» 1938 Buffalo Nickel Error List & Value

1938 Buffalo Nickel Error List & Value

1938 Buffalo Nickel Value

Coin collectors all over the world adore the Buffalo nickel from 1938, and for a reason. This nickel has a fascinating history and distinctive design that make it a valued possession for many. It has the classic image of a Native American on one side and a buffalo on the other. So what is the current worth of this coin? In this post, we’ll examine the 1938 Buffalo nickel in more detail and discuss its value, scarcity, and importance in the field of numismatics.

1938 Buffalo Nickel Value Chart

Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated
1938 D Denver Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value $0.50 $4.00 $6.50 $40.00
1938 Buffalo Nickel Value D/D Variety Value $4.00 $6.00 $12.00 $65.00
1938 Buffalo Nickel Value D/S Variety Value $7.00 $12.00 $24.00 $120.00

1938 D Denver Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value

1938 D Denver Mint Mark Buffalo Nickel Value
Image Credit: usacoinbook

Hidden among the millions of coins produced at the Denver Mint in 1938 is a rare and unique gem that has captured the hearts of collectors and numismatists alike: the 1938-D coin.

The Denver Mint was founded in 1863 as a result of the finding of gold in Colorado. This mint created a sizable amount of coinage for the American government during World War II, including the well-known “wartime nickels” consisting of 35% silver and 9% manganese.

In 1913, the Buffalo nickel, commonly referred to as the Indian Head nickel, made its debut. It was created by renowned American sculptor and artist James Earle Fraser. The reverse of the coin has an image of an American bison, sometimes known as a buffalo, while the obverse shows a Native American picture. Up until 1938, the Buffalo nickel was still being produced, and collectors still prize it for its unique design.

The 1938-D Buffalo Nickel is a coin struck at the Denver Mint that has drawn much interest from numismatists and collectors, with only 7 million coins minted. While the Great Depression was at its worst, the government was seeking ways to reduce the cost of minting coins, which is when this specific piece was made. The consequence was the creation of the Buffalo Nickel, which had a Native American on one side and a buffalo on the other.

The 1938-D Buffalo Nickel’s value fluctuates depending on a variety of elements, including its rarity and condition. While a coin in poor condition can only be worth a few pennies, an exceptional example that has been well-preserved might be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. An exceptional 1938-D Buffalo Nickel that was uncommon and in good condition actually brought over $23,575.00 at auction in 2008.

1938 Buffalo Nickel Value D/D Variety Value

1938 Buffalo Nickel Value D/D Variety Value
Image Credit: pcgs

For coin collectors, the 1938 Buffalo Nickel D/D variation is an uncommon and intriguing piece. The dual “D” mint mark on the reverse side of the coin, which produces a distinctive visual effect, distinguishes it from other Buffalo Nickels. Because of its scarcity and unique appearance, this variant is highly sought after by coin collectors.

A miscalculation in the minting procedure resulted in the double D/D on the Buffalo Nickel D/D variant from 1938. The mint mark was only intended to be pierced once with a “D” to identify the Denver Mint when the coins were minted by the mint. Yet because the mint mark was accidentally punched twice, the letters look stacked on top of one another.

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Like all coins, the 1938 Buffalo Nickel D/D variant’s value is influenced by a variety of factors, and only a professional grader can estimate how much your particular coin might be worth. However compared to a typical 1938-D Buffalo Nickel, this coin can fetch a higher price because of its rarity. A 1938 Buffalo Nickel D/D variant in very good form as of 2023 would be worth $50 to $100 or even more, while a unique coin with an error sold for over $30,000 in 2021.

1938 Buffalo Nickel Value D/S Variety Value

1938 Buffalo Nickel Value D/S Variety Value

Another rare coin highly prized by collectors is the 1938 Buffalo Nickel D/S variation. This variant bears a mint mark that was first punched with an “S” (for San Francisco) but was later overpunched with a “D.” (for Denver). Both mint markings are clearly visible on the coin’s reverse side due to the over-punching procedure.

It is believed this coin was made in San Francisco but then moved to Denver to be repunched.

The quality and rarity of the 1938 Buffalo Nickel D/S variation determine its worth, just like they do for the D/D variety. Due to its distinctive minting method, this coin is thought to be rare and can therefore fetch a higher price than a typical 1938-D Buffalo Nickel.

In very good form, a 1938 Buffalo Nickel D/S variant could be worth up to $300 by 2021, while an uncirculated coin might be worth $1,000 or more. The most this coin was sold for was at an auction that happened in 2004, for the incredible sum of $25,300.00.

If you think your coin may have this kind of mark, get it graded as soon as possible. There is both art and science involved in rating a Buffalo Nickel from 1938, as it needs a blend of technical skill and knowledge in addition to a profound understanding of the appeal and historical value of this legendary coin.

1938 Buffalo Nickel Grading

If you want to estimate the value of a 1938 Buffalo Nickel, grading is a crucial thing that comes into play. The coin’s grade reveals its general quality and condition, which can have a big impact on its value. It’s important to note that because of its elaborate design and high relief, 1938 Buffalo Nickels can be difficult to grade precisely.

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A grader needs to have a strong eye for detail and be knowledgeable about the intricate details of the coin’s design in order to effectively grade a 1938 Buffalo Nickel. If you would like to know more about this process and how to grade this coin, this video will be of help.

1938 Buffalo Nickel Errors

Mint mark mistakes

Mint mark mistakes
Image Credit: ebay

Errors in 1938 Buffalo nickels can also be caused by the mint mark. The most frequent mistake is when the mint mark is partially or totally missing; this can happen when the coin is struck incorrectly or when the die is damaged. The use of a different mint mark, such as stamping a “D” mark over an “S,” results in more uncommon errors.

Die Crack

The existence of die cracks is another typical error seen on Buffalo nickels from 1938. This kind of mistake happens when the coin-striking dies to wear out or gets damaged over time, which causes the coin’s surface to develop cracks or other malformations. Die cracks can range greatly in severity, with some producing just small flaws and others having a big effect on the coin’s value.

Planchet errors

Planchet errors

Planchet mistakes happen when the metal used to make the coin is not correctly prepared, leading to inconsistencies on the coin’s surface. Lamination errors, in which the metal splits or peels away from the coin’s surface, and clipped planchet errors, in which a portion of the metal is missing from the coin’s edge, are two examples of these mistakes.

Strike Errors

When the coin is not properly struck by the dies, strike mistakes can happen, leaving some design parts blank or incomplete. Weak strikes, in which some design components are partially obscured, and double strikes, in which the coin is struck twice and the design elements appear twice, are examples of these mistakes.

The Double Die Obverse (DDO)

The Double Die Obverse (DDO)

This mistake happens when the coin’s design is carved twice on the die that is used to stamp it, leaving behind an extra image that resembles a ghost and hovers over the primary design. In contrast to other coins from the same period, this gives the coin a distinctive and alluring quality but also means it is more valuable.

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Double Die Reverse (DDR)

Double Die Reverse (DDR)

The Double Die Reverse (DDR) error, on the other hand, is comparable to the DDO problem but affects the other side of the coin. The picture on the reverse side of the coin is warped and layered in this instance due to the double engraving on the die used to stamp the design. This gives the coin’s design more depth and complexity, which appeals to collectors looking for distinctive and intriguing coins to add to their collections.

Depending on its condition, the DDR variant is a highly appreciated example of a coin that the Mint accidentally made, and can be worth thousands.

1938 Buffalo Nickel FAQ

How much is the 1938 Buffalo Nickel worth?

If you’re wondering how much a 1938 Buffalo Nickel is worth, the answer is not simple because price relies on a number of different things, including the coin’s condition, rarity, and mint mark. To give you a general estimate, a 1938 Buffalo Nickel is worth anything between a few cents and a few thousand dollars.

Hence, if you happen to possess one of these nickels, it is worthwhile carefully inspecting it and estimating its value based on its distinctive characteristics. In the end, the only one who can give you a real answer is an experienced coin grader.

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Is 1938 Buffalo Nickel silver?

While many earlier U.S. coins were made from silver, the 1938 Buffalo Nickel is actually composed of a mixture of copper and nickel. The coin’s distinctive design features a buffalo on the reverse side and the profile of a Native American on the obverse, and has a metallic color, resembling shades of silver.

What’s special about a 1938 nickel?

The 1938 nickel’s distinctive and exquisite design, which was made by renowned American sculptor James Earle Fraser, is one of its most exceptional features. Both iconic and emotive, the buffalo and Native American depictions on the coin convey a feeling of American history and pride. With only 7 million copies made, this coin is also more uncommon and was solely produced in Denver.

Is a 1938 nickel pure silver?

As was already mentioned, the 1938 nickel is composed of copper and nickel rather than pure silver. Yet, some people might assume that the coin includes silver because of its silvery appearance. Yet, the 1938 nickel is a remarkable and prized specimen of American coinage even though it doesn’t contain as much precious metal as some other coins.

Where is the mint mark on a 1938 Buffalo nickel?

A mint mark is present on the reverse side of the 1938 Buffalo nickel coin, directly behind the wording “FIVE CENTS.” A little “D” for Denver or, in exceptional circumstances, a small “D” on top of an “S” will serve as the mint mark.

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  1. Sophia Melendez says:

    Who can you go to or call if you think you might have a coin like the ones above?

  2. Elena R Trujillo says:

    Hi ihave one of these nickel I want the Best price how could I go about that.please and thank you.

    1. Moi également ça m’a été offert par une dame indienne ya 5 ans

  3. Thank you very much. I enjoyed this well presented, prepared and informative article. I found it to be very helpful and useful because I am a beginner collector and I have about 30 Indian head nickles.
    Thanks again!
    Ps: please do not give or sell my email address.

  4. Raunda Hardway says:

    I have a lot of coins that is old I’m trying to sale

    1. Anthony Redford says:

      Just cause there old, doesn’t really mean that there worth a lot of money..l am a 26 year coin collector.what were you asking for the collection?? Don’t give my email address out please.. Thanks

      1. Just checking out. Got couple sets ,were indian head Penny are present with sets,hot one set with 9 starting 1879 mostly 1900, 1895,1904 2906 1905 ,had them over 15 years wonder hone up yet.cause saw a auction on selling at 3k

  5. Raunda Hardway says:

    I have coins to show to see if they worth money can you help me with that

  6. Melody Britt says:

    We have several of the indianhead pennies did not know anything about them we will check to see what we have and check our wheat pennies also.

  7. Aja Crawford says:


  8. Aja Crawford says:

    Make a OFFER…

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