A 1937 Buffalo Nickel in good condition sells for a minimum of $0.50 because it common. However, if you have one in much better condition like an MS 65 and above, you can get as much as $24 for it.
On the other hand, finding a 1937 Buffalo Nickel with a valuable error like the famous ‘3 leg’ will sell for much more. We have complied and explained everything you need to understand about How much is a 1937 Buffalo Nickel Worth.
The 1937 Buffalo Nickel
Although officially known as the Indian Head Nickel, the Buffalo Nickel remains one of the most beautiful coins produced by the US Mint. It contained 75% copper and 25% nickel and its features were known to wear off easily.
The US Mint produced the coin from Feburary 22, 1913 till 1938 when its production ended without any opposition. This makes its 1937 series the second to the last one minted before it got replaced. While the Jefferson nickel would come to replace it 25 years later, the 1937 indian head nickel has secured a place in almost every coin collection.
The 1937 Buffalo Nickel’s history did not start in its year of production. In fact, some numismatic historians believe that it goes as far back as 1911 when Eames MacVeagh, son of Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh wrote a letter to his father, stating the possibility and opportunity to beautify the design of the nickel.
Shortly after this letter, the Mint announced an intention to solicit new designs for the nickel. Sculptor James Earle Fraser quickly submitted several wonderful designs, one of which was approved.
Although the new Mint director initially preferred a design that depicted the late President Abraham Lincoln, Fraser’s new design that had an Indian and a Bison profile easily superseded this preference.
With such an impressive course of events, one would expect the production of the Buffalo Nickel to kickoff without a hitch. However, the Hobbs Manufacturing Company had objections based on the coin’s designs which delayed its production till the following year. The coin eventually went into production in 1913 with the Mints at Denver, Philadelphia, and San Fransisco striking the coins through its years of production.
The coins however had a tendency to wear easily and took a toll on the dies, leading to an easy replacement after 25 years of its minting.
The 1937 Buffalo Nickel has simple but powerful features that represented its designer’s intention to produce something entirely American.
Its obverse carries an Indian’s right-side profile with the word “LIBERTY” struck at the area of the profile’s forehead. You will find the coin’s year of production which in this case is 1937 at the bottom left of the coin. The “F” directly below this date represents Fraser’s initials, all 1937 Buffalo Nickel have this letter.
The coin’s reverse has the left-side profile of a Bison at its center with the coin’s denomination “FIVE CENTS” below it. At the top, you will find “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and below that, to the right hand side is the famous motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
As regards the Indian’s identity that Fraser used, he gave several names and stories that proved inconsistent over the years. Several people have also come to claim the honour of being the model for the coin’s obverse but no one knows who really did it.
Although the obverse profile was eventually a composite of several indians, Fraser was only consistent with two out of four names.
On the other hand, Fraser named Black Diamond, an American Bison as the model used. However, the horns on this particular bison differ from the profile on the coin’s reverse. Several numismatic historians believe that Bronx, the leader of a Bison herd at the Bronx Zoo was the model used.
Mint Marks and Varieties
Three mints were responsible for producing the 1937 Buffalo Nickel, the Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Mints. Of these three, the San Francisco mint produced the lowest number in 1937.
1937-D Buffalo Nickel
The Denver mint struck the second highest number of buffalo nickels in 1937 after the Philadelphia mint. The total number of produced coins was 17,826,000. Coins from this mint carry a “D” under its denomination on the coin’s reverse.
1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel
This series came from a pure accident that went unnoticed for some time. An employee at the Denver mint tried to remove scratches and marks from dies that were stored together. However, the employee overpolished the dies, resulting in one of the bison’s forelegs disappearing, hence the 1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel.
Numismatists believe that only about 10,000 of these coins survived after the mints recalled the majority of them. This makes this variety rare and more expensive than the others.
It is important to note that some folks manually polish a standard 1937-D Indian nickel to sell it as the error counterpart. Make sure to have an expert appraiser or numismatist take a look at it, they will know if it’s counterfeit or original.
1937-P Buffalo Nickel (No Mint Mark)
Coins struck at the Philadelphia mint carried no mint mark and, in this case, have the highest total number of the series. Generally, the 1937-P Buffalo Nickel does not fetch much because of its abundance in circulation.
1937-S Buffalo Nickel
The San Francisco mint produced the least number of 1937 buffalo nickels with a total of 5,635,000. As a result of this, coins with the “S” mint mark tend to fetch more when selling.
|Mint series/Variety||Total Minted Number|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel||17,826,000|
|1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel||Around 10,000 survived|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel||79,485,769|
|1937-S Buffalo Nickel||5,635,000|
How Rare is the 1937 Buffalo Nickel?
With a total of 31,409,769 produced 1937 buffalo nickels, this coin is on the common side of the spectrum. However, most of the available coins are simply in good condition, making finding one in mint state (MS) a feat. If you find one with an MS 66 grade or higher, it will sell for much more.
On the other hand, genuine 1937-D ‘3 legs’ buffalo nickels are quite rare and have higher values, especially in top condition. When building a collection, some start with dedicating resources to acquiring the rare variety first and then easily obtain the common ones after. Others simply do it the other way round.
1937 Buffalo Nickel Value
The worth of your 1937 buffalo nickel heavily depends on its condition, assuming it isn’t the 3-leg error type. You can either grade the coin on your own or take it to an expert numismatist, the latter is better if the coin is in mint state.
This way, you can ascertain if the coin qualifies for higher listings at auctions or on online platforms. Below are the main categories if you want to grade the coin independently.
Coins in this condition display heavy wear and damage, especially in areas of the profiles hair and face on the obverse. Dates and other inscriptions will be difficult to read with the naked eye. It is important to note that several 1937 Indian head nickels that you will come across will fall in this condition.
This condition covers coins with less wear and damage than the good condition but is still not mild enough to escape the naked eye.
Extremely Fine condition (XF)
You can perceive this condition as the best a coin can be in circulated form. Although there are more intricate grading systems that put other categories above this one, you can make do with this since most well-preserved 1937 buffalo nickels fall in this category.
Damages and wear look mild and hard to detect with the naked eye.
Also broadly known as mint state (MS), this category covers coin grades that show the level of a coin’s preservation. However, it primarily means the coin has never been exchanged or spent, ensuring that it retains all its features and details from when it was struck.
1937-D Buffalo Nickel Value
Regardless of the theoretical numbers attached to this coin series, 1937-D buffalo nickel values for sold coins show that they can fetch higher. The table below shows the prices of the series under various conditions.
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – About Uncirculated (AU 55)||$14.50|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – About Uncirculated (AU 58)||$42.50|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 62||$49.95|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 64||$52|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 65||$44.88|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 66 (NGC)||$56|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 66 (PCGS)||$110|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 67 (PCGS)||$361.90|
|1937-D Buffalo Nickel – MS 67 (NGC)||$680|
1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel Value
Genuine 1937-D Buffalo Nickels with the 3 leg error fetch much more prices compared to standard ones regardless of the coin’s condition. This table shows various prices at which these coins sold in different conditions.
|1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel – Very Fine (VF 124)||$995|
|1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel – Extremely Fine (XF 40)||$861.22|
|1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel – About Uncirculated (AU 55)||$1750|
|1937-D ‘3 Leg’ Buffalo Nickel – About Uncirculated (AU 58)||$2,230|
1937-P Buffalo Nickel Value
1937 Buffalo Nickels from the Philadelphia mint have no mint mark, and since they are the most common, they cost the least. However, proof coins of higher grades fetch quite a lot, as shown in the table below.
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel – Very Fine (VF 30)||$9.99|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel – About Uncirculated (AU 58)||$10.50|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel (MS 64)||$42.00|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel (MS 65)||$70|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel (MS 66+)||$159.99|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel (MS 67+)||$585|
|1937-P Buffalo Nickel (PR 66)||$1,450|
1937-S Buffalo Nickel Value
1937-S Buffalo Nickels generally have higher values compared to the other series except for proof and error coins. The reason is that the San Francisco mint struck the lowest number of 1937 Buffalo Nickels.
|1937-S Buffalo Nickel – About Uncirculated (AU 55)||$31|
|1937-S Buffalo Nickel (MS 64)||$59.99|
|1937-S Buffalo Nickel (MS 65)||$109.99|
|1937-S Buffalo Nickel (MS 66)||$135|
Best Places to Sell Your 1937 Buffalo Nickel
The place/outlet your choice to make your sale can play a vital role in whether you get more for your coin or less. Online platforms generally yield more value than local coin or pawn shops. The reason is that relevant platforms allow auctions where people can bid for your coin, giving it to the highest bidder.
Platforms like Heritage Auctions and eBay are perfect for listing your coin for sale or auction. However, you will have to grade it first to get the best value out of the sale. Steps you need to take include:
- Signing up on any of the platforms if you don’t have an account already.
- Take good pictures of your coin(s).
- List them for sale.
Another important factor is the way you present or package the coin.
On the other hand, local coin and pawn shops can grade your coin and give cash upfront. However, there is a tendency that you will get a lesser value for the coin regardless of its grade or condition.
Several numismatists believe that the Buffalo Nickel should, in fact, be called either the Indian Head copper or Bison copper. The reason is that the coin contains more copper and nickel, which should influence its general name.
Even though the 1937 Buffalo Nickel doesn’t cost much, the older series fetch more prices at auctions. Nevertheless, this series is irreplaceable in every coin collection.
To build a collection, you can start with acquiring the more expensive proof and error coins and then move on to the cheaper and common ones.