ยป 1920 Buffalo Nickel Error List & Value

1920 Buffalo Nickel Error List & Value

1920 buffalo nickel value

The 1920 Buffalo Nickel is one of the most intriguing coins in the history of North American numismatics. It is the second coin to feature a Native American face. The coin is also known as an Indian Nickel or an Indian Head.

The elements of North America, such as the American eagle or native Indians, have appeared on several coins. But none has captured the connection with the roots of the American past as well as the Buffalo Nickel.

Despite being a very popular coin, it did not have the same internal approval because it was a difficult coin to mint and had many modifications.

The coin was only in circulation for the 25 years required to change its design again. Even though many coins were printed during those years, finding a copy in good condition today can be difficult.

That is why we have created this guide to help you understand everything you should consider when evaluating one of these coins, whether you are interested in buying or selling it.

1920 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart

Quality 1920 Buffalo Nickel Value 1920 Denver (D) Buffalo Nickel Value 1920 San Francisco (S)Buffalo Nickel Value
Good $1.72 $9.14 $5.15
Fine $3.31 $35 $30
Extremely Fine $17 $315 $218
MS 60 $75 $658 $632
MS 65 $163 $1,594 $1,983

The 1920 Buffalo Nickel is part of a collection of coins produced for only 25 years. The number of years required to transition to a new currency.

This change was caused by several factors, the most important of which was the difficulty in producing this coin.

The Buffalo Nickel was part of an attempt to give American coins greater artistic merit in the Roosevelt government. Many coins at the time had simple, boring designs that were very easy to mint.

Lady Liberty, the protagonist of most coins until the early twentieth century, was left out of the designs, giving way to coins with the faces of former presidents on the obverse. This deviated from the founding fathers’ tradition of not depicting actual people on coins.

The Buffalo Nickel is one of the last coins without a president on the obverse, making it even more unique.

The design was credited to James Earle Fraser, who was also a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the artist who was originally commissioned to create the change for various American coins. Saint-Gaudens only designed two coins before dying of cancer before completing the commission.

Many of his polishers, including Fraser, would continue with this commission to embellish American coins and were the creators of great coins such as the Lincoln Cent and the Mercury Dime.

1920 No Mint Mark (Philadelphia) Buffalo Nickel Value

1920 No Mint Mark (Philadelphia) Buffalo Nickel Value
Image Credit: USA Coin Book

The Philadelphia Mint produces the majority of American coins. There have been very few occasions when Philadelphia has not minted coins or carried the heaviest burden of production.

This is because the Philadelphia Mint is the primary location for coin minting. And, as the main headquarters, they decided not to mark the coins with a mint mark, so if you see your coin and can’t find the mint mark, you should know right away that those coins belong to the Philadelphia factory.

The Philadelphia Mint produced 63,093,000 coins in 1920. Buffalo nickels, also known as Indian heads, are made up of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

As part of the Roosevelt administration’s project to beautify American coins, these coins were designed by James Earle Fraser.

It was a coin with numerous manufacturing flaws. They have an amazing design on both the front and back, but the design was not the best fit in terms of functionality.

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While everyone adored this coin, the mint officials struggled during its production and it ran into numerous issues, which is why it only lasted a short time.

It was minted between 19013 and 1938. The coin was changed as soon as the statutory 25-year period for making a new design expired.

The main reason was that the design caused the dies to wear and break four times faster than normal. This required large sums of money that were not anticipated during the coin’s production, so it was not a profitable coin.

However, because it has only been minted for 25 years, it is not very common and cannot be found in large quantities. It is a coin that new collectors can easily acquire in acceptable degrees of conservation.

Although it is also a coin that has a market among the most experienced.


1920 nickel Obverse
Image Credit: eBay

The coin’s obverse depicts the face of an American Indian. This is the second coin to feature a Native American face.

We do not count the Indian Head Eagle or the Indian Head Cent, since in the two coins the face is that of Lady Liberty, a woman with Caucasian features in indigenous clothing and not a true Native American.

The image on the obverse was also a source of contention, as the artist was frequently asked who was the model for the coin, and James Earle Fraser always replied that it was a composite of several faces.

However, many people came forward to claim that they were the coin’s models. All claims to be the true Buffalo Nickel models faded over time.

Longacre was eventually proven to be based on three real Native Americans. Iron Tail, Two Moons, and Big Tree are legendary bosses.

The obverse of the coin depicts a profile of an American Indian with long hair gathered in a braid and decorated with feathers.

The word LIBERTY is read on the top right edge of the coin, and the minting date is below the shoulders of the American Indian.

The letter F, the artist’s last name’s initial, can be seen just below the minting


1920 nickel Reverse

A bison appears on the coin’s reverse. The coin is called the Buffalo Nickel, but the animal depicted on it is a bison, not a buffalo because buffaloes are only found in Africa and Asia.

However, bison are known as American buffaloes, so the coin’s name isn’t so absurd after all. The figure of the bison is one of the most beautiful and well-executed in the American numismatic tradition.

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In general, the design has been highly praised, not only by the general public but also by coin experts, but when it came to minting, the reverse presented just as many challenges as the obverse.

If you have a coin that has been in circulation, chances are it no longer has the date, the designer’s initials, or the mint mark.

This coin was also made in Denver and San Francisco, so the wear on the coins has a big impact on determining which factory they came from and what year they are.

The bison is the protagonist of the reverse. It is known that the model was a Bronx Zoo animal. The reverse design was modified several times before it was approved, but it still caused problems later.

On the top edge of the coin, it says UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The words FIVE CENTS are also visible on the coin’s lower edge, as is the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM” in the space between the word AMERICA and the bison’s back.

Many people agree that the reverse design was not entirely neat and proportionate, despite efforts to clean it up.


In 1920, the Philadelphia Mint produced 63,0930,000 coins. There is no need to look for a mint mark on coins produced in Philadelphia.

You can get anywhere from $2 to $20 per piece if you have a coin that has been in circulation but is still in good condition, with the date and full mint mark.

Despite being in poor condition, this coin will always be valuable because it was only minted for 25 years. Uncirculated coins range in price from $20 to $80, with gem state coins commanding higher prices.

An MS 67 gem-state coin can be worth around $12,000.

1920 San Francisco (S) Buffalo Nickel Value

1920 San Francisco (S) Buffalo Nickel Value

In 1920, the San Francisco mint contributed a meager 9,689,000 coins. When we compare this amount to the Philadelphia production, we can see that there are far fewer coins of this type.

As a result, they are more expensive on the market, even if they have been in use and are not in perfect condition.

To identify a coin from San Francisco, look for the letter S just below the words FIVE CENTS on the reverse of the coin.


Depending on the degree of conservation, a coin in circulation can cost anywhere from $5 to $200. If you are fortunate enough to own a coin that has never been in circulation, you can expect to receive at least 600 dollars for it.

If you want to add one of these MS 65 gem-grade coins to your collection, you should budget at least $2,000 for each copy. The highest quality copies, such as an MS 67, can be worth around $12,000.

1920 Denver (D) Buffalo Nickel Value

1920 Denver (D) Buffalo Nickel Value

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The Denver mint produced nearly the same number of coins as the other branch in San Francisco, but fewer coins of this type have survived, making them the most expensive coins in this collection.

To identify a Denver coin, simply look at the reverse of the coin and look below the year of minting. If you see the letter “D,” it is the mint mark used to distinguish Denver coins.


Denver coins are extremely rare, so pay attention to the coins you have because a Denver coin can earn you a small amount of money even if it is in poor condition.

A circulating coin in good condition will cost you at least ten dollars. In addition, the highest grade of coins in circulation can cost up to $300.

In the lowest grade, uncirculated coins cost $700. A coin with the gem grade MS 65 costs $1600.

1920 Buffalo Nickel Grading

The degree of conservation in the coins is critical to determine their true value. We discuss concepts in this video that will help you become acquainted with everything you need to know to identify and value a collector’s coin.

Rare 1920 Buffalo Nickel Error List

The 1920 Buffalo Nickel was a difficult coin to produce and had numerous machine issues. It is known that the dies wore out and broke three times faster than usual, and in general, it was a coin that required a significant amount of effort and resources to produce.

The design made it difficult for the coins to be minted correctly, resulting in numerous errors. In this section, we will discuss the most common errors found in the 1920 Buffalo Nickel.

1920 Buffalo Nickel Reverse Cud Error

1920 Buffalo Nickel Reverse Cud Error
Image Credit: Heritage Auctions

This cud break occurs whenever the dies wear down and crack or break. Because this coin had to be struck several times to be minted, the dies wore out faster than usual, and the long time it took to replace them resulted in numerous errors.

In normal conditions, one of these coins costs around $65.

1920 Buffalo Nickel Obverse Lamination

1920 Buffalo Nickel Obverse Lamination

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This error can be confused with that of a cud break since they look similar, but this error occurs when some contaminating element enters the copper, tin, and zinc alloy that this coin has. That’s why it looks like it’s coming off.

Two of these examples sold for $4,900.

1920 Buffalo Nickel Struck 40% Off-Centre on a Penny Planchet

1920 Buffalo Nickel Struck 40% Off-Centre on a Penny Planchet

This is possibly the most well-known error because there are two of them. There was a wrong planchet here, and it was also minted out of place, leaving a blank space on the coin.

This coin is one-of-a-kind and sold for $12,337 in 2017. MS 64 gem grade was assigned to the coin.

1920 Buffalo Nickel FAQ

Is my 1920 Buffalo nickel worth anything?

Depending on the condition of the coin will determine its value. Coins that have been in circulation can cost anywhere from $2 to $200. However, the coins are not circular and in gem, the state is worth thousands of dollars.

How rare is a 1920 nickel?

They are not rare coins, but they are valuable, so if you have one make sure to find out what its value is and if it is worth having it certified and sell it with the help or advice of specialists.

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