• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Changing of the buffs - exceptional buffalo nickels

8 posts in this topic

Changing collecting strategies is always a difficult thing to decide upon. And as I now begin to change my collection of buffalo nickels, I do so with a bit of a pang in my chest and belly. Indeed, this change follows rather quickly my last acquisition, a superlative 1928-S nickel of extraordinary strike rarity. Below you will find some great nickels that I’m offering to board members before cycling through the wide open spaces of eBay. Each coin was hand-selected by “me” and of uncompromising quality. You will be hard pressed to find better pieces in your journeys through buffalo nickel land, and some of these opportunities may only come around once in the course of years. So, here’s a change for me and a chance for you. It gives me pause.


If the prices listed make you wonder where I’m coming from, then please read on. I have priced according to value when compared to the rest of the coins for the date/mint and series. I have provided descriptions of each coin as they appear in my registry set. Each price to board members is delivered. Please PM me for more information.


A quick list (see attached photos in subsequent posts):


1918 MS64 NGC. $480

1925-S MS62 NGC. $2200

1926-D MS64 NGC. $1450

1928-D MS65 PCGS. $790

1928-S MS65 Fivaz NGC. $4050

1929-S MS65 NGC. $430

1938-D/D MS66 PCGS. $85




1918 MS64 NGC. What a stunning strike on this coin (the toughest thing about this issue, even for Philadelphia)! The obverse strike/lustre/surfaces are easily MS65 for this issue and the reverse is easily MS66. So, why the 64? Simple: minor planchet flaw on the obverse. It’s a strange lamination that affects the area immediately behind the Indian’s neck and also in front of and below his face in two places near the rim. ~Shrug~ Personally, I think that adds significantly to the originality of the coin while distracting nothing at all. And the strike is still superb. And the lustre simply drips from this coin. Surfaces are nearly mark-free. For an MS64, this coin is sweet beyond grade! Found this little one in the raw with a dealer in California who did not even think to show it until asked if the nickels in his case were all he had! Funny and lucky for me. Populations of 287 with 154 higher at PCGS and 155 with 74 higher at NGC. (11-01-03)


1925-S MS62 NGC. If you think I’m crazy about the price (midway between MS63 greysheet ask and MS64 bid), then perhaps the description will help you understand. Here is a coin that stunned and tortured me when I found it in the raw at a Salt Lake City coin shop. Indeed, one of the rarest of the series in mint state, and an investment, slabbed or not slabbed! What stunned me was to find such a beautiful specimen raw; what tortured me was the price plus the fact that the coin looked like it had been handled, not circulated, but handled lightly by collectors over the years. I estimated the grade at MS63, but thought because of the unbelievable strike (just look at the detail on the head and cape of the bison!) that it may go 64. The Indian also showed great detail, with the major incuse transverse line of the hair knot showing well – something often missing entirely from this issue, even in MS64+ coins. The surface lustre had been ever so slightly rubbed, but again, too little for circulation, as the coin has great lustre, especially for the issue. Moreover, and what swayed me to reason, was that the coin has totally original toning with no evidence of mishandling, save a very slight scratch in the field front of the Indian’s nose. The scratch is old, however, visible only under magnification, and also toned over. This mark, and bag marks in the Indian’s hair combined with the slight trace of handling bring the coin from full gem to 62. Overall, what grabs me is the strike of this lovely coin combined with its totally original surfaces. A notoriously mushy and ill-defined coin, this example simply beats EVERY other of this issue I have seen, in terms of detail. LIBERTY and the date are in high relief, as are the reverse motto and edge lettering. The mint mark is clear and bold, not mushy as in so very many mint state coins. This coin was struck from fresh dies and shows no sign of die fatigue. Truly a remarkable piece with populations of 55 with 231 higher at NGC, and 40 with 369 higher at PCGS (11-01-03). These populations probably represent most of the problem-free mint state examples extant.


1926-D MS64 NGC. This coin simply reaches up and grabs you with its beauty. It is a very high-end MS64 coin and is barely shy of MS65, having all of the striking details and incredible lustre, but with a small horizontal planchet flaw in the surface of the field in front of the bison's nose that brings the coin to MS64. The flaw is practically a no-never-mind, as this issue is one of the many in the mid-twenties that can be as flat as a pancake from poor striking. This coin is to the buffalo nickel collector as a bell was to one of Pavlov's dogs. Population of 88 with 27 higher for NGC, and 127 with 85 higher for PCGS (11-01-03).


1928-D MS65 PCGS. Sweet beastie! 1928-D issues are usually flat as pancakes. This coin shows itself off quite admirably with an exquisite strike for the grade and very smooth and vibrant fields. As one may expect, the strike simply does not warrant a higher grade, although one can readily compare it to any MS65 Philadelphia coin from the late 1930's, which is rare for a ’28-D. A very pleasing coin for this issue. With populations of 96 with 4 higher for NGC and 157 with 17 higher for PCGS (11-01-03), this is not a common coin.


1928-S MS65 Fivaz NGC. Just a superb specimen of this date/mint that is usually flat and unattractive. This issue is the last of the run of San Francisco minted buffalo nickels, beginning in 1918, that most commonly lack significant detail throughout the coin, but especially in the central details of the Indian's hair, as well as the high devices of the bison, including the head. This particular coin comes from the Bill Fivaz collection of buffalo nickels, auctioned July-August, 2003. It is apparent that this coin was a hand-selected piece for Mr. Fivaz, as the piece is stunningly struck and has fantastic surfaces that are nearly abrasion-free. The one significant weakness of the coin is the strike of LIBERTY, which is rough (as struck) showing the roughness of the planchet before striking, and relatively flat at the rim. Personally, I'd rather see this weakness than the typical loss of detail in other devices, especially those of the Indian's and bison's hair. The coin is mostly white, with a touch of toning near the date on the obverse and uniform toning over the reverse. A wonderful and rare piece with populations of only 30 with 2 higher for NGC, and 42 with 3 higher for PCGS! The highest graded between NGC and PCGS is MS66. (11-01-03)


1929-S MS65 NGC. A truly unexpected delight to cross paths with this coin. What this piece has more than any other feature is eye appeal. The surfaces are quite lustrous, especially for the grade, and boast an even golden patina, obverse and reverse. The details of the obverse are excellent, with only the merest hint of central weakness in the strike of the hair knot, but nothing distracting. Note the boldness of the date, the Indian’s feathers and LIBERTY. There are a couple of bagmarks on the cheek of the Indian that perhaps are grade-limiting, but are of no major distraction. The reverse is superbly minted, with slightly odd weakness at the tip of the bison’s tail. This area is usually strong when the cape of the bison is full struck, which it is in the case of this coin. Surfaces of the reverse are immaculate. The San Francisco Mint was becoming recognized for its general rarity for nickels by 1929, thus many of examples of this issue were saved in gem state. NGC reports 131 coins in MS65 with 26 higher, while PCGS reports 328 in MS65 with 88 higher. (11-01-03)


1938-D/D MS66 PCGS. This is an excellent coin, solid for the grade, with original surfaces and a very nice strike. The coin is highly lustrous and is very pleasing in its eye appeal. The repunched mint mark is readily viewed with only slight magnification and shows good horizontal separation. A good looking coin that suffices as a nice representative of the date in addition to the RPM. PCGS reports 296 at this grade level with only 10 higher, while NGC reports 763 with 42 higher. (11-01-03)


Link to comment
Share on other sites