Coin Value Finder » 1937 Buffalo Nickel Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1937 Buffalo Nickel Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

Do you have a box of old coins and want to know the value of each coin? The first thing to do is to sort through the collection to see what coins you have. Some coins are more valuable than others, including the 1937 Buffalo nickel with unique errors.

The Buffalo nickel ran for more than two decades before it was replaced by another coin. But it has an interesting history and its rarity adds to the overall value. We’ll provide you with a clear guide for determining the actual worth of a 1937 Buffalo nickel if you happen to have these coins.

1937 Buffalo Nickel Details

1937 Buffalo Nickel Details

The 1937 Buffalo nickel is one of a kind because there are a few details that set it apart from other years. It has similar details as Buffalo nickels from other years, but it is abundant in circulation, which greatly affects its value.

  • Category: Buffalo Nickels
  • Mint: Denver, San Francisco, and Philadelphia
  • Mintage: 102,946,769
  • 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)

The Buffalo nickels were quite popular with the people, especially with their unique design of the head of a Native American chief on the obverse and an American bison on the reverse, although some call it a buffalo, hence the unique name.

The 1937 coin was minted in three branches: Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver, with Philadelphia being the main mint. This is probably why it accounts for most of the coins minted that year. The coins from Philly also do not carry any mint mark, but the other coins do.

Location of the Mint Mark

Without careful observation, the Buffalo nickel does not immediately reveal the mint mark. You will need to study the coin carefully to find the mark. The Indian chief’s head with feathers in the hair is on the obverse of the coin, and it faces right.

Liberty is struck in front of the image, right before its forehead and nose, and the mint date sits on the shoulder of the image, right behind it. You may find the initial F – representing the designer’s name – below the date on coins with clear details. The size of the image on the obverse is so big that nothing else fits on that side of the coin; it almost touches the rim.

An American bison is an image that is featured on the reverse. It faces left and is also big enough that it almost touches the rim on the tail side. The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are stuck on top of the coin, around the back of the bison. Right under it, you will find the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.

It is on this side that you find the denomination written in words and the mint mark. The denomination FIVE CENTS is written under the animal and the mint mark is struck under the words. The mint mark should be D or S.

Also Read: 15 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1937 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart

The value of the 1937 Buffalo nickel is slightly different from the rest of the coins in the series. Some are more expensive than others, but the value is not much higher than the face value in most cases.

Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated
1937 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel $0.53 $1.05 $2.87 $17
1937 ‘S’ Buffalo Nickel $0.55 $1.05 $2.60 $19
1937 ‘D’ Buffalo Nickel $0.55 $1.05 $2.82 $18
1937 ‘D’ 3-Leg Buffalo Nickel $237 $366 $550 $1,407

The chart above is a clear guide on which coins are valuable and how much you are likely to get for each one. Of course, these prices are not fixed; they can vary or fluctuate based on the precious metal market or depending on who is buying it.

Some collectors do not mind paying more for old coins if they complete a specific collection, whether or not they are worn out. This is made even more valuable if the coin has a mint mark; those without a mint mark typically do not fetch good money.

1937 Buffalo coins with an S mint mark are more valuable than the rest, but the difference is not much. The reason may lie in the number of coins minted in the San Francisco mint, which is significantly less than the other mints. Because of this, the coins are not readily available, which makes them much sought-after.

Coin Condition

One primary factor that affects the value of any coin, although it is not the only important one. The condition of the coin determines who will buy it and how much they will pay for it, even if it is a private sale.

A coin can be in mint state or uncirculated condition. In this condition, the coin is pristine or almost pristine and is usually the most valuable one. The details are still clear and in sharp relief, and the luster is pure. Buyers tend to pay more coins in this condition, but it does not always determine how much you get for it.

In extremely fine condition, a 1937 Buffalo nickel will also get you good money, depending on who is buying it. This condition refers to a coin slightly less pristine than a coin in uncirculated condition. However, there are visible signs of wear and loss of luster on such a coin.

Coins in fine condition show more obvious signs of wear, with most areas that were in sharp relief no longer visible. Also, the luster is gone on such a coin but there are still defined details to distinguish it from others. The lowest condition is the good grade, where the coin is completely worn with barely defined details.

Unique Coins

A unique 1937-D Buffalo nickel was struck, and the uniqueness comes from an error. The buffalo on the reverse has only three legs, but it is not immediately obvious until closer observation.

The reason behind this error is simple. The design on the Buffalo nickel, on the obverse and reverse, required careful and detailed striking, which took its toll on the dies. As a result, the dies wore out quicker than usual when striking the coins. That meant having to replace them often.

One of the dies for the reverse of the coin had a problem, so the minters decided to clean it to remove the flaw. But the result was that one of the buffalo’s legs was wiped off in the process, and this issue was not seen until several thousand coins had been struck with the error.

However, this error has a silver lining for people who have the coins, even if they are old and worn. The lowest price for a 1937-D coin with this error is $600, and that is for one in good condition. The better the condition is, the more expensive the coin becomes. Some can fetch as much as $6,000, and one sold for about $48,000 in an auction.

Also Read: Top 110 Most Valuable Nickels Worth Money

1937 Buffalo Nickel Value and Varieties Guides

This section looks at the different coin types and what makes each one unique, especially based on the mintage, mint mark, and dates.

1937 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value

1937 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel

  • Type: Buffalo Nickels
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint mark: None
  • Minting Location: Philadelphia
  • Year of minting: 1937
  • Face value: Five cents
  • $ Price: $0.50 to $17 (or more)
  • Quantity produced: 79,485,769
  • Designer: James Earle Fraser
  • % Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
  • Mass: 5.000 grams
  • Diameter: 21.21 mm (0.8350 inches)

The details above show that the mint in Philadelphia struck most of the 1937 Buffalo nickels. With this number, this particular coin is Abundant on the rarity scale. You can identify it by checking for any mint marks. If there is none, the coin is from the Philly mint.

Consequently, the number of coins also affects its value. Since there are many of them in circulation, the Philly coin is not in high demand by collectors. But there are variables; this coin can sell for a high amount if there are unique errors or a collector needs it for a specific purpose.

1937 ‘S’ Buffalo Nickel Value

1937 ‘S’ Buffalo Nickel Value

  • Type: Buffalo Nickels
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint mark: S
  • Minting Location: San Francisco
  • Year of minting: 1937
  • Face value: Five cents
  • $ Price: $0.50 to $19 (or more)
  • Quantity produced: 5,635,000
  • Designer: James Earle Fraser
  • % Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
  • Mass: 5.000 grams
  • Diameter: 21.21 mm (0.8350 inches)

The San Francisco-minted 1937 Buffalo nickels are the rarest of that year because of the number minted and in circulation. First, there is the unique S mint mark, which usually draws a lot of interest. Then, there is the fact that it is few in circulation, which increases the demand for it.

In mint condition, a 1937-S Buffalo nickel is worth about $50, which is much more than its face value of five cents. However, this is not a fixed value because an MS 68 coin once sold for as much as $29,000.

1937 ‘D’ Buffalo Nickel

1937 ‘D’ Buffalo Nickel

  • Type: Buffalo Nickels
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint mark: D
  • Minting Location: Denver
  • Year of minting: 1937
  • Face value: Five cents
  • $ Price: $0.50 to $18 (or more)
  • Quantity produced: 17,826,000
  • Designer: James Earle Fraser
  • % Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
  • Mass: 5.000 grams
  • Diameter: 21.21 mm (0.8350 inches)

This coin is the second most valuable on our list of 1937 Buffalo nickels. It was minted in Denver, so it typically carries a D mint mark. You will find the mint mark on the reverse, under the denomination, or the words FIVE CENTS.

The Denver coins are exactly the same as the others apart from the mint mark. But a few of the minted ones have an error on the reverse where the bison has only three legs. While the error is not widespread, it is enough to draw attention and significantly increase the value.

History of the 1937 Buffalo Nickel

The Indian Head nickel, as this coin is also called, was designed as part of a solution to the coinage that existed at that time. President Roosevelt did not like the artistic design of the coinage and wished to change it.

Initially, the coinage could not be redesigned until it had been in use for at least 25 years. This law was passed in 1890, so the old five-cent coin could not be redesigned until it hit the quarter-century mark. But once it did, the president was quick to demand a redesign to beautify the coinage, including four gold pieces and the cent.

A foreign artist was hired, but he was sick with cancer and could only provide designs for the double eagle and the eagle coins. The rest of the coinage was designed by assistants, including the cent, and they went into circulation much later than the first two coins.

The Liberty head nickel was in use that year, and by the time the assistants would redesign the other coins, the Liberty head nickel had been in use for 25 years. So, it was due for a redesign and was included in the plan.

This was in 1909, but the first design was not well received by the mint director. However, it was not until 1913 that the Indian chief and buffalo design by James Fraser was accepted, stuck on the coin, and went into circulation.

Apart from the usual coins, there were also Proof nickels that appeared in 1937. These Proof nickels have no mint mark, which means they were struck in Philadelphia. A Proof coin is typically struck on customized planchets with special dies.

It comes out of the mint with high luster due to special burnishing and dies chemically treated to produce excellent clarity. The result is that such a coin is much better than the other coins, which makes it more valuable. Only a few of them were minted in 1937, and one may be worth as much as $40,000.

1937 Buffalo Nickel Grading

A coin grading scale provides an avenue to tell what a coin is worth based on its condition. While there are four main categories under which you can label a coin, the grading scale further breaks the grading into levels within each category.

We leave you a video that shows how to grade a 1937 Buffalo nickel and get the actual worth for those in your possession.

List of 1937 Buffalo Nickel Errors

Some errors occurred while minting some 1937 Buffalo nickels, including the following:

1. 1937-D Buffalo Nickel 3-Leg Error

1937-D Buffalo Nickel 3-Leg Error

We have discussed this error in detail, but it is still worthy of mention. It occurred in only a few thousand coins and refers to the bison on the reverse having only three legs. This error was due to over-polishing the dies and rubbing off one of the legs.

2. 1937 Buffalo Nickel RPM Error

1937 Buffalo Nickel RPM Error

This error occurs when the mint mark is re-punched to create another mint mark on top f the original. For some, the error occurs two times, while others are re-punched three times.

The error can also occur when coins are recycled in a different mint from the original and the mint mark of the second mint appears on top of the first one. It can be D/S or S/D. The error is not peculiar to any mint, so you may notice it with a 1937-D or 1937-S Buffalo nickel.

1937 Buffalo Nickel FAQs

What makes a 1937 Buffalo nickel valuable?

The worth of a 1937 Buffalo nickel usually lies in the date and mint mark of the coin. The date may determine how rare the coin is, based on mintage.

And the mint mark shows where it was struck. However, the most important factor is the condition or grade. The higher the coin is on the grading scale, the more valuable it should be.

What is the error on a 1937 Buffalo nickel?

There are a few errors on this coin, such as the RPM error. However, the most prominent error is the 3-legged buffalo error. Only a few coins have this error, and if you have one you may get tens of thousands of dollars, especially in mint state.

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