US Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel  1913 to 1938
US Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel 1913 to 1938

Worn Buffalo nickels catalog for about $1 US dollar or so, rising in price with condition:

worn: $1 US dollar approximate catalog value
average circulated: $4
well preserved: $15

Coins with dates that have been worn away are basically worthless to collectors. Fully uncirculated buffs are always in demand, and usually reach into the 100s of dollar range in catalog value. Remember these are catalog values, and actual values will be less (see our Terminology page for an explanation).

If you have dates and mint marks 1931S, 1926S, 1924S, 1921S, 1919D, as well as any date with a D or S mint mark before 1919, you have a *better date* coin. These dates and mint marks are worth several 10s of dollar in worn condition and rise to several 100s of dollars in fully uncirculated condition. The coin in our main picture (upper right) is in average circulated condition. The list below gives very approximate catalog values for some better date Buffs in average circulated condition. All other dates and mint marks are *common dates* with values summarized in the first paragraph above.

1913D type 2*: $200 US dollars approximate catalog value
1913S type 2*: $500
1914D: $200
1915S: $200
1917D: $100
1917S: $100
1918D: $150
1918S: $100
1919D: $150
1919S: $150
1920D: $150
1920S: $150
1921S: $500
1923S: $150
1924S: $350
1926D: $100
1926S: $450
1931S: $30

Be sure your coin is not too worn. Only average circulated coins achieve the values above. Use our Important Terminology page to properly interpret these values.


If your coin does not appear in the list, then it is a *common date* buffalo nickel and the value is described in the first paragraph on this page.

*1913 dated coins must have a type 2 reverse to be really valuable, as shown in this figure.

Collectors seek uncirculated buffs with a vengence. Uncirculated coins with mint marks are worth more than coins without mint marks. Figure about $100 catalog value for an unc coin with mint mark, and half of that for an unc coin without a mint mark. The later date coins, those after 1934, are quite common even in uncirculated condition, and their value drops toward $25.

One must always be careful when buying expensive coins, especially when the price seems 'too good to be true.' There are plenty of coin shysters in the world, and modern manufacturing techniques and the Internet give them fertile ground to snooker unsuspecting collectors.

The overall quality of the surfaces in the fake Buffalo at the left should be a give-away to anyone who has collected for a while. The differences in pattern are very evident in a side-by-side comparison.

Smart collectors build solid working relationships with reliable coin dealers. The only sure-fire way to protect from counterfeits is to buy only from people you trust implicitly. Building trusted relationships takes time, but it is well worth the effort.

CoinQuest thanks Heritage Auctions and US Coin Values Advisor for the photo of the gorgeous 13S nickel to the left. It demonstrates very effectively the difference between real and fake in this instance.

Coin: 844 , Genre: United States
Requested by: Randy, Thu, 30-Jul-2009 14:40:08 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Sun, 16-Sep-2012 12:47:39 GMT
Last review by CoinQuest: Sat, 27-May-2017 15:05:19 GMT
Requester description: 1936 Buffalo Nickel
Tags: indian head buffalo nickel nickels nickle nichel nikel feather feathers liberty 5 cent cents five fether quill feathering fethers peny pennys pennies penny


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