Finding old coins that you don’t already have in your collection is always fun. If you found one or more nickels from 1930, you should consider yourself lucky as they can be highly valuable.
Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the 1930 buffalo nickel value, grading, history, errors, and more.
1930 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart
|Condition||1930 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value||1939 S Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value|
|Fair||$0.10 – $0.50||$0.10 – $0.50|
|About good||$0.50 – $1||$0.50 – $1|
|Good||$1 – $2||$1 – $2|
|Fine||$2 – $3||$2 – $3|
|Very fine||$3 – $5||$3 – $5|
|Extremely fine||$5 – $15||$5 – $20|
|About Uncirculated||$15 – $30||$20 – $50|
|Mint state (60-64)||$30 – $50||$50 – $150|
|Mint state (65-67)||$50 – $70||$150 – $300|
|Mint state (68-70)||$70 – $100 +||$300 – $500 +|
1930 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value
Nickel was first made by the US Mint in 1794. The first nickels were made entirely out of silver and they were called half-dimes. The name “nickels” came around after 1866 when the US Mint changed the composition of these coins from silver to copper and nickel.
A 1930 penny weighs 5 grams or 0.17 ounces and it is 21.2 millimeters in diameter or 0.8 inches. It consists of 75% of copper and 25% of nickel.
1930 Buffalo Nickel Appearance
The first nickels depicted Lady Liberty on the front of the coin and an eagle on the back, themes common in many of the coins the US Mint has produced. These themes represent important values of this country – freedom and strength.
In 1837, the design was changed to feature a wreath of flowers on the reverse instead of an eagle, representing victory. This design went on until 1913 when the Buffalo nickels came into circulation.
The obverse side of a 1930 nickel shows a right-facing profile of a male Native American. To his left side is the word LIBERTY which replaced a picture of Lady Liberty. The year 1930 is found at the bottom of the coin to the left side.
The reverse of nickel from 1930 features a left-facing standing buffalo at the center. The top is reserved for the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the US motto, ET PLURIBUS UNUM. This means “out of many, one”, signifying the country’s unity.
The denomination, FIVE CENTS, is written at the bottom of this nickel, below the buffalo.
The coin was designed by James Earle Fraser, a sculptor for Minnesota.
The design of nickel has changed twice since. In 1938, a nickel featured Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers on the front side, and his home in Virginia on the back side. This theme is still ongoing.
The short break in this design happened in 2004 when the US Mint circulated the Westward Journey series of nickels.
1930 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Price
Most Buffalo nickels from 1930 were made in the Philadelphia Mint. This factory produced 22 849 000 half-dimes during this year. You can recognize them by the absence of a mint mark on the bottom of the reverse side of a coin since this mint didn’t use location indications back then.
The starting price of this nickel is around ten cents, but this is only if a coin is in very bad condition. The prices rise with the quality of the coin, so if yours is in good to uncirculated condition, you can get as much as around $30.
The price significantly increases when a coin’s grade rises to more than 65. Most of the coins sold at the recent auctions that were graded 65 sold for $200 on average, but there were ones that reached a price of several hundred dollars.
Coins with a grade 66 usually sell for nearly $500. Buffalo nickels that are graded 67 are very rare, so if you are selling one of those, expect to get richer by thousands of dollars. In fact, the record amount that this nickel sold for was a staggering $15 600 in 2020.
1930 S Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value
Nickels were produced at one more location in 1930 – San Francisco. The San Francisco Mint made 5 435 000 Buffalo nickels in 1930. This is a lot less than what Philadelphia managed to mint during this year so the price of a Buffalo nickel with an S mint mark reflects that.
You can find a mint mark on the reverse side of a coin, at the bottom, right below the denomination. The rest of the design is the same as on the other variety of this coin, so you will find a Native American on the obverse and a bison on the reverse.
The reason there is no mint mark on the Philadelphia coins but there is one for the coins minted in San Francisco is that the Philadelphia Mint is the original one. For a while, it was the only one putting coins in circulation, so there was no reason to specify the location.
The price of a 1930-S Buffalo nickel also starts at around ten cents, but this is only if your coin is in extremely bad condition. Otherwise, you will probably be able to earn much more if you are looking to sell it.
While Buffalo nickels from 1930 minted in San Francisco are only worth several dollars if they are in good or fine condition, their price significantly rises with their grade. Nickels in uncirculated and mint state (60 – 62) condition cost as much as $150!
1930-S Buffalo nickels graded 65 usually sell for around $500, according to the previous auctions. Those graded 66 sold for $500 to $5 000, which is a huge amount of money, especially if you didn’t know that you have such a rare piece of history in your possession.
The Internet auctions held since the beginning of this year (2023) saw five different Buffalo nickels sold, one with a grade of 65, two graded 64, one graded 63, and one with 62. The prices were $384, $204, $240, $159, and $115, respectively.
The highest amount of money someone paid for this nickel on public auctions was $30 550 for a grade 67. This was back in 2017. Therefore, if you have a Buffalo nickel in perfect condition and you can’t seem to sell it for the price it is worth, wait for a while and the right buyer will appear!
If you don’t have a nickel from 1930 go look at your parents’ and grandparents’ old cupboards, houses, and through forgotten old things. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you find!
1930 Buffalo Nickel Grading
Whether you are looking to sell or buy a nickel from 1930, it’s extremely important to know its exact value.
In case you want to sell a coin, this is because you can overlook some crucial details or parts of your coin that may increase its value by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
If you are looking to buy one, you can never be sure if what you are paying is what you are getting, so having proof, especially if you are shopping online, is of utmost importance.
Keep in mind that getting your coin professionally graded usually costs $10 – $100, but paying this amount of money is worth it if it can generate or save you more.
Rare 1930 Buffalo Nickel Error Lists
The coin minting process is a long and complicated one which is why factory errors on coins are inevitable. However, the errors are quite rare because the US mints do everything they can to avoid them.
Since these coins with mistakes are not easy to find, their price can be significantly higher than the price of regular ones. This is the reason you should always get your coins professionally graded because you may not notice that your 1930 nickel is not a common one.
Let’s talk in detail about the potential errors you can find in your 1930 pennies.
1930 Buffalo Nickel Double Die
A double die error occurs when the dies strike more than once. The dies are the machines that transfer the design using great force. Sometimes, by mistake, they strike multiple times, leaving doubled fragments of the picture on the affected coins.
This mistake can happen both on the obverse and on the reverse of a coin. In the case of a 1930 Buffalo nickel, this error is more common on the reverse side.
It may be difficult to spot it right away and just by looking at your nickel. You may need to use a magnifying device and inspect it very carefully.
If your nickel does have a double die error, its price can increase by $10 to $50 depending on the condition of the coin.
1930 Buffalo Nickel Die Crack
Die cracks occur when the dies get worn off and damaged by prolonged use. The design on the dies gets damaged as well and gets transferred to the planchets, the blank pieces of metal about to become coins.
You can recognize this error by cuds and breaks in the design of your 1930 nickel.
Compare it to the same coin in perfect condition (if you don’t have one, you can just use pictures on the Internet), and if any differences can be attributed to this mistake, it’s worth confirming it with a grading service.
1930 Buffalo Nickel FAQ
What is a 1930 Buffalo nickel worth?
A nickel produced in 1930 is not worth a lot if it is in poor condition. However, if a nickel is in good or fine condition, it can reach a price of around $20. If it is uncirculated, the price can go as high as $50.
The real worth is in nickels from 1930 that are graded 65 and more. They can sell for hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars. One nickel made in San Francisco in 1930 was sold for over $30 000 in 2017!
How do I know if I have a rare Buffalo nickel?
The safest way to know if you have a rare Buffalo nickel is to take it to a professional coin grading service. It may cost you ten or more dollars, but it can be totally worth it if it turns out that you have a rare, valuable coin.
If you don’t have access to a coin grading service, you should try to estimate the condition of your coin by yourself. If you think that it can be graded 60 and more, your coin is then rare. You should also look for any factory errors on the obverse or reverse side of your nickel.
Are old Buffalo nickels silver?
Nickels were silver until 1866 and the Buffalo nickels were first introduced in 1913. Therefore, there aren’t any Buffalo nickels with silver in their composition. They are made of copper and nickel (95% and 25%, respectively).
What is the error on a 1930 Buffalo nickel?
There are several errors that you can find on a 1930 Buffalo nickel. The most common ones are double die and die crack errors.
Double die can occur both on the front and on the back side of nickel from 1930. If your coin has this mistake, you will notice that it has a double design or parts of the design.
Die cracks can also happen on both sides of a 1930 nickel. They can be mistaken for the natural wear and tear that coins suffer throughout the years, so be careful when examining your coin.
What makes a 1930 Buffalo nickel valuable?
The most important thing that can make your 1930 Buffalo nickel valuable is its condition. The coins that are in near-perfect condition can sell for thousands of dollars, and sometimes even for tens of thousands.
Remember that the price of a coin is always determined by its rarity, and when a lot of time passes since a coin is first put into circulation, the rarest coins are the best-preserved ones.