» 1934 Buffalo Nickel Error List & Value

1934 Buffalo Nickel Error List & Value

1934 Buffalo Nickel Value

The 1934 Buffalo Nickel is one of the most sought-after coins in the series that was produced from 1913 until 1938. Even though they are popular coins, they are still reasonably affordable at the lower grades. However, coins at higher grades can be worth thousands. What makes these coins so valuable?

In this article, we will delve into the story of the 1934 Buffalo Nickel, exploring its history, design, and value in today’s coin market. So continue reading to find out how much you can buy or sell a 1934 buffalo nickel for.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart

Mint Mark Good – G4 Fine – F12 Uncirculated – MS60 Mint State – MS63
1934 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value $1.42 $2.81 $55 $74
1934 D Buffalo Nickel Value $1.71 $4.52 $91 $140

1934 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value

1934 No Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value
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In 1934, the Philadelphia Mint produced nickels without a mint mark. In total, there were

20,213,003 no-mint mark buffalo nickels were released for circulation that year.

While a 1934 no-mint mark buffalo nickel graded as good is only worth around $1.42, an uncirculated nickel can be worth upwards of $55. The most valuable buffalo nickel sold to date was graded as MS67 and sold for over $8,500.

History of the Buffalo Nickel

Early American coins usually featured the symbolic figure of Lady Liberty. The coins were produced in low relief, which resulted in almost two-dimensional coins. This was intentional as coins with high relief and a lot of detail were more difficult to mint. Highly detailed coins were also more expensive to produce. Therefore the early coins were simple in their design.

However, in 1904, the 35th US President, Theodore Roosevelt, said that the US Mint should produce more attractive coins that had more artistic merit. To fill the brief, external artists were brought in, including the president’s friend Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

He never completed the task as he died before it was finished, so his assistants took over the design. The assistants included James Earle Fraser and Victor David Brenner, the designer of the Lincoln cent.

Design Issues

The artists who took over the task clashed with Charles E. Barber who was the Chief Mint Engraver at the time. Barber was behind designs used on nickels, quarters, and dimes. When Roosevelt asked for all these coins to be redesigned, he felt like his life’s work was being dismissed.

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Other issues arose from the fine detail and texture the artists wanted to be included in the new nickel. The various points of high relief and multiple design elements resulted in coins that were bumpy and busy. They also made the coins more expensive to mint.

Despite his objections, Barber had to accept the new design for the new coins, including the nickel. However, he often made subtle changes to the designs so they would be cheaper and easier to mint. Some of the changes he made were lower relief levels and repositioned elements.

1934 D Buffalo Nickel Value

1934 D Buffalo Nickel Value

There were 7,480,000 buffalo nickels produced at the Denver Mint in 1934. You can identify the nickels minted in Denver from the small D below the denomination on the reverse of the coin. There are two varieties of the D minted nickels from 1934. Some have larger D mint marks than the other variety. There is little difference in the valuation of the different D varieties.

A 1934 buffalo nickel in fine condition is worth about $4.50. An almost uncirculated (AU) buffalo nickel from 1934 is worth $50, an MS60 can sell for about $91, and an MS63 for $140. The higher the grade, the higher the price, such as the MS66+ graded 1934 D buffalo nickel that sold for more than $11,000.

The Obverse Design of the 1934 Buffalo Nickel

The design on the obverse features a profile of a Native American, which faces to the right. He is wearing a traditional Native American feather headdress and his hair is tied back. The word “LIBERTY” is inscribed on top of the profile and the date “1934” is located to the right of the image. The letter F, which stands for the designer James Earle Fraser, is below the date.

The Reverse Design of the 1934 Buffalo Nickel

On the reverse is an image of an American bison. The bison is also called the buffalo, which is where the coin’s nickname comes from. The bison is standing on a raised mound and depicted in a stylized way with muscular features and a hump on its back.

The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” are inscribed along the top rim of the coin and the denomination “FIVE CENTS” is at the bottom below the bison. The mint mark, if present, is located to the right of the denomination.

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Other 1934 Buffalo Nickel Features

The 1934 buffalo nickels are made of 25% nickel and 75% copper. The coins weigh 5 grams and have a diameter of 21.2 millimeters. The nickels have a plain edge with no lettering or reeding.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Grading

1934 Buffalo Nickels, like all other coins, are graded on a scale of 1 to 70 by third-party grading services such as Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

Grading is the process of evaluating a coin’s condition and assigning a corresponding grade based on the amount of wear, damage, and other factors. The higher the grade, the better the condition of the coin.

Grades used to describe coins start with Poor (PO1) and finish with MS70. The final grade is for coins that are in perfect condition. Grades in the middle include good (G4) to very good (VG8) and fine (F12) to extremely fine (EF45). About Uncirculated (AU50 to AU58) is used for coins that only have slight signs of wear and tear. MS grades are for mint state, uncirculated coins.

Rare 1934 Buffalo Nickel Error Lists

While the majority of coins released into circulations are faultless, there are some that have errors that result from the minting process. When a design has been approved, a reducing machine is used to craft a coin prototype.

There are several stages to this process, which involve, rubber, epoxy, and plaster. The final stage is the creation of a steel master hub, which is used to make a working hub, a master die as well as the working dies.

The working dies are used to strike planchets, which are plain coins. Sometimes the target, which is the planchet, can move or is incorrectly inserted into the machine. This results in errors, which can increase the value of the coin.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Off-Center Error

1934 Buffalo Nickel Off-Center Error
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When a coin is not inserted correctly into the coin-making machine or it moves during the process, the image is struck off-center. On the buffalo nickel, which is a very closely cropped coin, the effect of off-centering can be striking.

A known off-center error on the 1935 buffalo nickel has the design 10% off-center. Instead of the design covering the surface of the coin, there is some blank silver left at the bottom on the back and the top on the front of the coin. Graded as MS64, the coin was sold for $580.

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1934 Buffalo Nickel Planchet Error

Sometimes, a wrong planchet gets inserted into the coin machine by accident. If the design is struck on a planchet that is smaller than it should be, part of the design will be sliced off.

In the case of the 1934 buffalo nickel, it was struck on a one-cent planchet that was 19.05 millimeters in diameter compared to the 21.21 millimeters of the actual nickel planchet which meant that a part of the words and date was cut off. In addition, it is copper rather than silver colored. Grades as MS62, the coin is worth $4,600.

1934 D Buffalo Nickel Strike Through Error

Strike through errors occur when a foreign object somehow slips between the planchet and the die. When the die strikes the coin, the silhouette of the object is imprinted on the coin.

On the 1934 D nickel, the strike-through error caused dimpling on the hump on the bison’s back. Because the nickel is highly textured, it is hard to spot this error. You may need to check for it using a magnifying glass. At MS63, the coin is worth approximately $215.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Three-Legged Buffalo Error

The 1934 three-legged buffalo nickel is a popular error coin caused by excessive polishing of the reverse die. This resulted in the front right leg of the buffalo being nearly or completely obliterated. The error is only found on certain nickels from the Denver Mint. It is estimated that approximately 24,000 to 40,000 of these coins were produced before the issue was corrected.

Because the 1934 three-legged buffalo coins are rare, they are highly sought after by collectors. The exact value of these error coins depends on the overall appearance of the coin. Circulated three-legged buffalo coins in good condition can be worth from a few to several hundred dollars. If the coin is in an MS condition, it can be valued at thousands of dollars.

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1934 Buffalo Nickel Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a 1934 Buffalo Nickel valuable?

In general, the value of a 1934 Buffalo nickel is determined by several factors, including its condition, rarity, and any specific varieties or errors. Coins that have a high grade are more valuable because they are more pleasing to the eye since they are not damaged and show no signs of corrosion.

Some buffalo nickels from 1934 are rarer than others. When coins are not common, this increases their value to the collectors.

1934 buffalo nickels with errors can also be more valuable than regular strike coins. However, not all errors, especially if they are fairly common errors, will increase the value of the coin. The valuation of the error coins depends on their overall condition, too.

How do I know if my Buffalo Nickel is valuable?

Determining the value of a Buffalo nickel depends on several factors, such as its date, mint mark, condition, and any notable varieties or errors. Here are some steps you can take to determine if your Buffalo nickel is valuable before sending it to a professional grading service.

  1. Check the date and the mint mark: The date and mint mark of the coin can be found on the obverse and reverse, respectively. The mint mark is a small letter located under the denomination on the reverse side. Knowing the date and mint mark is important because some years and mint marks are rarer and more valuable than others.
  2. Check if the coin is rare: Once you know the date and mint mark, you can find out how rare the coin is. Look up the number of coins for the year and mint mark to see how many were produced. Generally, lower mintage figures indicate a rarer and more valuable coin.
  3. Assess the coin’s condition: The condition of the coin is also important. A coin that is in excellent condition, such as Mint State or Proof, will be worth more than a circulated coin with wear and tear. Look for signs of wear and tear or corrosion on the coin’s surface.
  4. Look for varieties and errors: Some Buffalo nickels have notable varieties or errors that can make them more valuable. For example, the 3-legged buffalo nickels or 1916 doubled die obverse nickels are highly sought after by collectors.
  5. Get it appraised: If you think your coin may be valuable and you want to sell it, it is a good idea to get the coin professionally valued. This will validate its value, which is important to many collectors, especially with highly-priced coins.

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