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1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel: History & Value

Are you curious about the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel? This rare and intriguing coin is a prized possession for collectors. Let’s dive into its history and understand its value.

The 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel is a unique coin that stands out in numismatic history due to its minting error. This error has made the coin one of the most sought-after by collectors. In this article, we will explore the history, factors that influence its value, and provide some frequently asked questions to deepen your understanding of this remarkable coin.

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History of the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel

The Buffalo Nickel, also known as the Indian Head Nickel, was minted from 1913 to 1938. The coin features a Native American chief on the obverse and an American bison on the reverse. In 1937, at the Denver Mint, a unique error occurred during the production process, leading to the creation of the “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel.

This error happened when a mint worker over-polished the die, removing part of the buffalo’s front right leg. The result was a coin that appeared to have only three legs, making it a standout piece among Buffalo Nickels. The “3 Legged” variety is not just a simple error; it is a piece of history that reflects the human element in the minting process.

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Factors Influencing the Value

Several factors influence the value of a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel:

  • Condition (Grade): The coin’s condition is a major determinant of its value. Coins in better condition (higher grades) are worth more. Grades range from Good (G-4) to Mint State (MS-65 and above).
  • Rarity: The “3 Legged” variety is rare due to the minting error, which significantly increases its value.
  • Market Demand: High demand among collectors can drive up the coin’s value.
  • Provenance: Coins with a well-documented history or those that have been part of significant collections can also fetch higher prices.

Value of the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel

The value of a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel can vary widely based on its condition:

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  • Average Condition: In circulated condition, these coins typically range from $500 to $1,500.
  • Uncirculated Condition: In uncirculated condition, the coin can be worth $3,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the grade.

For precise valuation, it’s recommended to have the coin professionally graded by services like the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

Tips for Collectors

  1. Authenticity Check: Ensure the coin is genuine by consulting reputable dealers or grading services.
  2. Proper Storage: Store the coin in a cool, dry place in protective holders to prevent damage.
  3. Market Trends: Keep an eye on market trends and prices to understand the best time to buy or sell.
  4. Professional Appraisal: Regularly appraise the coin to keep track of its value.

FAQs About the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel

1. What caused the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel error?

The error was caused by over-polishing of the die at the Denver Mint, which removed part of the buffalo’s front right leg, resulting in the “3 Legged” appearance.

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2. How can I verify if my 1937-D Buffalo Nickel is the “3 Legged” variety?

To verify if your coin is the “3 Legged” variety, inspect the buffalo’s legs. The front right leg should appear missing or significantly shorter. For confirmation, consider having it appraised by a professional coin dealer or grading service.

3. Where is the mint mark located on the 1937-D Buffalo Nickel?

The mint mark on the 1937-D Buffalo Nickel is located on the reverse side of the coin, below the denomination “FIVE CENTS.”

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4. How does the condition affect the value of the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel?

The condition greatly affects the coin’s value. Higher-grade coins with less wear and more detail preserved are worth significantly more than those in lower grades.

5. Is it worth getting my 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel professionally graded?

Yes, getting your coin professionally graded can provide an accurate assessment of its condition and authenticity, which can help determine its value and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

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6. How rare is the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel?

The 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel is considered rare, especially in higher grades. Its rarity is a significant factor in its high value among collectors.

7. What is the highest grade ever given to a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel?

The highest grade given to a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel is MS-65. Coins with this grade are extremely rare and can fetch very high prices at auctions.

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8. Can cleaning a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel affect its value?

Yes, cleaning a coin can significantly reduce its value. Collectors prefer coins with natural patina, and cleaning can cause scratches and reduce the coin’s grade.

9. What should I do if I find a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel?

If you find a 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel, handle it carefully and consider having it appraised by a professional. Proper storage and grading can help preserve its value.

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10. Are there any other notable error coins like the 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel?

Yes, there are other notable error coins, such as the 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent and the 2004 Wisconsin Extra Leaf Quarter. These coins also have unique errors that make them valuable to collectors.

Conclusion

The 1937-D “3 Legged” Buffalo Nickel is a fascinating piece of American numismatic history. Its unique minting error and rarity make it highly desirable among collectors. Understanding the factors that influence its value and having your coin professionally graded can help you appreciate and potentially profit from this remarkable coin.

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