Coin Value Finder » 1934 Buffalo Nickel Value: are “D”, No mint mark worth money?

1934 Buffalo Nickel Value: are “D”, No mint mark worth money?

The 1934 Buffalo nickel is one of the most obscure coins and is largely unpopular today because not everybody can get their hands on them. The coin started with good intentions but had to be scrapped after about two decades due to several controversies.

However, does that mean the coin no longer has any market value? On the contrary, its value is worthy of note because the rarer a coin is, the more valuable it becomes. This article is an in-depth guide to the actual value of the Buffalo five cents coin.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Details

1934 Buffalo Nickel Details

If you have one or more of these coins, it is only right to know the details that may affect their price. There are not many of them currently in circulation, and the available coins were minted in two different minting branches in the U.S.

  • Category: Buffalo Nickels
  • Mint: Denver and Philadelphia
  • Mintage: 27,693,003
  • Obverse designer: James L. Fraser
  • Reverse designer: James L. Fraser
  • Composition: 75% copper and 25% nickel
  • Edge: Plain
  • Weight: 5 grams
  • Diameter: 21.21 mm (0.8350 inches)

Three U.S. mint branches minted the Buffalo nickels in 1934. The Philadephia mint struck nickels with no mint marks, which set them apart from the Denver mint nickels with an obvious D mint mark. The San Francisco mint did not mint any 1934 Buffalo nickels for that year.

Mint Mark

To the untrained eye, the mint mark is not easily identifiable because of its size and location. It is a small D under the FIVE CENTS phrase on the reverse side. Apart from these mint marks, which tell you the minting location, the nickels are the same in diameter, weight, and appearance.

However, the value is not the same, as the nickels with the D mint mark typically attract more when it comes to price. This may be due to the mint mark, which you will find are available in small D and large D varieties.

The obverse side of the coin features the head of an Indian chief with feathers in his hair. His image faces the right side of the coin, and only one side o his face is visible. This obverse side also features the minting year and the F initial of the designer under the date.

The reverse side of the coin features an American bison standing on a small mound of earth. The image gives the coin its misnomer Buffalo nickel, but there are other features on this side.

You will find E Pluribus Unum tucked between the phrase United States of America and the back of the bison. Then, the phrase FIVE CENTS is under the earth on which the bison stands, and you will find the mint mark under the phrase for coins featuring the mark.

Also Read: 15 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1934 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart

Knowing the value of the 1934 Buffalo nickel in your possession will help you determine how much you will get for it, especially if you have more than one with different mint marks. The chart below explains the coin value based on different conditions and grading.

Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated Mint State
1934 ‘D’ Buffalo Nickel Value $1.71 $4.52 $23 $91 $140
1934 (P) No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value $1.42 $2.81 $11 $55 $74

The worth of your Buffalo nickel depends on the mint that struck the coin and the condition of the coin. From the chart above, it is clear that the coins from the Denver mint are more valuable than those from the Philadelphia mint with no mint mark. Also, the date and condition affect the value.

However, this is not a general rule, although it happens most of the time. The collector taking the coins may also determine the value they place on them. Some collectors prefer coins in mint condition because they already have mint state coins.

Others may want the coin simply to complete a collection. They do not care whether or not it is in a mint state or is uncirculated. Finding rare coins is what they treasure, and the condition or mint mark is only secondary in their considerations.

A few collectors may like coins with a bit of wear or fade in their luster. While they may not take the most worn-out coin, they do not reject those with moderate grading. For them, it is the story behind or other distinct markers, such as unique errors, that make the coin precious.


The grade refers to the condition of the coin, and this affects every coin type, regardless of its minting date. There are four conditions in which you will find a coin: good, fine, extremely fine, and uncirculated.

For each grade, there is a corresponding number from 1 to 70 on the grading scale that represents its actual condition to the collector or grader. If a coin is uncirculated, it is likely to be high on the grading scale and typically fetches a lot of money.

Uncirculated coins have no visible wear, although they may have minting errors. They still have the shine or luster from the mint, and all the fine details are still in sharp relief. But an extremely fine coin has a bit of wear, which usually shows first on the date and the Indian chief’s feathers on the obverse side.

Most Buffalo nickels have no distinguishable dates because they are the first to disappear when handled in circulation. You will notice this issue on coins with fine or good grading. The clear and distinct area under the chief’s eye also fades quickly with use.

Also Read: Top 110 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1934 Buffalo Nickel Value and Varieties Guides

The following value and variety guides explain each nickel with different mint marks in detail.

1934 D Buffalo Nickel Value

1934 D Buffalo Nickel

  • Type: Buffalo Nickels
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint mark: D
  • Minting Location: Denver
  • Year of minting: 1934
  • Face value: Five cents
  • $ Price: $1.71 to $140 (or more)
  • Quantity produced: 7,480,000
  • Designer: James Earle Fraser
  • % Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
  • Mass: 5.000 grams
  • Diameter: 21.21 mm (0.8350 inches)

The Buffalo nickel with the D mint mark is rare because there are not many in circulation. This has considerably increased its value since collectors snap up any in circulation. It is even more valuable if the coin is in mint state or uncirculated condition; one such coin sold for about $11,000.

As mentioned, the 1934 Buffalo nickels are no longer popular and those currently available are in poor condition. It is rare to find these nickels in good condition, which makes them more sought-after when found. You may get a lot of money in exchange for D-coins in your collection.

1934 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value

1934 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel

  • Type: Buffalo Nickels
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint mark: None
  • Minting Location: Philadelphia
  • Year of minting: 1934
  • Face value: Five cents
  • $ Price: $1.42 to $74 (or more)
  • Quantity produced: 20,213,003
  • Designer: James Earle Fraser
  • % Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
  • Mass: 5.000 grams
  • Diameter: 21.21 mm (0.8350 inches)

The Philly mint struck more than 20 million Buffalo nickels in 1934 to meet the demands for the coin by the population. This also means there were more of them in circulation than the ones from the Denver mint, making them less sought-after than the D-coins.

In mint or uncirculated condition, the Philly coin can fetch good money. One such coin in mint-state 67 was sold for more than $8,000 a few years ago. Again, like the rest of the coin types, the price or worth placed on the coin depends on the collector, minting location, and condition in some cases.

Also Read: Top 19 Most Valuable Jefferson Nickels Worth Money

1934 Buffalo Nickel History

This coin has an interesting history because it was part of the effort to produce coins with higher-quality images and relief. Before the Buffalo nickel went into circulation, the Lady Liberty coins had low relief and appeared to have only two dimensions, which reduced their beauty.

However, President Theodore Roosevelt disliked the coins and demanded the U.S. make better and prettier coins. In 1904, he brought in artists and designers from outside the country to design and produce these coins according to the standard he had in mind.

The first artist he brought, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, died before finishing the work, so his assistants continued from where he stopped. Some of these assistants are Victor D. Brenner, who designed the wheat penny, and James Earle Fraser, whose design ended up on the nickel.

Since these were commercial designers and sculptors, these assistants were looking to produce high-quality relief and details on the coins. This affected the result seen on the coins; they were poorly organized and looked too busy. While these details followed the demand of the president, they came at a cost; the dies wore out too fast.

That meant replacing them too frequently, and it cost a lot to make these new coins. Moreover, the artists wanted everyone to know their work, so they scurried to engrave the coins, demanding bigger signatures and fonts than the typical mint engraver. This also affected the result and overall design.

Another effect of the high relief on the nickel was that the areas with the sharpest relief were the first to wear out. As a result, surviving coins have no distinguishing minting marks, dates, or denominations. The Chief Engraver made slight changes, but they also affected the dies.

So, after 25 years in circulation, the Jefferson nickel replaced the Buffalo nickel in 1938. The replacement resolved many controversies surrounding the design, production, and cost of the older nickel.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Grading

There are several aspects of coin grading that affect its value. There is a coin-grading scale that determines the exact state or actual worth of any coin, including the Buffalo nickel. The scale goes from 1 to 70, the former being the lowest condition and the former being the highest and best condition.

Here is a video showing how to grade a Buffalo nickel using different grades.

Lists of 1934 Buffalo Nickel Errors

While not every coin has errors distinguishing it from the rest, a few of them have clear errors which can positively or negatively affect their value. Some collectors only select coins with these unique errors to add to their collections.

1. 1934 Buffalo Nickel Strike-through Error

It is not out of the ordinary for a small foreign item to find its way into the die and affect the design in an almost imperceptible way. However, to the keen eye, this error will leave a unique silhouette on the coin as it lands between the planchet and dies.

The error is uncommon as the striking process is done meticulously. But those coins with such errors can be valuable, with some going for over $200.

2. 1934 Buffalo Nickel Struck on a Smaller Planchet

The importance of knowing the size or diameter of a coin is to use the correct planchet during the striking process. If you use a penny planchet, the details on the nickel may not fully appear.

For example, a 1934 Buffalo nickel with no mint mark was struck on a penny planchet with a diameter of 19.05 mm. Because the diameter of the nickel is 21.21 mm, some dates and words were sliced off.

3. 1934 Buffalo Nickel 10% Off-Center Strike

1934 Buffalo Nickel 10% Off-Center Strike

If you examine the coin, you will discover that there is barely any room for error. The smallest adjustment to the right or left may remove some parts of the details or design, or give the coin an unbalanced look.

A 1934 Buffalo nickel was accidentally struck about 10% off-center, which caused there to appear a small space at the bottom back and top front of the image on the obverse side. Such errors can stop the coin from going into circulation, which preserves its mint state and increases value.

This video shows the errors commonly seen in the 1934 Buffalo nickel.

1934 Buffalo Nickel FAQs

Is a 1934 nickel rare?

The Buffalo nickel minted in 1934 is not particularly rare in the circulated grade. This grade is fairly common, although you may find it worn and faded. However, the uncirculated grade is relatively rare, making it valuable to coin collectors.

How do I know if my Buffalo nickel is valuable?

The date on the coin will determine its value, as well as the coin’s condition. If a Buffalo nickel is not dated, it may increase its value but not by much. However, it depends on the coin collector and the value they place on the coin.

Additionally, the position of the coin on the grading scale will affect its value. The farther down the scale it is, the less money it will fetch.

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