1927 Buffalo Nickel

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1927 S Buffalo Nickel CoinTrackers.com has estimated the 1927 S Buffalo Nickel value at an average of $2, one in certified mint state (MS+) could be worth $5,000.

The Buffalo nickel was the United States five cent coin minted from 1913 to 1938. Its name comes from the buffalo (i.e. American bison) pictured on the reverse design.

  • 1927 Buffalo Nickel. $6.75 to $-D Buffalo Nickel. $-S Buffalo Nickel. $8.75 to $ Buffalo Nickel. $6.75 to $-D Buffalo Nickel. $7.00 to $-S Buffalo Nickel. $7.00 to $ Buffalo Nickel. $5.25 to $-D Buffalo Nickel.
  • Buffalo Nickels. Mintage: 37,981,000. Historical Value Trends.
  • 1927 Around 45 million Buffalo nickels were made in 1927, which puts that year’s production about on par with every other year during the second half of the 1920s. As many numismatists realize when collecting Buffalo nickels on a year-by-year, 1927 marks the first year in the date-and-mintmark run where most every regular issue that follows is basically common.

Buffalo nickels are sometimes known as Indian Head nickels due to the composite portrait of an American Indian chief found on the coin's obverse. This iconic design also appears on modern gold bullion coins called American Gold Buffalos. The Gold Buffalo has been issued by the U.S. Mint each year since 2006.

American Gold Buffalo coin, the first .9999 fine gold coin issued by the U.S. Mint annually

Thanks to their recognizable design, Gold Buffalo coins remain popular with both collectors and investors. This is no doubt inspired by the history and symbolism of the Buffalo nickel. Meanwhile, the much more affordable five-cent nickels are among the most avidly collected U.S. coins.

A Note About Valuable Coins

The most valuable coins in a given series are the key dates and varieties. These are the most challenging coins to obtain regardless of their grade.

A 'key date' is usually a coin with a low mintage. Less of them were made in a particular year. This is why collectors will pay more for key date coins.

Varieties are subsets of a given year's issuance of a coin. Something special or out-of-place, such as an error, makes a variety stand out from the rest of the coins produced in that year.

Much like key dates, varieties will have lower production numbers than their common counterparts.

What follows is a list of those pieces for the Buffalo nickel series and what they're worth in well-circulated condition.

Current Prices for Buffalo Nickel Key Dates, Semi-Keys, and Varieties (Chart)

DateVarietyPrice
1913-SVariety I, Mound$50
1913-DVariety II, Line$125
1913-SVariety II$350
19144 Over 3$225
1914-Dn/a$100
1915-Sn/a$60
1916Doubled Die$3,000
1918-D8 Over 7$1,250
1921-Sn/a$90
1935Doubled Die Reverse$50
1936-D3-1/2 Legs$550
1937-D3-Legged$575

Buffalo nickels that are not included on the list above are more common. They are worth much less in circulated grades.

Circulated Buffalo nickels. Image: CC-BY-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Other Buffalo Nickel Values (Chart)

Here's what the more common Buffalo nickels are worth in well-worn grades.

DatePriceNotes
1913$10Variety I
1913-D$15Variety I
1913$10Variety II
1914$20n/a
1914-S$25n/a
1915$5n/a
1915-D$25n/a
1916$5.50n/a
1916-D$20n/a
1916-S$12n/a
1917$7n/a
1917-D$25n/a
1917-S$28n/a
1918$5.50n/a
1918-D$25n/a
1918-S$20n/a
1919$2.50n/a
1919-D$20n/a
1919-S$15n/a
1920$1.50n/a
1920-D$10n/a
1920-S$7n/a
1921$4n/a
1923$2.50n/a
1923-S$7.50n/a
1924$1.50n/a
1924-D$10n/a
1924-S$20n/a
1925$3n/a
1925-D$12n/a
1925-S$7n/a
1926$1.50n/a
1926-D$12n/a
1926-S$30n/a
1927$1.50n/a
1927-D$4n/a
1927-S$2n/a
1928–1937-S$1.25Except 1931-S and others listed above
1938-D$3n/a
1938-D$5.50D Over S

Proof Buffalo Nickel Values (Chart)

Proof coins are made specifically for collectors. They exhibit sharper details, an eye-catching finish, and are made in limited quantities.

The United States Mint made a handful of Buffalo nickels in proof before a 20-year hiatus on producing these specially struck coins.

By the time the U.S. Mint resumed making proof coins in 1936, the Buffalo nickel series was already winding down. In all, there are only seven different proof issues among all Buffalo nickels.

Here's a look at the different proof Buffalo nickels and what they're worth in an average grade of Proof-63:

DateTypePrice
1913Variety I, Proof$1,350
1913Variety II, Proof$1,000
1914Proof$800
1915Proof$900
1916Proof$1,200
1936Proof$1,000
1937Proof$950

All values listed above are for coins in typical condition that are not cleaned, damaged, or otherwise impaired. Pieces that are cleaned or otherwise damaged are worth less than the values listed above.

Buffalo Nickel Series Highlights

Buffalo nickels were struck from 1913 through 1938. They are among the most popular 20th-century United States coins around.

The coin depicts a Native American chief on the obverse and an American bison (or 'buffalo') on the reverse. This five-cent coin is beloved for its classic Old West imagery.

1913 Type I (Mound) Buffalo nickel. Image: USA CoinBook

Many older numismatists can still recall when Buffaloes made regular appearances in circulation. These beautiful nickels are widely collected by hobbyists of all ages.

In addition to its rugged design by James Earle Fraser, one of the many reasons the Buffalo nickel series has enjoyed timeless appeal is its numerous key dates, semi-keys, and varieties.

Buffalo nickels offer collectors limitless opportunities for numismatic challenges both great and small. Hobbyists of all financial means can assemble a nice set of these classic coins.

Most Buffalo nickels are quite common, and thus they are relatively affordable. Yet there are several rarer pieces that are very valuable. But how much is a Buffalo nickel worth?

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Buffalo nickels vary widely in price, from as little as 20 or 30 cents for pieces on which the date has been completely obliterated through heavy wear to thousands of dollars for rarities in Gem Uncirculated condition.

Tips for Collecting Buffalo Nickels

The Buffalo nickel series is expansive to say the least. It encompasses 71 regular-issue nickels along with major varieties and seven proofs.

In circulated condition, only a handful of Buffalo nickels are truly scarce and exorbitantly expensive.

Conversely, the majority of dates are quite pricey in uncirculated condition, particularly in grades of MS-64 or MS-65 or better.

There are many ways that one can build a nice collection of Buffalo nickels.

You can surely assemble an entire date-and-mintmark set of Buffalo nickels. Unfortunately, this is often cost prohibitive for many hobbyists, even if they’re pursuing “just” the circulated pieces.

Let’s examine a few affordable alternatives to building an entire set of Buffalo nickels:

1927 Buffalo Nickel
  • Build a short set. Many collectors narrow down their Buffalo nickel sets to only the most common dates. This includes coins struck between 1934 through 1938.
    This significantly reduces the number of coins necessary to complete a set. Oftentimes those who pursue this short set will prefer quality over quantity. That means only going after higher-grade examples.

  • Assemble a year set. A collector may seek one example from each year, regardless of mintmark. This is in lieu of chasing after each date-and-mintmark combination.
    You can build a set of Buffalo nickels spanning the entire series run without breaking the bank. A year set can help a collector avoid virtually all of the expensive semi-key and key dates.

  • Focus on only regular-issue business strike coins (not varieties). Finishing a more challenging set complete with varieties and proofs gets very costly. Collectors may find a happy medium by building a regular-issue run of business-strikes.
    This would still be a pretty expensive endeavor! But such a set lacks the super-expensive varieties such as the 1916 doubled die and 1937 3-legged nickels.

Most Buffalo nickels only really become collectible when the date is at least partially visible. Basically that translates into an example grading About Good-3 to Good-4.

Many hobbyists prefer that the bison exhibits a full horn. This is usually seen at a grade of Very Fine-20 or higher.

Regardless of the coin's grade, the nicer the piece, the stronger chance it improves in value down the line.

Besides, high-quality coins are simply more desirable than subpar pieces. Numismatists always find more satisfaction with coins boasting high-quality surfaces and overall excellent eye appeal.

Like the modern Gold Buffalo, the Indian Head nickel has inspired many fantastic and artistic items on today's bullion market. In addition to a one-time commemorative Silver Buffalo coin issued by the U.S. Mint in 2001, private refineries across the United States regularly make Silver Buffalo rounds.

Several talented medallic artists (sculptors and engravers) have even taken their inspiration from the American Buffalo theme even further. Some examples are The Hunter silver round and the Silver Buffalo round (antique finish), exclusively available for purchase at Gainesville Coins! See below:

$31.27
$31.27
$31.27

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and blogger who has won multiple awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. He has also authored numerous books, including works profiling the history of the United States Mint and United States coinage.

More related content:

Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 2/8/2021: Gold $1813 Silver $26.90


Your 1927 nickel value is part of the later years of production, where many coins survive until today.

However, the appeal of the series and the large numbers of collectors assembling collections has continued to drive values up. Certain date and mintmark combinations are especially elusive.

1927 nickel value is stronger for the branch mints of this year. The 'D' and 'S' mint Buffalo's are found less often.

It is the condition of your nickel that has the greatest impact on value. The 'Uncirculated' 1927 Buffalo nickel pictured is highly prized by rare coin dealers because of condition. Huge swings in value follow the better condition coins. There are 'Grading' images below to help guide through this part of determining value.

The date, the mint that struck the coin, and very important- the condition. This combination uncovers how much your buffalo nickel is worth.

1927 nickel value is listed according to the three different mints that produced the coins and in four grading categories.

More about grading your coins is found below.

1927 Buffalo Nickel

The 'D' or 'S' in the listing indicates the mint that produced the coin. D - Denver Mint, S - San Francisco Mint, no mintmark for the Philadelphia Mint. Locate the mintmark on the reverse under the Buffalo.

1927 Nickel Value
Condition of Coin
DateGoodFineExtremely
Fine
Uncirculated
1927 Nickel Value Updated 2021
1927 $0.62 $1.60 $9 $29
1927 D $2.16 $5 $53 $119
1927 S $0.95 $3 $63 $937

1927 Buffalo Nickel Error

Gem 1927 Buffalo Nickel Value

The goal of a collector is finding a 1927 Buffalo nickel with the least amount of disturbance to the surface and the smallest of imperfections.

However, the handling of coins is not kind to them. Starting at the mint, just after striking, a pristine coin emerges. The rest of their journey from then until now begins to quickly take its toll on the surface of the coin.

Freshly minted coins are emptied into large bins, later scooped and counted into bags. Many bags are heaped onto one another. All of this shaking about inflicts abrasions, nicks and bruises to the coin's surface. Once a perfect coin is now quickly showing the effects of grouping with other coins.

At least one San Francisco minted 1927 nickel avoided unwanted harm. A bright, lustrous and with a few light marks, an outstanding example realized $2990 at a David Lawrence Rare Coin Auction. A committed search added one more coin to a determined collector's collection.

Condition Raises 1927 Nickel Value

Of the many variables considered as you value your old nickel, accurate 'grading' of its condition is one of the more challenging. Compare your coins to the images, and with a little study, it is possible to identify those in the valuable, higher grades.

Uncirculated: A 1927 buffalo nickel in this condition stands out as a superior coin. It never circulated, therefore its surfaces show no signs of wear. Handle coins in Uncirculated condition by their edges to preserve their surfaces. Rotate the coin under a light, examine the cheek of the Indian and upper back of the buffalo for signs of wear, appearing as dullness on the high spots.

Extremely Fine: This coin shows evidence of use and was collected from circulation before to much wear took place. A nice coin with abundant detail, although the hair braid is reduced and shows some loss of detail.

Fine: Also a collectable grade for a 1927 nickel, the coin has a pleasing but worn appearance. A full bold date with legends separated from the rims, increases this grade from a lesser one. Design details are visible on both the Buffalo and Indian.

Good: The top edges of the lettering next to the rim have joined and blurred the distinction, noticeable on both obverse and reverse. Also defining the grade are extensive flat areas of the head, shoulder and hip across the Buffalo.

Coin Values CoinStudy Articles

Date by Date
In Depth Buffalo Nickel Value
1913 to 1938

1913

1919

1926

1934

1914

1920

1927

1935

1915

1921

1928

1936

1916

1923

1929

1937

1917

1924

1930

1938

1918

1925

1931

Check all your buffalo nickel values with the chart and separate the common from the rare. Rising prices, increasing demand from both collectors and rare coin dealers requires a second look at your coins.

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