The Authoritative Reference on Buffalo Nickels

The Authoritative Reference on Buffalo Nickels

At over 300 pages, The Authoritative Reference on Buffalo Nickels is no light read. It’s not the only book devoted to the series, and I haven’t read the others, so this review will simply discuss its merits and weaknesses without comparisons to other books.

Chapter 1: Buffalo Nickel Business Strikes

The chapter starts off with an overview of the series, discussing mintages, die varieties, scarcity and historic tidbits of the series. It’s followed by a discussion of each date in the series, going into more detail and providing valuations for various grades.

Chapter 2: Buffalo Nickel Proof and Brilliant Proof Issues

The chapter begins with an in-depth discussion of proof coins, detailing the difference between cameo and satin. There’s an overview of proof Buffalo Nickels minted in 1913-1916, followed by a detailed year by year handling of the proof mintages. Each date has a photo of a proof Buffalo Nickel from that year, and populations from the national archives and certification agencies (PCGS and NGC).

Chapter 3: Die Varieties Explained

This is a short chapter, starting off with an explanation on how dies are made, then a historical account from the treasury. It ends with instructions on how to use the die variety section.

Chapter 4: Buffalo Nickel Doubled Dies

This chapter discusses doubled dies in detail, specifically hub doubling, using photographic examples from various other series. The rest of the chapter has each die variety from the series with enlarged photos of the doubling. It includes overall rarity, interest level, grade, value, description and comments on the variety. At over 150 pages, this chapter makes up the majority of the book.

Chapter 5: Buffalo Nickel Over Mintmarks

The chapter begins with an overview of over mintmarks, followed by a date by date discussion with photos of the few years in the series that has an instance of over mintmarks.

Chapter 6: Buffalo Nickel Repunched Mintmarks

In similar fashion, this chapter provides information about the years with known repunched mintmarks, including those deemed not to have sufficient evidence to be listed.

Chapter 7: Buffalo Nickel 3 ½ Legged Varieties

The last chapter is devoted to the most well-known variety of the Buffalo Nickels series - three and three and a half legged buffalo nickels. Plenty of high magnification photographs of the variety for illustration.


If you’re a collector of the Buffalo Nickel series, this book is probably wise to get a hold of. However, for those general collectors of 20th century type coins, the book is strong on details and weak on stories. Those interested in learning more about the history and stories behind the series should look elsewhere, but anyone wanting to know detailed reports of varieties need look no further.

It’s currently selling for $23.73 on Amazon.

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