo nickel series. As a result, it is understandably challenging to find this coin in circulated grades. Despite its low mintage, this issue is relatively common in mint state conditions, which suggests that a significant number of uncirculated specimens were preserved in the year of its release.
Compared to coins produced in Denver and Philadelphia in the same year, S-minted coins are often not as well-struck. However, the 1913-S Type 1 coin is not known for having significant strike issues, unlike some later S-minted coins. The coin has a luster and a finish that appears almost matte.
1913 Type 2 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel
The Type 11 Philadelphia Buffalo nickel from 1913 tends to be available in all grades. However, in mint condition, it is scarcer than the Type 1 version. Despite a similar mintage, the Type 2 coin was not saved in large quantities, resulting in its scarcity in an uncirculated state. Nonetheless, because of the large quantity minted, it can be found in grades up to MS65. Unlike Type 1, this coin is less susceptible to eroded dies and severe die clashing. Collectors are drawn to the double die varieties on both reverse and obverse, which were identified by NGC’s Variety Plus Service.
In April 2023, the NGC Price Guide valued a circulated 1913 Type 2 Buffalo nickel between $5 to $37.50, while a flawless uncirculated coin could fetch a whopping $8,750 in the open market. These coins, produced by the Philadelphia Mint, totaled 29,857,186 with no mint mark, and they remain conveniently available to collectors.
1913 Type 2 – D Buffalo Nickel
The 1913-D type 2 Buffalo Nickel is a rare and elusive coin in the popular coin series, produced at the Denver mint, it had the same “D” mark as its Type 1 counterpart. However, despite the mintage of 4,156,000 coins, there existed no incentive to hoard them. The public was under the impression that the earlier Type 1 would be withdrawn, and hence took no interest in the revised design.
As a result, this issue is scarce across all grades and is considered a semi-key coin in the series. It is particularly rare due to a smaller number of Mint State survivors and generally poorer quality than the Type 1 edition, with weak strikes and worn dies adding to its rarity.
The NGC Price Guide values a circulated 1913-D Type 2 Buffalo Nickel between $70 and $275, while pristine, mint-state examples have sold for up to $35,000 on the open market. This high value makes them desirable to both collectors and investors.
1913 Type 2 – S Buffalo Nickel
The 1913 Type 2 Buffalo nickel with the “S” mint mark was struck by the San Francisco mint and has a mintage of 1,209,000. It is a rare coin in the Indian Head/Buffalo series, with only a slightly higher mintage from the S nickel of 1931.
However, it was released quickly and during a time when few people were collecting current issues by date and mint. Hoarding was focused on Type 1 nickels, causing this second variation to be overlooked largely. Prices for circulated coins range from $127 to $825, while mint state samples can reach up to $40,000
1913 Matte Proof Buffalo Nickel
The Philadelphia Mint produced both circulation strikes and Proof Buffalo nickels for collectors in 1913, with the latter featuring a new matte finish. PCGS has certified 337 out of the reported mintage 1,520 matte Proof Type 1 Nickel, with the majority falling in the PR-64 to PR-66 range and the most exceptional specimens earning a PR-68. This Proof coin is valued at about $1,510, and a sample graded PR68 was sold at the Legend Rare Coin Auctions for $96,938 in 2021.
History of the 1913 Buffalo Nickel
The year was 1912, and the United States Mint was on a mission to beautify American coinage. In response to President Roosevelt’s request for the redesign of as many coins as possible, the Mint commissioned several renowned sculptors to create new designs. Among them was James Earle Fraser, who submitted a design for a one-cent piece, but the Mint Director, Abram Andrew, saw the potential for the design to be adapted into a five-cent coin. Thus, the 1913 Buffalo Nickel was born.
In 1913, the United States Mint introduced a new five-cent coin that would later be called the Buffalo Nickel. The coin featured the image of a buffalo on one side and the portrait of a Native American on the other, making it one of the most distinctive coins in American history. Interestingly, the first batch of these coins was unofficially introduced at a ceremony held in Staten Island, New York, to mark the groundbreaking of the National American Indian Memorial. At the ceremony, President Taft handed out 40 of these new nickels to the attending Native American chiefs as a token of appreciation. Unfortunately, despite plans for the memorial, it never came to fruition.
The production of the Buffalo Nickel was met with challenges, including objections from the Hobbs Manufacturing Company and the quick wearing out of the dies used to mint the nickels. Despite revisions to the design, the issue with the dies used to mint the Buffalo Nickel remained. The coin was in circulation for 25 years before being replaced by the Jefferson Nickel.
1913 Buffalo Nickel Grading
The 1913 Buffalo Nickel is assessed for condition by grading it as uncirculated, extremely fine, fine, or good. Uncirculated coins have no sign of wear and still retain their original mint luster. Extremely fine coins appear almost perfect but have some damage due to circulation. Fine coins show wear and light scratching but still retain most of their imagery and inscriptions. Good coins are heavily worn and scratched from long-term circulation. Professional grading agencies like NGC and PCGS provide the most accurate grading.
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Rare 1913 Buffalo Nickel Error Lists
Error coins are coins that were mistakenly manufactured and contain anomalies or defects. These rare coins can fetch high prices. In this section, we will discuss some errors in the 1913 Buffalo nickel and its unique features and values.
1913 Buffalo “Three-Legged” Nickels
The three-legged bison error is a rare and valuable mistake found on the 1913 Buffalo Nickel; it was due to too much polishing. It features a missing front leg; however, it is worth noting that the coin features the hoof despite the missing front leg. A sample has been known to sell for over $20,000.
1913 Type 2 Buffalo Nickel Struck on a Planchet of Silver Dime
This Type Two Buffalo Nickel from 1913 was accidentally struck on a silver dime planchet. Its weight of 2.5 grams, which is consistent with a mint state silver dime, is graded MS66 by NGC. Its surface has a lustrous sheen and a coarsely granular texture, with certain spots showing minor inadequacy.
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1913 Buffalo Nickel FAQs
1. Is My 1913 Buffalo Nickel Worth Any Money?
1913 Buffalo nickels’ value varies. Common dates in poor condition are worth a few cents, and rare dates in great condition are worth thousands.
2. Why Are 1913 Buffalo Nickels So Special?
One reason why these coins are unique is that they were the inaugural coins to feature a non-eagle animal on them.
Finally, the 1913 Buffalo Nickel has become a beloved American classic despite facing criticism for wear and design. Its unique artistic and evolutionary features prevailed and it remains popular in commerce and among coin collectors. James Fraser’s design is a true masterpiece that has withstood the test of time.