Key date coins are the rarest coins in the series, the ones that most collectors will never own because they are very expensive. The only key date for Buffalo Nickels in the regular collection is:
- 1913-S Type II, Mintage 1.2 million
The Type II Buffalo Nickel depicts the buffalo standing on a flat ground, with the words FIVE CENTS in a recessed area below. (The Type I depicts the Buffalo on a raised mound, with the FIVE CENTS in raised lettering below. Type I's were only produced for the first part of the 1913 Buffalo Nickel run.)
The semi-key dates for Buffalo Nickels (in order of value from most to least) include:
- 1926-S, Mintage 970 thousand
- 1913-D Type II, Mintage 4.2 million
- 1914-D, Mintage 3.9 million
- 1915-S, Mintage 1.5 million
- 1921-S, Mintage 1.6 million
There are also some variety coins that are considered to be key nickels as part of many Buffalo Nickel collections, especially the 1937-D 3-legged Buffalo Nickel. Other key Buffalo varieties include the 1936-D with 3 1/2 legs, the 1916-P doubled die obverse, and the 1918-D 8-over-7 variety. Mintages for these types are not known.
Also see: The Buffalo Nickel Values chart.