How Much is an 1934 Buffalo Nickel Worth? (Price Chart)

The 1934 Buffalo nickel has the highest mintage in the entire series. With 27,693,003 struck pieces, it is the most common coin you can find on the market. Since many people started to collect nickels in the 1930s, most specimens are still in the mint state.

Interestingly, most of these coins were incompletely struck, and the bison coat’s highest point is often incomplete. Some pieces can be worth a lot, so you should always determine the 1934 Nickel value before trading to get the right price for it. Let’s take a look.

 

1934 Buffalo Nickel Types

1934 Buffalo Nickel Types
Image

James E. Fraser designed Buffalo nickel in 1912, and its production lasted from 1913 to 1938. This coin is still incredibly popular thanks to the typically American design that includes a Native American chief and a buffalo, one of the most recognizable American symbols.

The Indian on the coin was a combination of three Indian Chiefs, including:

  • Olga Sioux Chief Iron Tail
  • Kiowa Chief Big Tree
  • Cheyenne Chief Two Moons

No one can tell for sure, but it is believed that the model for buffalo was Black Diamond from the Central Park Zoo, New York.

Another confusion is about the name. It is uncertain why the coin’s name is a Buffalo nickel instead of more logical Bison copper since the American bison is on the obverse, and the coin contains more copper than nickel.

1934 Buffalo nickel

Location Year Minted Value
Philadelphia 1934 20,213,003 $1.4 to $4.4
Denver 1934 D 7,480,000 $1.7 to $9.8
Total / 27,693,003 /

Since nearly all previous American coins had a woman on the obverse, a Native American’s head occupying five-sixths of the coin surface was something new. You can also see the inscription LIBERTY on the right coin edge and the date under the Indian’s neck.

Above the buffalo back on the coin reverse, you can read the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the Latin saying E PLURIBUS UNUM written in smaller letters. As you can see, the motto is a little bit cramped because the design doesn’t include enough space for all necessary words.

The denomination FIVE CENTS is placed below a mound. The first nickels were criticized since the letters were too raised and susceptible to wear and tear. In the 1934 Buffalo nickel, these letters are larger and less delicate. The coins minted in Denver also have a D mint mark below them.

1934 Buffalo nickel

Face value 5 cents ($0.05)
Compound 75% copper and 25% nickel
Coin weight 0.17637 ounces (5 g)
Coin diameter 0.83465 inches (21.2 mm)
Coin thickness 0.07677 inches (1.95 mm)
Shape Round
Edge Plain

In 1934, Buffalo nickel minting was the first total coin production after the Great Depression. The US Mint didn’t produce any denomination except for cents from 1931 to 1933.

As soon as the economic conditions stabilized, a total of 27,693,003 minted nickels in 1934 almost reached the level from 1930. For some reason, the San Francisco mint didn’t produce this coin that year, and all manufacturing was finished in Philadelphia and Denver.

Some collectors point out that the 1934 Buffalo nickel symbolizes the end of the outlaw era. That year, most famous American outlaws were killed in shootouts or executed, including:

  • John H. Dillinger
  • Charles Makley (Fat Charle)
  • Homer Van Meter (Wayne)
  • Thomas Leonard Carroll
  • John Hamilton (Red)
  • Harold E. Green (Eddie Green)
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Charles A. Floyd (Pretty Boy Floyd)
  • Aussie Elliott
  • Robert G. Brady (Big Bob)
  • George Nelson (Baby Face Nelson)
  • Fred Goetz (Shotgun George Ziegler)
  • Harry Pierpont (Pete)
  • Wilbur Underhill, Jr. (Mad Dog)
  • Joseph P. Moran

1934 Buffalo nickel value*

Quality 1935 1935 D
Good $1.4 $1.7
Very good $1.7 $2.7
Fine $2.7 $4.4
Very fine $4.4 $9.8
Extra fine $11 $22
AU $20 $50
MS 60 $54 $89
MS 63 $72 $137

*by USA Coin book

In general, Buffalo nickels minted in the 1930s were better struck than pieces from the 1920s. However, they are not too expensive, so being patient and waiting for a highly graded coin will pay off. Only that way, you will get a specimen with vivid details and a full bison horn.

1934 Buffalo nickel

1934 Buffalo nickel

The Philadelphia mint carried most of the production in 1934 with 20,213,003 struck nickels. These coins are not considered scarce today, and you can buy most of them for approximately $2. Even an excellently preserved coin in the mint state will cost you only about $50 to $55.

1934 Buffalo nickel value*

Year Good quality Fine quality Extra fine quality Mint state
1935 $1.2 $2.5 $10 $18
1935  D $1.5 $4 $20 $45

*by JM Bullion

This coin is highly collectible as a numismatic classic, but most are worn out or lost. Therefore, pieces of excellent quality can be expensive. Nowadays, scarce nickels in high grade can be worth more than $3.500.

1934 proof Buffalo nickel

The Philadelphia mint didn’t strike proof Buffalo nickels from 1916 to 1936.

1934 D Buffalo nickel

1934 D Buffalo nickel

The Denver mint produced only 14% of all Buffalo nickels in 1934, or 7,480,000 coins. Since they are not rare, you can find lovely pieces for less than $20. Nickels in the mint state are worth approximately $90 to $135.

1934 Buffalo nickel value*

Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1934 $0.7 $1.9 $8 $33
1934  D $1.3 $3 $15 $60

*by CoinStudy

The Buffalo nickel minted in Denver with sparking blue-silver luster is scarce and part of an elite category. A specimen of such a quality is rarely available and can be expensive. One of the finest quality 1934 Buffalo nickel was sold for $2,150.

 

Specific 1934 Buffalo Nickels

There are no rare or key dates among 1934 Buffalo nickels, but those minted in Denver are considered scarce.

1934 Buffalo Nickel Grading

1934 Buffalo Nickel Grading

Collectors adore Buffalo nickels, and many of them tend to complete a whole set with pieces in the best condition possible. You should remember that most of these coins spent years in circulation, so you can’t expect to find one in the mint state just like that.

Once you discover the desired 1934 Buffalo nickel, it will be wise to have it checked. However, it is possible to do a quick check-up on your own if you know what to look for. Let’s see.

Uncirculated – This Buffalo nickel never spent a minute in circulation after minting. The number of coins in this grade is limited since most were in use for years. If you are lucky and find a specimen in the mint state, you will see that it is flawless and still has a preserved luster.

1934 Buffalo nickel value*

Quality 1934 1934 D
Good $0.7 $1.5
Very good $1.5 $2.8
Fine $2.8 $4.7
Very fine $4.7 $11.4
Extra fine $11.4 $23.7
Uncirculated $19 $48
Brilliant uncirculated $48 $76
MS 65 $380 $570

*by Hobbizine

Extra fine – While rotating a coin under a light, you can notice light signs of wear as breaks in the coin luster, particularly below the Indian’s eye.

This piece spent a limited period in circulation, but it left some scratching on the surface and a barely noticeable details reduction. You can see them on high points, like the Indian braid, feathers on the headdress, and buffalo’s fine fur along the upper back.

Fine – This pleasing Buffalo nickel with a bit worn appearance was in circulation for years so that you can see numerous scratching on the surface. Even though primary image parts and most inscriptions are still almost intact, it is possible to see heavy signs of wear near the Indian’s cheekbone and in front of the buffalo’s front legs.

1934 Buffalo nickel value*

Quality 1934 1934 D
Good $0.7 to $0.8 $0.7 to $0.8
Very good $0.9 to $1.3 $0.9 to $1.3
Fine $2.1 to $3.2 $4 to $8.1
Very fine $4 to $8.1 $9.5 to $19.45
Extra fine $10.1 to $17.8 $21.6 to $37.3
AU $25.6 to $45.4 $48.6 to $78
MS 60 $48.6 to $58 $81 to $97
MS 61 $54 to $65 $81 to $97
MS 62 $54 to $65 $97 to $117
MS 63 $65 to $78 $128 to $148
MS 64 $115 to $133 $188 to $226
MS 65 $195 to $234 $422 to $520
MS 66 $520 to $598 $1,620 to $2,250
MS 67 $3,310 to $3,810 /

*by Greysheet

Good – A Buffalo nickel in such a poor condition was in heavy use for years and had significant and noticeable damage.

It is possible to see heavy scratching on the surface, while some pieces show signs of chipping and even bending. You can read the date, but number parts are often merged and poorly visible, and the whole design is flattened.

 

Summary

Buffalo nickels are highly popular and beloved American coins of historical significance. Each piece minted in 1934 and preserved in decent condition is highly desirable for collectors. You can expect the price to be low since numerous coins are available on the current market.

However, their value will probably stay stable over the years, making them an excellent investment. Since the limited specimen number is in the mint state, their price will be higher than regular ones.

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