Little-Known Facts About Buffalo Nickels And How Much They Are Worth

The buffalo nickel is technically known as “the five-cent Indian head” coin.

It’s also referred to as the bison nickel or Indian nickel due to the Indian on the front.

1935_Indian_Head_Buffalo_Nickel_public_domain.jpg

The buffalo on the reverse of the coin was supposedly modeled after a bison named Black Diamond that resided in the New York Central Park Zoo.

Did you know?
The buffalo head nickel was designed by James E. Fraser who used 3 different native Americans as models.

See how much your buffalo nickels are worth…

It’s one of the more eye appealing coins. Unfortunately, the date on the buffalo nickel was placed in a bad spot and was easily worn away when the coins hit circulation. That’s why almost everybody who owns circulated a buffalo nickel is going to have a coin with a date that is just barely legible. These aren’t worth much money to a collector. The ones that haven’t received so much wear on them are commonly worth $2.00-$5.00.

If you have quite a few buffalo nickels in any kind of decent shape, I’d recommend getting yourself a price book (such as the “Red Book”) because buffalo nickels jump around a bit in price from coin to coin.

The Value Of Buffalo Nickels
The buffalo head nickel was minted from 1913 to 1938. Here are the values of some of the more noteworthy buffalo nickels:

The first one on the list, the 3-legged buffalo, is one of the more sought after buffalo nickels. On the 3-legged buffalo coins, the stump and hoof remain of the front leg but the leg itself is missing. This was caused by a section of the die that had been completely polished off.

Here’s a picture of a 3-legged buffalo nickel.

1937 D 3-legged – $500.00-$1000.00
1936 D 3 1/2 legs – $800.00-$5000.00
1935 Double Die Reverse – $40.00-$150.00
1931 S – $15.00-$20.00
1926 S – $18.00-$450.00
1924 S – $15.00-$475.00
1923 S – $7.50-$125.00
1921 S – $70.00-$525.00
1920 D – $8.00-$110.00
1919 S – $8.00-$100.00
1919 D – $12.00-$120.00
1918 D – $18.00-$120.00
1918 D 8over7 – $1000.00-$5500.00
1916 Double Die – $2200.00-$11000.00
1914 D – $80.00-$200.00
1914 4over3 – $350.00-$550.00
1913 S – $300.00-$425.00
1913 D – $100.00-$170.00

NOTE: Listed above are a few coins that have one date over another. These are known as “overdates”.

Here’s a picture of the 1918 8/7 overdate.

Jay

I have been collecting and trading coins for years. Coin collecting is a hobby for me, and I've done a lot of research about coins through the years.

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  • Jake T.

    i hv a nickle with a buffalo on it and letter E
    made in ’05
    is it worth more than 5 cents?

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Jake —

      The only way a 2005 Jefferson/Buffalo (bison) nickel is worth more than 5 cents is if it is uncirculated (and would have a value of about 20 to 25 cents on average) or has an error (which would give it a value of a few dollars or more).

  • Dj4ry

    i have a buffalo nickel coin with a unique marking..
    it have a separate line from the beggining to the end of the word
    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA..
    and its in excellent condition, so i can see the line clearly..
    my question is ; is it normal? or is it the only one?

    • Anonymous

      Dj,

      There are a couple ways for a line to get on your coin based on my understanding of the description of your specific coin.

      One possibility is that the line comes as a “die break.” Die breaks are caused by damage to the die (the stamp that puts the design on the coin). Many die break coins are worth money, but value typically varies based on the type of die break, as well as how well recognized it is among numismatists.

      The other possibility is that the line was caused either by damage outside the U.S. Mint. Such damage could have been caused by a machine, or perhaps somebody even intentionally etched or scratched that line into your nickel. That would significantly lower the value of your coin.

      Without seeing the coin, I can’t really tell you what you have.

      *If the line appears raised, it was probably caused by the U.S. Mint.
      *If the line is recessed, I’m betting you have a coin damaged after it left the U.S. Mint.

      I hope this helps.

  • Anonymous

    I found a 1936 buffalo nickle today by accident its looks like its mint conditon you can clearly see the 1936 on it and their no real wear down on the nickle just tryen to figure out if theirs anything else i need to look for on it, and if it has any real value to it.

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Uiy,

      If your 1936 Buffalo nickel is indeed uncirculated (‘mint condition’), it would have a value of at least $10 to $15 if sold to a coin dealer. However, if you found it in pocket change or if there appears to be even minute areas of wear (areas that look like they have been rubbed — often indicated by dullness or darkness), then your coin is not uncirculated.

      Still, the value of even a lightly circulated 1936 is $1 to $2. Very well-worn 1936 Buffalo niukels will be bought by a coin dealer for anywhere from 25 cents to $1.

      By the way, great job finding a Buffalo nickel with a clear date — millions of Buffalo nickels are so worn they don’t have a date visible due to poor placement of the date on the coin.

  • Alisa

    I found a three legged buffalo nickel, but there is no date on it.On the side of the indian it says liberty, but you can only see half of the word. Is this a special nickel and is it worth anything?

    • Anonymous

      Alisa,

      A famous 3-legged Buffalo nickel is the 1937-D. As many Buffalo nickels have suffered worn-off dates because of their location, it’s possible you have a ‘dateless’ 1937-D Buffalo nickel, which — if authentic — may be worth $250 or more. Specimens in the grades of Good to Fine can bring in $500 to $700.

  • Josh Tucker

    How much is a 1926 buffalo nickel with Mint mark E on it the buffalo has 4 legs

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Josh —

      A 1926 Buffalo nickel is worth $1 to $2 in typical grades. The ‘E’ is actually an ‘F’ and is the initial for James Fraser, the designer of the Buffalo nickel.

  • dude

    hello, i have a 1936 buffalo head nickel without a mint mark, and on the buffalo side where it states “five cents” the coin, only has “fiv nts” the letters in the middle are not present. which i have shown to many people can clearly state the wear is minimal and if wear was the cause of these missing letters then the others would be significantly worn. which are not. any idea? ive spent an hour looking for smoething similar, and theres nothing at all about this misprint. any assumptions or ball park values?

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Dude —

      My first thought when I read your question is that your coin likely was struck either on weak dies or on filled dies. This is a relatively common scenario and there are very few coins that actually are worth any great deal of money more than regular coins because of this, and I have never seen any premium being paid for 1936 Buffalo nickels because of this.

      As for value, I would have to therefore say that you’re looking at the coin being worth the usual $2 to $5 for a lightly circulated 1936 Buffalo nickel. If you ever decide to sell this coin, though, do see if you can find a coin dealer who specializes in error coins — they MAY be willing to offer a tad more if they like the effect of the filled/weak die strike.

  • marion

    Hello, I found a buffalo nickel, it is not 3 legged, I cannot find a date on it. Can you tell me anything about this. thanks

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Marion —

      Because dates easily wear off Buffalo nickels because of their location, ‘dateless’ Buffalo nickels are extremely common and not worth very much due to their severe state of wear. A ‘dateless’ Buffalo nickel is therefore usually worth around 25 cents.

  • kent

    I have found 2 buffalo nickels 1 is worn out pretty bad the other i can read everything yr 1936 not sure if its a 3 legged.

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Kent —

      If the one ‘worn out’ Buffalo nickel has no date visible, it’s worth around 25 cents. The 1936 is worth at least $1 or so.

      If it looks like the bison’s foremost leg is partially missing, then what you have MAY be a 3-1/2-legged Buffalo nickel. However, don’t get too excited if you see what looks like a partially missing leg. It may be a coin that was struck on weak dies.

      If you ever suspect you have a rare coin, it’s always best to get it verified and authenticated with a 3rd-party coin grader like PCGS, NGC, or ANACS.

  • Minmin2011

    how do i know the difference between a 1920 and a 1920-D nickel? i found one in my pantry and its barley legible but not too bad, but how can i tell the difference between the 2 other than the price difference in redbook?

    • Anonymous

      Minmin,

      The ‘D’ mintmark can be found under the word ‘FIVE CENTS’ on the reverse of the coin (below the bison). This may require a typical magnifying glass to see.

      If you don’t spy a mint mark there, then you have a 1920 Buffalo nickel made in Philadelphia (which didn’t stamp mintmarks on coins in the 1920s).

  • Oceinbaby

    I have a 1937 f buffalo nickel. The date and the f are very clear and easy to read. Wanted to know what its worth?

  • hope

    i have a 1936 buffalo head nickel that appears to be missing a hoof and partial leg…can you tell me with or without hoof what the worth of the coin would be…i’ve been getting alot of different information on it, all the websites say it should have a D underneath the five cents on the back… and im not sure but mine appears to have an S instead… its in great condition hardly any wear compared to the other one i have were you can barely read anything on it this one is clear… anyway thanks for your time and please get back with me.. thank you. have a good day

    • Joshua

      Hi Hope,

      It’s true that the 1936-D is a recognized variety of a 3-legged Buffalo nickel. As for 1936-S, I would have to take a closer look at the tails side of the coin to give you a better opinion. If you’d like, feel free to post a photo of your coin to The Fun Times Guide to Coins Facebook wall: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/TheFunTimesGuideToCoins

      As for the value of the coin, a regular 1936-S Buffalo nickel is worth $1 to $2 in typical grades. I’m not sure of the value of a 1936-S Buffalo nickel if it’s missing a leg, but I’d be happy to further investigate after taking a look at the coin via photograph to see what eactly is going on with your coin.

    • Joshua

      Hi Hope,

      It’s true that the 1936-D is a recognized variety of a 3-legged Buffalo nickel. As for 1936-S, I would have to take a closer look at the tails side of the coin to give you a better opinion. If you’d like, feel free to post a photo of your coin to The Fun Times Guide to Coins Facebook wall: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/TheFunTimesGuideToCoins

      As for the value of the coin, a regular 1936-S Buffalo nickel is worth $1 to $2 in typical grades. I’m not sure of the value of a 1936-S Buffalo nickel if it’s missing a leg, but I’d be happy to further investigate after taking a look at the coin via photograph to see what eactly is going on with your coin.

  • hope

    i have a 1936 buffalo head nickel that appears to be missing a hoof and partial leg…can you tell me with or without hoof what the worth of the coin would be…i’ve been getting alot of different information on it, all the websites say it should have a D underneath the five cents on the back… and im not sure but mine appears to have an S instead… its in great condition hardly any wear compared to the other one i have were you can barely read anything on it this one is clear… anyway thanks for your time and please get back with me.. thank you. have a good day

  • Lion

    ahhaahhahahaah no… kool no…. yeh kinda awesome but as i have i buffalo nickel
    it is normal but there is no date on it it is a little bit bigger than the other ones that i have so i dont get it..;
    i went to a numismatic and they offered me $4000 but they said that if i wait too much they will cancel the offer so i dont know.
    How much is my buffalo nickel worth???
    thanx ur cool…. and get me back send me an email….

  • Bluejay

    i have two buffalo nickels and im wondering how much i can sell them for

    • Anonymous

      Bluejay,

      That all depends on their date and condition; values for Buffalo nickels range from around 50 cents to hundreds of dollars each!

      What dates are yours?

  • VeryLucky

    I just got 11 Buffalo Nickels in a roll today, and one was a 1913 P Type 1 as well. Today has been a fun day! And hope you have some worthwhile Buffaloes jay.

    • Anonymous

      Incredible finds! 

  • Donna

    I have a 1936 buffalo nickel, but it looks like it has been run over because it is smashed.  I  can’t read where it would say five cents and the letter below the buffalo.  It looks like the weak leg error.  Since it is damaged is it worthless?  Thanks

    • Anonymous

       If it is a weak leg error, it would still have some value, the question really is how much. Sight unseen, it’s pretty hard to say what it would be worth. If it is not a weak leg error, than as a regular 1936 Buffalo nickel, it really wouldn’t be worth much more than face value.

      • Donna

        Thank you for your response.  I will try to post a picture soon. 

        • Anonymous

          You’re welcome. You can post it right here in the comments section.

  • BONES

    Jay i have s very sharp 1936 buffalo nickel f its in one of the cardbord holders it was my grand fathers the letters and details a very crisp and sharp. I would love to sell, unfortunately dont know where to if you could help that would be great i can send pics also

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Bones —

      You can upload and post a photo here in the comments forum if you’d like by clicking on the +Image button when you comment.

      As for selling your 1936 Buffalo nickel, unless it’s in mint condition (no wear whatsoever), that piece isn’t going to net you much more than perhaps $5, just so you know.

      If you’re still interested in selling it, I’d recommend checking out your local coin dealer.

      Here’s some more info about coin dealers: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/12/coin_dealer.php

      …And a search engine for local coin dealers: http://www.pngdealers.com/dealersearch.php

      Good luck!

  • Lonestarexpressinc

    I have a 1936 nickel with the Indian head on BOTH sides of the coin. The coin is not heavily worn & all lettering and images are legible.  Anyone have any idea what it might be worth?

    • Anonymous

      Lonestar,

      That’s definitely not a mint issue. You’re describing a common type of novelty coin; such pieces are usually real coins that were sawed in half and reconfigured with other coins to create “two-headed” or “two-tailed” coins. These are conversation pieces, really, and don’t have much value in the coin market, save for a couple dollars to those who are inclined to buy them as curiosities.

  • Hotmomma_69_87_88_05_07

    i have a 1913 buffalo nickel but i can not tell what mint it is how can you find some thing like that 

    • Anonymous

      The mintmark, if there is one, would be under the words FIVE CENTS on the side with the buffalo. Also, in the case of the 1913, there were two types of designs. One with the buffalo standing on a mound with a line beneath it and one without the line.

      If you’d like to post a photo of your coin here in the comments forum, please feel free to do so. We could help you determine which type you have and perhaps even suggest an approximate value.

  • Guzman6469

    how much is a 1936 3 1/2 leg nickle worth

    • Andy11766

      If its in very good condition, $850.00 according to the 2011 Red Book (for coins). Find a coin dealer and sell it, or keep it so it will be worth more.

  • Babygirl1990_09@yahoo.com

    i have a american historic society knife that has a 1936 nickle on it and am trying to find out how much it is  i need answers

    • Anonymous

       While I have no answer on the value of the knife, a typical 1936 Buffalo nickel is worth around $1 to $2.

  • Zard92

    i have a high rise print buffalo nickle and the s in cents looks like a miss print how can i find more about it so i can find out how much its really worth

  • Lifecrusher4

    this is a 1935 three legged buffalo nickel what is this worth?

    • Andy11766

      If you wanna sell that, do it. Trust me. Do some research on it if you haven’t already.

  • ZACH SCHMIDT

    I have a buffalo nickle with a buffalo on each side of coin any info on this thanks

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Zach –

      Sounds like a “double-tails” novelty coin. Such pieces really aren’t rare but are exonumia curiosities and are usually worth anywhere between $1 and $5.

  • Alexandra

    I have a 1937 3 legged Buffalo nickel…
    Where can I sell it? or would a lot of people even be interesterd in it??
    Thanks.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Alexandra –

      Here is a search engine where you can find a reputable coin dealer near you: http://www.pngdealers.com/

    • Andy11766

      How much do you want for it? (If you still have it)

  • CK

    I just found one too, but I can’t see the date. It looks pretty worn. There is no mint mark visible. I’ve also read that I shouldn’t try to clean it. Are there any other ways to identify what I have?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      CK,

      The only way to really identify a dateless Buffalo nickel is to use a special acid called nic-a-date, sold by coin dealers. Unfortunately, the acid will numismatically ruin the coin.

  • Flynn04uk

    i have one from 1935 it is in quality shape exept someone has made it into a medalion punching a small home to thread a ring threw the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA it now reads UNITED STAT  OF AMERICA can anyone give me a rough value?

  • Nic0lass

    I have a 1936 nickel with a red background and a gold buffalo.
    other side is dark purple with a gold indian head.

    it has a F under the date.  what is this and how much is it worth

  • NGunter

    I have Coin Roll/Double Brick/2005 Buffalo.
    Anyone Interested?  Make me an offer.
    NGunter@cfl.rr.com

  • Stefany

    So I was at work and I gave my managers too much money and my manager gives me money back and there was a buffalo nickel in it.
    The thing is, it doesn’t have a date, it doesn’t have a Mint mark, no F on the front. It doesn’t even say “Liberty” on the front.

    I’m not sure if this is valuable or not… Help.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Stefany,

      Your Buffalo nickel has been so well worn that the date no longer is visible. Dateless Buffalo nickels are worth around 50 cents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.herpel Emily Nicole

    hi i have a 1936-F buffalo nickel and dont know what it is worth because all the other sites say d and s so i want to know how much it is worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Emily,

      The “F” is the initial for Earl Fraser, who was the designer of the Buffalo nickel. Your 1936 Buffalo nickel is worth around $1 to $2.

  • Help Me!!!

    Hi I Have A 1937-F Nickel But On The Other Side There is The Date 1937 and right under the three there’s this tiny tiny tiny!Little F right under the three what does it mean/Also whats it worth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi –

      The “F” is the last initial of the Buffalo nickel’s designer, James E. Fraser. A 1937 Buffalo nickel in typical, worn condition is worth around $1.

  • victor drew

    I have a1936f/buffalonickel in good condition only six made

    • Andy11766

      The F is the designer name of the Buffalo Nickel (Earl Fraser) And in good condition (G-4), most likely $1. Very good (VG-8)–$1.50, Fine (F-12)–$1.75 and so on. Those are what the 1936 Buffalo Nickels are worth, unless you have a three legged one which is around $850.00. (All amounts according to the Red Book (for coins).

  • Andy11766

    I have never heard of a 3 1/2 legged 1919 buffalo nickel before. There is nothing in the Red Book (for coins) that says anything about one of those. One of the legs “may” have partially rubbed off but if it hasn’t, then you have made a very good find. But otherwise (if one of the legs has rubbed off, then it depends on what condition its in and the mint mark.

    Best of luck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.crosserjr Thomas Crosser Jr

    Just found a 1913 Type 1 in my coin jar. Date is barely visible but there, so outta the coin jar and into the safe for the grandkids someday.

  • DKelsay

    I have a 1937 gold buffalo nickel. Is it worth any thing? I would also like to know if the coin was gold plated before leaving the mint, or if this is something someone did after it reached circulation. Thanks.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Great hypothesis, D! In fact, your 1937 Buffalo nickel was gold plated after it left the U.S. Mint. The plating of your coin makes it a novelty coin. Such a piece may be worth $1 to $2.

  • Wendy

    I have a 1927 buffalo head nickel…do u know the approximate value or this coin?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Wendy –

      A 1927 Buffalo nickel is worth around $1 to $2.

  • phil38175

    what is a 1937 buffalo nickel that is double died on liberty and is in au shape worth.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Phil –

      Without seeing the coin in hand it is hard to say, but the most likely situation is that the doubling appears on your coin due to die deterioration and is not really going to add much, if any, value to your coin.

  • Michele

    I have a 1914 D Buffalo Head Nickel that looks almost dark red in excellent condition. How much do you think it might be worth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Michele –

      Hmm, well it’s hard to say for sure without seeing an image of the coin, but usually reddish coloration on a nickel is some type of oxidation.

  • Kenneth

    i have a 1937 f mint buffalo nickel. do u know how much it would be worth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Kenneth –

      A 1937 Buffalo nickel is worth around $1. The “F” on the coin actually is the initial for James F. Fraser, the coin’s designer. Thanks for your question!

  • Jerry Ross

    I have a 1936 P , but on the back under where it says FIVE CENTS it has a very small s. ? any idea of what that is about or is that common. cant see it on any pictures of any online.

  • yoni the yogi

    Hi
    I have a strange bufallo from 1937. The strangge part is that both side has an head of indian, with the date. no bufallo. It looks real , pretty good condition. Could it be a fake?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Yoni!

      Sounds like you have a type of novelty coin – in this case, two real Buffalo nickel obverses that were fused together. The effect is usually intended to be the “both sides is “heads,” joke, which probably helped the owner win a couple bets at the bar – or at least get a couple laughs. These types of pieces have a nominal value on the novelty coin market.

  • RG

    Have a Buffalo Nickel, date is mostly gone. Can barely make out what looks like 1916. Looks pretty worn out.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, RG –

      Oh, YES – that 1916 Buffalo nickel has seen much action in nearly a century. Your is worth around $5.

      Nice trophy!

      • Ana

        I have a 1929 buffalo nickel with what looks like it has no mint mark at all under the five cents pictures to come soon – Ana

  • RG

    Tried to upload pics, must have done something wrong.