1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel

[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, David W. Lange. This information was originally published in 2006 in The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels.]

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MINTAGE: 30,993,520 (Ranking 51/64)


  • One reverse die was overly polished, resulting in a 3-1/2 leg variety on which the right foreleg is diminished (FS-1913-901)
  • A cud die break is known that caused the bison’s head to merge with the rim. This position is so commonly seen for cuds that I call it the “capped bison,” for that is what it appears to be. Due to its close proximity to the rim and the resulting die weakness, the bison’s head became the frequent location of such die breaks, as was the tail for the very same reason.

RARITY: This issue is very common in grades XF-MS. Choice mint state examples are readily available, but their value is maintained through demand from type collectors. Gem pieces are somewhat more challenging to locate but may be acquired with a bit of patience. Some 17 examples have been certified as MS-68. Coins in the lower circulated grades having readable dates are not common, as this shallow feature wore off quickly. Dateless coins are still identifiable by their distinctive reverse type but have little value. Original rolls may still exist for this issue, due to widespread hoarding at the time.


  • This issue is usually well struck, though the obverse rim and LIBERTY are sometimes indistinct. The luster is typically quite brilliant, though this is may be muted by the toning seen on so many examples. The fields of all Type 1 nickels are textured as on the original models, and this often gives the luster a shimmering quality, particularly 76 The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels COMBINED NGC & PCGS POPULATION VF XF AU MS60 MS61 MS62 MS63 MS64 MS65 MS66 MS67 1 6 242 16 45 252 1197 4070 4265 2306 530 David W. Lange 77 on coins struck from fresh dies. In fact, first strikes from unworn dies are easily mistaken for proofs and vice versa. See Chapter 7 for distinguishing characteristics. Many pieces were saved as the first year of issue. Those held by the general public are often found cleaned or otherwise mishandled.
  • After years of stagnation, this issue has enjoyed considerable price appreciation since the second edition of this book was published in 2000. This reflects a general boom cycle in the American coin market since 2000 and in the Buffalo Nickel series in particular.
  • Be on the lookout for examples having no designer’s initial F below the date. These may be pattern coins and can exist with either a flat-top or round-top 3 in the date. A few of these rare and valuable coins may remain undetected in collections or in dealers’ stocks.

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