Whether it's an entry point for budding neophytes or the domain of learned numismatists, buffalo nickels occupy an exciting position in the collecting world. For the uninitiated, buffalo nickels are 5-cent pieces of copper-nickel produced by the US Mint in the first half of the 20th century. One side is stamped with a picture of a bison or buffalo, hence the name. Millions were made, and the coins merely give a glimpse into US history, rather than enticing the finders with the promise of riches.
When were buffalo nickels made? What does the coin feature on each side?
The nickel buffalo was produced from 1913 through 1938. It removed the nickel Liberty "V" and was removed with the nickel Jefferson we use today. The buffalo nickel's front face features a realistic likeness of a Native American drawn from a multi-person composite image with which sculptor James Earle Fraser has experimented. The coin's reverse features a realistic American buffalo resemblance.
How can you start collecting a set of nickel buffalos?
If a set of buffalo nickels is to be started, they should first learn about the series by picking up a copy of informative books on such matters. Different buffalo nickel books break down the series, date by date and mint by mint, and provide collectors with historical insights into the series and a helpful price table that lists the value of nickels in various collectible grades.
Can you find them on the run today?
Some Americans may have seen circulating buffalo nickels, but they're seldom (identified). One of the reasons for this is that the coins look different from those of today, and have not been worn exceptionally well. Much worn nickel buffalo have lost vital information, including the date. One reason buffalo nickels aren't plentiful in change is the sheer amount of modern coins produced annually. The mint's most produced buffalo nickels in a given year were 119 million, in 1936.
How do you know you get a 1936 buffalo nickel value that's real and worth having?
Counterfeits are a concern throughout the rare coin industry, and no collector would purchase costly or valuable coins without having ample experience with the series to distinguish the difference between real currency and a fake. Most collectors have an ally in combating counterfeits through the Qualified Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) services. Those two platforms have rated hundreds of millions of coins of all sorts, and the collectors would have no trouble locating desirable, appealing, genuine coins that these companies have promised. Certified coins are exchanged regularly at coin exhibitions, on popular internet auction sites, and occasionally at local jewelers and coin shops.
Which characteristics are you looking for in a coin before purchasing it?
Above all, a buyer has to decide if the coin is genuine. An authentic coin should be trouble-free, and overall look attractive.