1936 Buffalo Nickel Value and Price Chart

How Much is a 1936 Buffalo Nickel  Worth? The Buffalo Nickel, also known as the Indian Head nickel was designed by James Earl Fraser and was struck from 1913 to 1938. It is worth $1.13-$45, it could be more depending on the condition and rarity of the coin.

Interestingly the 1936 Buffalo nickel is the most minted in this series, leading the pack with a mintage of over 119 million pieces. These coins are prevalent among collectors. Its value shows that it is still in high demand.

To know how much a 1936 Buffalo nickel actually costs, you must consider factors like condition and rarity as these affect the value of your coins. They have also been sold at really high prices at auctions. This article will guide you through your journey of buying or selling your 1936 Buffalo nickels.

1936 Buffalo Nickel – History

After serving the American populace for years, the Liberty Head design by Charles E Barber was replaced by the Buffalo nickel.

1936 Buffalo Nickel
Location Minted
Philadelphia 119,001,420
Denver 24,814,000
San Francisco 14,930,000
Total 158,745,420

James Earle Fraser, a former assistant of Saint- Gaudens was given the responsibility of designing this replacement. When he heard of the Mint’s intention to change the nickel design, he immediately provided concepts and designs for them.

After two (the native Indian Head for the Obverse and American Bison for the reverse) out of three of the designs he submitted were approved in 1912, Hobbs Manufacturing Company’s disapproval of the designs delayed its release. Franklin Macveagh finally decided to go ahead with its issuance in 1913.

1936 Walking Liberty Half
Metal Composition 75% Copper – 25% Nickel
Mass/Weight 5 grams
Diameter 21.20 mm
Thickness  1.95 mm
Mint Marks “D” “S”
Silver 0.36169 troy oz
Edge Plain
Designer James Earle Fraser

Attempts were made to improve production and make it easier to strike distinctly but all efforts were to no avail as the dates of the coins in circulation still wore out easily, this is why most of these coins today are in poor condition

After the 25-year span before any design could be changed even without congressional authorization had expired, the Buffalo Nickel was replaced by the Jefferson nickel which was designed by Felix Schlag.

1936 Buffalo Nickel Design

Obverse

Obverse

There is little or no space left for anything else to be engraved on this part with a big Indian right portrait head covering almost the entire surface. It displays a native American in his headdress.

“1936” is inscribed close to the neck of the Indian while “LIBERTY” is on the right side of the coin between 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock. The Indian is depicted in their hairstyle decorated with feathers

Reverse

Reverse

The reverse side of the coin displays the Buffalo walking towards the east. Forming a perfect arch right over the hunch of the Buffalo at the periphery is inscribed “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ”. E PLURIBUS UNUM” is engraved right beneath the USA inscription on the right side of the coin. “FIVE CENTS” inscription is beneath the bison. It is also on this face, under “five cents” that you will find mint marks.

1936 Buffalo Nickel Value & Types

The 1936 Indian Head nickel was produced in three Mints each having its value.

  • Philadelphia (no mint marks)
  • Denver (D mint mark)
  • San Francisco (S mint mark)

You can find the mint mark of this coin on the reverse, right beneath the “five cents” inscription. Coins struck in the Philadelphia mint have no mint marks. You would only find the mint mark “s” for San Francisco struck coins and mint mark “d” for Denver struck coins. The Philadelphia mint produced the highest number of coins for this year, over 119,000,000 million pieces.

1936 Buffalo Nickel Value By PCGS
Year MS 60 MS 65 MS 68
1936 P $30.00 $110.00 $32,500
1936 D $40.00 $150.00 $30,000
1936 S $40.00 $120.00

1936 P Buffalo nickel

1936 P Buffalo nickel

Group Nickels
Mintage 119,001,420
Minted At Philadelphia
Mint Mark No mint mark

The 1936 Indian head nickel has an estimated value of $1.71 in average condition and can be worth $30 to $50,000 or more in uncirculated (MS+) mint condition. Buffalo nickels struck in Philadelphia have no mint marks, it is one of the most common of all three mints. It usually has a distinct strike and good luster. Below you will find some examples of some super rare 1936 P Buffalo nickel coins sold at auction

  • 1936 Brilliant finish PR68 PCGSSold on Nov 19, 2020, for $12,600.00 It is a distinctly struck, super shiny, and reflective piece. Around the center, you’ll find a rich mix of blue and lilac hues circumferenced by a lavish blend of russet, gold, green and crimson at the border. This coin is so beautiful, the corners almost look like it’s on fire. With a population of only 12, this is undoubtedly a very scarce coin.
  • 1936 type one satin finish PR68 PCGS Sold on May 31, 2012,  for$18,400.00 At the center is a pale blue color while at the rim you’d find gold and peach deep tones. This has a satin finish which is highly desired by collectors
  • 1936 Buffalo Nickel MS68 NGC Sold on August 2, 2017, for $10,575 This coin with a frosty blue center with gold and multi-toned rim, is definitely one of the most beautiful coins ever. This lovely MS68 coin has a very high visual appeal. I love how it seems like the entire face has been left totally blue while some part of the hair looks purposely highlighted with gold. The condition of this coin is impeccable, its luster and details have been well preserved.
1936 Buffalo Nickel Value by USA Coin Book
Grade                  Price
Good $1.13
Very Good $1.71
Fine $2.00
Very Fine $2.28
Extremely Fine $4.52
About Uncirculated (AU 50) $13.00
Uncirculated MS (60) $42.00
Brilliant Uncirculated MS (63) $51.00
Proof $1,268
Melt Value $0.0585
1936 Buffalo Nickel Value by PCGS
Grade                  Price
MS 60 $30.00
MS 65 $110.00
MS 67 $1,025.00
MS 67+ $2,600.00
MS 68 $32,500
MS 68+ $50,000

1936 D Buffalo Nickel Value & Chart

1936 D Buffalo Nickel

Group Nickels
Mintage 24,814,000
Minted At Denver
Mint Mark “D”

The 1936-D Buffalo nickel is worth $1.71 in average condition and can be worth $40 to $30,000 in MS 60 to MS 68+ uncirculated (MS+) mint condition. This mint is relatively scarce in mint state and gem conditions.

Below you will find a couple of 1936 Buffalo nickels (D-variation) that have sold for a significantly higher price at auction.

  • 1936-D 50C MS68 PCGS Sold on APRIL 30, 2009 for: $32,200 the eye appeal is amazing with superb strikes and a rich blend of multi tones. This is a super rare coin as only two 1936-D Buffalo Nickels have been certified in MS68 grade and both were by PCGS
  • 1936-D 50C MS67+ PCGS Sold on January 8, 2020 for:$11,400.00 The distribution of the toning on this coin is beautiful. It has obviously been adequately preserved as all details are still intact and well defined. Only 71 pieces have been graded MS67 at NGC and PCGC combined.
  • 1936 D Buffalo Nickel MS67+ PCGS Sold on November 11, 2021 for: $6,600 The rusty tones of this coin alone make it very desirable. All the details even up to the intricate hairlines are still very clearly defined. This grade of the coin with incredible visual appeal is extremely rare.
1936 D Buffalo Nickel Value By USA Coin Book
Grade Price
Good $1.13
Very Good $1.71
Fine $2.00
Very Fine $2.28
Extremely Fine $4.52
About Uncirculated (AU 50) $13.00
Uncirculated MS (60) $42.00
Brilliant Uncirculated MS (63) $51.00
Melt Value $0.585

 

1936 D Buffalo Nickel Value by PCGS
Grade (MS)  Price
MS 60 $40
MS 66+ $350
MS 67 $1,600
MS 67+ $7,250
MS 68 $30,000

1936 S Buffalo Nickel Value & Chart

1936 S Buffalo Nickel

Group Buffalo nickels
Mintage 14,930,000
Minted At San Francisco
Mint Mark S

The 1936-S Buffalo nickel is valued at $1.17 in average condition and can be worth $40 to $4795 or more in uncirculated (MS+) mint condition.

This mint is not as common as the D and P variety. Check out how much some 1936 S Buffalo sold for at auction.

  • 1936-S Buffalo Nickel struck on a Silver Dime Planchet MS62 PCGS  Sold on January 7, 2021, for $9,775.00 This 1936-S buffalo nickel was struck on a Planchet meant for the silver dime, as a result, most of the inscriptions meant to be on it did not fit in perfectly. The error has significantly increased the value of this brilliant silver luster coin.
  • 1936-S 50C MS67 PCGS Sold on Aug 14, 2018, for: $5,520.00 Everything about this coin is appealing, the multi-gold tones, the superb striking, clearly defined lines and letters, and rich luster all say why this coin is worth so much.
  • 1936-S Buffalo Nickel MS67+ NGC Sold on June 9, 2016, for: $4,230.00 On the Obverse the multicoloured tones settled richly on the left part of the coin close to the rim, while the rest of the face is a beautiful lilac color with a very little touch of colors around his forehead in what seems like a glow. At the back, the colors are dispersed all around. This coin has a superb strike and it has been well preserved.
1936 S Buffalo Coin Value By USA Coin Book
Grade              Price
Good $1.13
Very Good $1.71
Fine $2.00
Very Fine $2.28
Extremely Fine $4.52
About Uncirculated (AU 50) $13.00
Uncirculated MS (60) $42.00
Brilliant Uncirculated MS (63) $51.00
Melt Value $0.0585

 

1936 S Buffalo Coin Value By PCGS
Grade (MS)              Price
MS 60 $40.00
MS 65 $120.00
MS 65+ $130.00
MS 66 $300.00
MS 66+ $400.00
MS 67 $1,575.00
MS 67+ $4,759.00

1936 D Buffalo 3 and Half Leg Nickel Value & Chart

1936 D Buffalo 3 and Half Leg Nickel Value & Chart

This is an error that occurred from over-polishing the reverse die. Some details of the front foreleg were lost making it look weak and not very clear. So instead of having four complete legs, because of this missing part, it appears like the bison has 3 and a half legs. How many of this variety exist is unknown but by April 2011, PCGS had certified 134 examples.

This is rare, highly desired, and very valuable!

In average condition, this nickel can be gotten at $970. In Uncirculated grade MS 58 to 63 it is valued between $9,000 to $27,500. This appears to be the most valued of all varieties of the 1936 buffalo nickel, it cost even more than the Proofs.

  • 1936 D 5 cent 3 and a half legs MS62 PCGS Sold on July 28, 2005, for $14,375:  This is currently the finest grade of this variety. It is so rare PCGS has graded only 21 examples of this. The incomplete right foreleg is what makes it very desirable and valuable. This coin is a rich blend of yellow, gold and blue tones at the front and back. At the right of the front, it almost looks like “LIBERTY” is placed on the rainbow.
  • 1936 D 5 cent 3 and a half legs AU53 PCGS Sold on January 7, 2016 for $3,760

This variety is famous and highly sought after. Seeing the price that this lovely rusty tan-gold nickel sold for it is no question if this variety is appreciated and collectible.

1936 D Buffalo 3 and Half leg Nickel Value by USA Coin Book
Grade                  Price
Good $558.00
Very Good $970.00
Fine $1,713.00
Very Fine $2,813.00
Extremely Fine $5,543.00
About Uncirculated (AU 50) $9,096.00
Uncirculated MS (60) $17,055.00
Brilliant Uncirculated MS (63) $22,441.00
1936 D Buffalo 3 and half legs Nickel coin value by PCGS
Grade (MS)  Price
MS 58 $9,000
MS 58+ $10,500
MS 60 $13,000
MS 61 $15,500
MS 62 $18,000
MS 62+ $21,500
MS 63 $27,500

1936 D Buffalo Nickel Proof Coins

The 1936 buffalo nickels are significant because, after a two-decade hiatus, it was in 1936 that the Mint resumed the production of Proofs.

There were basically two types of proofs produced. The Satin Finish proofs are called Type 1 and the Brilliant Finish are called Type 2. The Satin finish was not very welcome among collectors so it had to be discontinued and only production of Brilliant finish continued since this is what collectors preferred at that time. Currently, the satin finish is still appreciated by collectors, since its production stopped long before the Brilliant finish, it is the rarest of the two.

1936 Proof Buffalo Nickel Value By GreySheet
Grade (PR)  Price
PR 60 $600
PR 61 $700
PR 67 $1750
PR 68 $5750

Frequently Asked Questions

How much are 1936 Buffalo nickels worth?

It is worth $1.13 to $45 dollars in average condition. Uncirculated conditions can cost as much as hundreds and thousands of dollars as we have seen some in this article. Carefully inspect your nickels as variations and errors can dramatically increase the price of your coins.

Where is the mint mark of the 1936 Buffalo nickel?

The mint mark is found on the reverse immediately beneath “5 cents”. Although the Philadelphia mint has no mint mark, you should expect to see mint marks for the Denver and San Francisco mints

Is the 1936 Buffalo Nickel rare?

Circulated Indian Head Nickel is definitely not rare.  This coin was struck in a large amount and there is still a reasonable amount available. Although in high uncirculated grades, it is indeed scarce.

What are the 1936 Buffalo nickel errors?

The most famous error is the 3 and half leg buffalo where the foreleg of the bison is not complete. This error occurs on the reverse and makes the bison look like it has 3 and a half legs but it was really just caused by an over-polishing die. This error is very collectible and highly valued.

Summary

The 1936 Buffalo nickels like other coins in this series got worn out very easily. Despite many attempts to improve the design so that it could strike perfectly this challenge remained. It is because of this that most coins including the 1936 nickels are mostly found in just “Good” and “fine” conditions. With all these challenges, these coins still prove to be very loved and one of the most popular amongst collectors.

There are Uncirculated grades that were preserved by banks, these are currently the most valuable.  You should go for uncirculated coins if you are looking for pieces in pristine condition. They have been very well preserved and have not lost luster and their details are still intact. The Philadelphia mint had the highest mintage for the year 1936, followed by the Denver mint and then lastly the San Francisco mint.

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