Buffalo or Indian Head Nickel: The History, Value, and New Developments on America’s Cherished Coin

Head Buffalo nickel ValueThe Value of the Buffalo Nickel
The Buffalo Nickel, also called an Indian Head Nickel was an American Five Cent piece between 1913 and 1938. Named the Buffalo Nickel or Indian Head Nickel because of the buffalo on one side and the Indian head on the other, the truth is that it is not a buffalo on the coin at all. In fact, it is a bison. However, collectors still insist on calling this heritage coin the Buffalo Nickel. Bison Nickel simply does not have the same ring to it.

For anyone who stumbles across a buffalo nickel, the first question you are probably wondering is is it worth anything? And the answer is yes.

The buffalo nickel, unless totally damaged is always worth 7 times its value (5 cents) which means they are worth 35 cents. However, certain buffalo nickels are worth a lot more. The so-called three legged buffalo on the 1937 buffalo nickel, for example, is worth anywhere from 0 to ,000 depending on the mint. The three-legged buffalo is a rare misprint where one of the buffalo legs is actually missing.

The 1918-D 18/17 variety is worth anywhere from ,000 to 0,000, while the very rare 1916 clear doubling buffalo nickel is worth ,000 to 0,000. This particular coin is said to have a doubling affect where the Five Cents has been engraved. However, most buffalo nickels range between .00 and ,000 depending on the mint and the date.

Of course, this is only a guide to the prices. If you do have a buffalo nickel lying around it is best to consult an expert who will give you a better indication of the value of your coin.

History of the Buffalo/ Indian Head Nickel
The buffalo nickel was created by James Earle Fraser. The Indian Head aspect of the coin is a composite portrait of three Indian chiefs: Iron Tail, John Big Tree; and Two Moons. The buffalo, as mentioned above, was actually a bison, possibly moulded after one of the bison at the Central park Zoo. Buffalos do not live in North America.

Just another Coin?
The Buffalo nickel is very rare in today’s society with 1 in 25,000 five cent pieces having the buffalo face. It’s often hard to even see the date of the nickel as they have been so worn down. If you do have a buffalo coin, hang onto it. It could be your lucky coin.

New Designs to the Buffalo Nickel
It’s been over 70 years since the buffalo nickel has been replaced. However, America hasn’t completely forgotten about the Buffalo Nickel. In 2006 the United States Mint put the American Buffalo, or the Gold Buffalo, up for sale. This 24 carat gold bullion coin is based on the Buffalo nickel designed by Fraser.

Although the coin only has a face value price of .00, most pay over 0.00 for this gold piece of American history.