Of all coins produced by the US Mint in its long and storied history, few are more iconic and evocative than the Buffalo Nickel. Especially the early editions, these coins are sought after by collectors constantly. Making the process of collecting the Buffalo Nickel a bit difficult, however, is the fact that there exist three different varieties of the coin, all with their own values and scarcity.
When it comes to collecting these coins, regardless of its type, a collector will always look at the condition the coin is in. Seeing as only the most beautiful pieces are added to most people’s collections, it follows that collectors are willing to pay a hefty price to get their hands on a Buffalo Nickel in excellent shape.
Like was alluded to above, the first thing a collector worries about when it comes to these Buffalo Nickels is the condition the coin is in. This is why, when a collector gets ahold of one of these coins, the first thing they will do is carefully assess the coin’s overall condition.
In all reality, the condition the coin is in is known as a grade, and judging the condition is known as giving the coin a grade. Normally, grading is done by a professional company and with the opinion of experts, but with the specifications below you can gain a good idea of what coins of a certain grade will look and feel like.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated coin is unique because, by definition, it did not spend any time exchanging hands. Because of this, the coin itself will appear to be flawless, even under close inspection. The coin’s surfaces will be textured just as they were the day it was minted, and the faces of the piece will shine as the mint’s original luster will have been preserved along with the imagery and inscriptions.
Extremely Fine: An Extremely Fine Buffalo Nickel is one that saw some time exchanging hands, but only a very limited amount of time. As a result of its limited circulation, these Buffalo Nickels will show some scratching and other small signs of wear. All in all, however, these pieces are well-preserved and appear quite pristine.
Fine: A coin in this condition was exchanged on the open market for a good quantity of time and has the marks to prove it. With scratching, chipping, and other signs of wear, the Buffalo Nickel will appear to be fairly rough. Still, the overall texture of the coin will have been preserved, as will have the imagery and inscriptions on the coins faces.
Good: To receive this grade, a coin will have had to spend many decades in circulation. This grade is given to the coins that are in the worst condition. Heavy scratching, chipping, and many other forms of wear are going to be present on the coin’s faces, and the coin’s shine will be no more. In fact, the wear will be so great that even the surfaces of the coin will have been worn smooth.
If you want to know how much you are going to pay for a 1917 Buffalo Nickel, you must first consider the type of coin it is. With three different varieties minted this year, the price of the coin will vary with the type. In addition to the specific type of coin, collectors will also consider the coin’s condition. Refer to the chart below to gain a better idea of how much you will be paying for a Buffalo Nickel, given its type and grade.
1917 Buffalo Nickel
|1917 S||$22||$75||$200||$375||Source: Red Book|