Buffalo (Indian Head) Nickel Values and Prices

Buffalo or Indian Head Nickel
Buffalo or Indian Head Nickel minted from 1913 until 1938. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, www.ha.com

Indian Head or Buffalo Nickels (1913-1938) can be simple and affordable to collect for the intermediate coin collector, or challenging enough for the advanced coin collector. Buffalo nickel values range from just a few cents for common dates in well-circulated grades to thousands of dollars for key dates in pristine uncirculated condition.

History of the Buffalo Nickel

James Earl Fraser designed both the obverse and the reverse of the Buffalo nickel.

His designs were part of the Renaissance of American Coinage that began with President Theodore Roosevelt. The obverse features a rustic design of a Native American facing right. Contrary to several claims, the portrait is a composition of several Native American tribal chiefs.

The reverse features an American Buffalo that many people believed was modeled off of a specimen at the New York City Zoo named Black Diamond. Numismatic researchers have not been able to confirm nor refute this claim.

The first variety of the Buffalo nickel produced by The United States Mint featured the buffalo standing on a mound of dirt with the denomination FIVE CENTS rising above it. This design flaw caused the denomination to prematurely wear off of the nickel. Approximately halfway through 1913, the design was changed to recess the denomination below the rim of the coin.

Market Analysis

Indian Head or 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 to the market fluctuations of these precious metals. 

Key Dates, Rarities, and Varieties

The following Buffalo 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.

  • 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

Beginning coin collectors should learn about how to recognize the most valuable buffalo nickels with photos and detailed explanations.

Condition

If your coin is worn and looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below, it is considered a circulated coin. Here's a high-resolution photo of a circulated Buffalo Nickel.

If your coin looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below and has no evidence of wear due to being in circulation, it is considered an uncirculated coin. Here's a high-resolution photo of an uncirculated Buffalo Nickel.

A professional numismatist or coin dealer can help you determine the exact grade of your Buffalo nickel.

Mint Marks

The United States mint produced Buffalo Nickels at three different facilities in use three different mint marks: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S).

The mint mark on the nickel is located on the reverse of the coin, just below the denomination of "FIVE CENTS."

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 sells 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 some other factors that determine its worth.

Date & MintCirculated Uncirculated
BuySell BuySell
1913 Type 1$11.20$5.70 $48.00$32.00
1913-D Type 1$14.10$7.30 $80.00$60.00
1913-S Type 1$42.00$21.00 $150.00$100.00
1913 Type 2$11.50$6.00 $56.00$40.00
1913-D Type 2$100.00$50.00 $320.00$230.00
1913-S Type 2 *$290.00$140.00 $900.00$700.00
1914$17.00$9.00 $69.00$47.00
1914 4 over 3$440.00$210.00 $4,400.00$3,100.00
1914-D$90.00$50.00 $500.00$330.00
1914-S$31.00$15.00 $290.00$210.00
1915$6.90$3.30 $71.00$52.00
1915-D$26.00$13.00 $290.00$200.00
1915-S$59.00$31.00 $800.00$600.00
1916$5.80$2.90 $67.00$47.00
1916 16 over 16 *$6,000.00$3,000.00 $110,000.00$70,000.00
1916-D$18.00$9.00 $220.00$160.00
1916-S$14.90$7.30 $230.00$170.00
1917$5.90$2.90 $100.00$70.00
1917-D$29.00$14.00 $580.00$420.00
1917-S$43.00$21.00 $900.00$600.00
1918$6.90$3.60 $250.00$170.00
1918-D 8 over 7 *$1,700.00$800.00 $43,000.00$31,000.00
1918-D$31.00$16.00 $710.00$520.00
1918-S$27.00$14.00 $1,500.00$1,100.00
1919$3.40$1.70 $90.00$60.00
1919-D$29.00$15.00 $1,200.00$800.00
1919-S$24.00$12.00 $1,100.00$800.00
1920$3.70$1.90 $100.00$70.00
1920-D$19.00$10.00 $1,100.00$700.00
1920-S$13.00$6.20 $1,100.00$800.00
1921$6.10$3.10 $220.00$150.00
1921-S *$90.00$50.00 $1,900.00$1,200.00
Date & MintCirculated Uncirculated
BuySell BuySell
1923$3.60$1.70 $110.00$70.00
1923-S$12.90$6.10 $680.00$470.00
1924$2.80$1.40 $120.00$80.00
1924-D$15.00$7.00 $620.00$420.00
1924-S *$48.00$24.00 $2,700.00$1,800.00
1925$2.10$1.00 $69.00$49.00
1925-D$19.00$10.00 $630.00$450.00
1925-S$10.20$4.90 $1,100.00$800.00
1926$2.20$1.00 $54.00$39.00
1926-D$15.00$7.00 $390.00$270.00
1926-S *$44.00$21.00 $6,400.00$4,400.00
1927$1.20$0.60 $62.00$45.00
1927-D$4.70$2.40 $280.00$210.00
1927-S$2.70$1.40 $1,500.00$1,000.00
1928$1.60$0.80 $52.00$38.00
1928-D$2.60$1.30 $90.00$60.00
1928-S$1.80$0.90 $370.00$260.00
1929$1.70$0.80 $55.00$38.00
1929-D$1.70$0.90 $100.00$70.00
1929-S$1.30$0.70 $69.00$49.00
1930$1.60$0.80 $50.00$35.00
1930-S$2.00$1.00 $73.00$50.00
1931-S$14.40$7.10 $80.00$60.00
1934$1.30$0.60 $49.00$33.00
1934-D$2.50$1.20 $100.00$70.00
1935$1.00$0.50 $31.00$22.00
1935-D$2.00$0.90 $80.00$50.00
1935-S$1.00$0.50 $54.00$38.00
1936$1.00$0.50 $27.00$19.00
1936-D$1.20$0.60 $35.00$24.00
1936-S$1.00$0.50 $37.00$25.00
1937$1.00$0.50 $21.00$15.00
1937-D$1.00$0.50 $28.00$19.00
1937-D 3 Leg *$560.00$280.00 $3,300.00$2,400.00
1937-S$1.00$0.50 $28.00$19.00
1938-D$2.80$1.40 $24.00$17.00
1938-D D over S$6.30$3.00 $64.00$45.00
Complete
Date-Mint Set

Total Coins: 61
$900.00$420.00 $30,500.00$21,000.00
Complete
Date Set

Total Coins: 23
$100.00$50.00 $1,800.00$1,300.00

* = See "Buffalo Nickel Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties" for more information on these coins.

Notification of Disclaimer