1. Home

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://coins.about.com/library/US-coin-values/bl-US0005-Buffalo-Nickel-Values.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Buffalo (Indian Head) Nickel Values and Prices

How Much Is My Buffalo (or Indian Head) Nickel Worth?

By , About.com Guide

Example of an Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

This guide is intended to give you an idea of how much your Buffalo nickels (also called Indian Head nickels) minted from 1913 to 1938 are worth. The table below provides average coin values and prices for Indian Head nickels based upon the condition of the coin.  If the coin shows evidence of wear on it due to being used in commerce, it considered "circulated." If it was never used, then it is classified as "uncirculated." The pictures below illustrate examples of each condition.  Some coins are very valuable even in well worn condition.  Pleas note, you cannot increase a coin's value by cleaning it. In fact, cleaned coins are worth considerable less and coin dealers can spot a cleaned coin immediately.  Therefore, do not clean your coins.

Introduction to Coin Values and Prices

There are many factors that go into determining the value of your coins. First of all you must understand how the coin market works. If the coin dealer runs out of 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickels, he cannot just order more of them from the US Mint because the mint does not make coins dated 1913 anymore. The coin dealer must replenish his supply by buying coins from other dealers or from people that come into his coin shop. What he pays you for that coin is known as the "wholesale price" or "value." If you want to buy that 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel from the coin dealer, that is known as the "retail price" or "price."

Market Analysis

Buffalo nickels have been fairly stable over the last few years.  Some of the key dates and rarities have seen some decline since reaching their peak in 2008.  Since these coins do not contain any silver or gold, they do not react with the prices of these precious metals.  Now is good time to buy and sell your coins.  But don't expect to walk in to a coin shop with a big jar of Buffalo nickels and have the coin dealer dig through them to pull out the nice ones.  If you want top dollar for your coins, you need to sort them and organize them so the dealer can quickly see what you have.

Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties

The following Indian Head nickels in any condition, are worth considerable more than common ones.  As such, these coins are frequently counterfeit or altered from common Buffalo nickels.  Therefore, before you start celebrating your early retirement with your new found fortune, have the coin authenticated by a reputable coin dealer or third party grading service.  See the photos below for examples of these varieties.

  • 1913-S Type 2
  • 1916/16 (doubled die variety)
  • 1918-D 8 over 7 (doubled die variety)
  • 1921-S
  • 1924-S
  • 1926-S
  • 1937-D Three legged Buffalo
1913 Buffalo Nickel Type 1
1913 Buffalo Nickel Type 1
Buffalo standing on a mound

1913 Buffalo Nickel Type 2
1913 Buffalo Nickel Type 2
Buffalo standing on a line

 1937-D Three Legged Buffalo Nickel
1937-D Three Legged Buffalo
Images Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com
Quick Links:

Condition or Grade Examples

Indian Head Nickel Average Circulated Condition Circulated Indian Head Nickel Average Uncirculated Condition Uncirculated
Click on the photos above for a larger image.
Photos courtesy of Teletrade Coin Auctions, www.teletrade.com
Quick Links:

Mint Marks

Buffalo nickel were produced at three different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S).  As illustrated in the picture below, the mint mark is located on the reverse of the coin, just below the denomination of "FIVE CENTS".

Buffalo Nickels mint mark location
Mint Mark Location
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel Average Prices and Values

The following table lists the buy price (what you can expect to pay to a dealer to purchase the coin) and sell value (what you can expect a dealer to pay to you if you sell the coin). The first column lists the date and mint mark (see the photo above) followed by the buy price and the sell value for an average circulated Buffalo nickel.  All circulated prices and values assume that the date is readable and not completely worn off the face of the coin.  The next two columns list the buy price and the sell value for an average uncirculated. These are approximate retail prices and wholesale values. The actual offer you receive from a particular coin dealer will vary depending on the actual grade of the coin and a number of other factors that determine its worth.

Date & Mint Circulated Uncirculated
Buy Price Sell Value Buy Price Sell Value
1913 Type 1 $14.00 $6.00 $43.00 $31.00
1913 D Type 1 $17.00 $8.00 $69.00 $50.00
1913 S Type 1 $44.00 $19.00 $140.00 $100.00
1913 Type 2 $14.00 $6.60 $52.00 $37.00
1913 D Type 2 $120.00 $50.00 $300.00 $200.00
1913 S Type 2 * $300.00 $100.00 $900.00 $600.00
1914 $19.00 $9.00 $71.00 $49.00
1914 4 Over 3 * $600.00 $300.00 $4,600.00 $3,100.00
1914 D $120.00 $60.00 $500.00 $300.00
1914 S $45.00 $19.00 $300.00 $200.00
1915 $9.00 $4.50 $69.00 $47.00
1915 D $43.00 $19.00 $300.00 $200.00
1915 S $100.00 $50.00 $800.00 $600.00
1916 $7.00 $3.20 $66.00 $44.00
1916 Doubled Die Obv. * $7,900.00 $3,600.00 $110,000.00 $80,000.00
1916 D $26.00 $12.00 $200.00 $100.00
1916 S $21.00 $9.00 $200.00 $200.00
1917 $7.00 $3.00 $100.00 $70.00
1917 D $48.00 $21.00 $500.00 $400.00
1917 S $71.00 $32.00 $800.00 $600.00
1918 $9.00 $4.20 $200.00 $200.00
1918 D Doubled Die Obv. * $2,600.00 $1,100.00 $50,000.00 $34,000.00
1918 D $65.00 $29.00 $700.00 $500.00
1918 S $54.00 $25.00 $1,500.00 $1,000.00
Date & Mint Circulated Uncirculated
Buy Sell Buy Sell
1919 $6.00 $3.00 $90.00 $60.00
1919 D $63.00 $28.00 $1,200.00 $900.00
1919 S $56.00 $26.00 $1,100.00 $800.00
1920 $6.00 $3.00 $110.00 $70.00
1920 D $55.00 $26.00 $900.00 $700.00
1920 S $42.00 $20.00 $1,200.00 $800.00
1921 $12.00 $5.70 $200.00 $100.00
1921 S * $200.00 $100.00 $2,000.00 $1,400.00
1923 $6.00 $3.00 $100.00 $70.00
1923 S $44.00 $19.00 $700.00 $400.00
1924 $5.00 $2.30 $120.00 $80.00
1924 D $37.00 $17.00 $700.00 $500.00
1924 S * $140.00 $60.00 $2,600.00 $1,900.00
1925 $6.00 $2.80 $74.00 $52.00
1925 D $43.00 $19.00 $600.00 $400.00
1925 S $32.00 $15.00 $1,200.00 $800.00
1926 $4.00 $1.00 $56.00 $40.00
1926 D $40.00 $17.00 $400.00 $200.00
1926 S * $110.00 $50.00 $6,000.00 $4,300.00
1927 $2.00 $1.00 $65.00 $46.00
1927 D $12.00 $5.30 $300.00 $200.00
1927 S $13.00 $5.90 $1,300.00 $900.00
1928 $3.00 $1.50 $54.00 $39.00
1928 D $7.00 $3.20 $90.00 $60.00
1928 S $5.00 $2.40 $400.00 $200.00
Date & Mint Circulated Uncirculated
Buy Sell Buy Sell
1929 $3.00 $1.50 $51.00 $37.00
1929 D $4.00 $1.50 $100.00 $70.00
1929 S $2.00 $1.00 $62.00 $43.00
1930 $3.00 $1.50 $52.00 $38.00
1930 S $3.00 $1.50 $80.00 $60.00
1931 S $15.00 $7.00 $80.00 $50.00
1934 $2.00 $1.00 $48.00 $32.00
1934 D $5.00 $2.30 $90.00 $70.00
1935 $2.00 $0.75 $33.00 $24.00
1935 D $4.00 $1.50 $71.00 $52.00
1935 S $2.00 $0.75 $52.00 $35.00
1936 $2.00 $0.75 $27.00 $18.00
1936 D $2.00 $0.75 $36.00 $25.00
1936 S $2.00 $0.75 $40.00 $29.00
1937 $2.00 $0.75 $22.00 $16.00
1937 D $2.00 $0.75 $27.00 $19.00
1937 D 3 Legged * $700.00 $300.00 $3,500.00 $2,500.00
1937 S $2.00 $0.75 $26.00 $18.00
1938 D $3.00 $1.50 $24.00 $17.00
1938 D D Over S RPM $9.00 $4.00 $64.00 $47.00

*= See the section above "Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties" for more information on these coins.

These values have been compiled through my personal analysis of the coin market, referencing publications such as Numismatic News, Coin World, "The Official Blue Book; Handbook of U.S. Coins," The Coin Dealer Newsletter, published auction results and consulting with various coin dealers.

Disclaimer: The information on this site and all subsequent communications are provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be misconstrued as investment advice. All information, including valuations, on this website has been compiled from reliable sources and every effort has been made to eliminate errors and questionable data. However, the possibility of an error in a work of this magnitude always exists. Additionally, further analysis, research and/or discoveries may challenge the beliefs presented in this article. The author and About.com will not be responsible for any losses that may occur in the purchase, sale, or other transaction of coins and other items because of the information that is contained on this website. Visitors who feel they may have discovered an error or inconsistency are asked to please contact the guide so that the situation may be investigated and/or corrected. Under no circumstances does this information contained on this website represent a recommendation to buy or sell coins, precious metals, exonumia or paper currency.

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.