How Much is a 1936 Buffalo Nickel Worth (Price Chart)

1936-nickels are part of a series of James E. Fraser’s approved designs. Also part of his catalogue is the 1937, 1937 coins.

But what’s the 1936-nickel value?

Nickel 1936, 1936D, and 1936S coins sell at $1.00. All Nickel 1936 Mints with Fine grade are worth $1.75. The Extremely Fine grade is worth $3.00 while A 1936D and 1936D value is $4.00.  Uncirculated coins are worth $12 (1936D and 1936S); while a 1936, Nickel coinage sells less for $9.00.

The Nickel 1936 coin began with a lineage of controversial designs but became one of the most minted and beautifully designed coins in the 19th century. It owes its splendid design to the famous US sculptor, James E. Fraser. The coin underwent various facelifts to perfect and beautify it.

At some point, 1936-Nickel coin minting was delayed after the famous Hobbs Manufacturing Company differed on its designs. Nevertheless, Buffalo Nickel was minted in millions and later experienced a happy year in 1936 after the US Treasury Secretary ordered a release for circulation. Amidst its fast-wearing face, the coin is a darling among many numismatics. We have striking grades lying in banks and peoples’ safes across the world.

There are several other grades of this majestic coin. We are going to delve further to understand more about this iconic American dime.

What Is A Nickel 1936 Coin?

What Is A Nickel 1936 Coin
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Nickel 1936 coin, also referred to as 1936 Buffalo Nickel, is one of the most beautiful coins ever minted in American history. James Earle Fraser minted the coin with the American Bison on the reverse and the famous Indian head on the obverse.

Fraser used his preliminary designs to create the Buffalo Nickel coin after an endorsement by his manager, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. After the design, the coin became America’s next Buffalo Nickel.

But one feature is distinct. This historical coin’s engraver changed the final design of the obverse from the iconic Indian head to a Native American bust with a traditional headdress engraved LIBERTY.

On the reverse, Fraser maintained the American Bison. The bison stands on a hill and bears the wording UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and “FIVE CENTS” at the bottom.

This coin did not maintain this feature as the hill wore quite fast during the coin’s circulation. Later, Fraser redesigned the coin by eliminating the hill.

Nickel 1936 coin metal composition

The Nickel 1936 coin’s diameter is 21.2 mm, weighs about 5.00 grams, and is 25% Nickel and 75% copper. Unlike the familiar coins, you are used to seeing; this one does not have reefed edges.

United State Mint

With more than 150 million buffalo coins minting, 1936 Nickel coin became the most issued between 1913 and 1938. Philadelphia alone struck 118,997,000 coins while San Francisco and Denver struck 14,930,000 and 24,814,000 coins respectively.

To date, Denver and San Francisco coins have mint marks “D” and “S” while the Philadelphia mint marks miss out as follows;

  • Philadelphia (1792-date) – No lettering
  • Denver (1906-date) – D
  • San Francisco (1854-date) – S

Why Was The 1936-Nickel Coin Minted?

This coin received many designs from 1907. Initially, it had a Liberty head design by Charles E. Barber. Later in 1911, the Nickel coin design overhaul began after the Taft administration officials commissioned James E.Fraser to do re-mint.

Fraser’s designs were impressive as they blended an American bison and a Native American headdress on the reverse and obverse, respectively. The designs were approved as early as 1912 but were delayed for close to six months by Hobbs Manufacturing Company. The company cited unsatisfactory changes in the new design, but Franklin MacVeagh, then US Treasury Secretary, overturned this. He went ahead to issue the coin for circulation.

The coin was beautiful, but it wore out quickly. For instance, the dates and the hill where the bison stood wore away, forcing Fraser to redesign the coin without the feature.

In 1936, Nickel coin minting was eventually discontinued 1938 after the 25 years design expiration. Fraser’s superior design still receives wide admiration and is still a commemorative coin.

One drawback with this magnificent coin drawback is wearing out quickly during circulation. The high-density details led to the wearing, but the coin did not die out. We have Nickel 1936 coins in perfect and uncirculated condition.

Features of 1936 Nickel Coin

This distinct coin has several features. Here are 1936 Nickel coin attributes;

Portrait of 1936 Nickel Coin

The portrait on the Nickel 1936 coin is that of a bust of an American Indian with his plaited head man facing right.

The Obverse (Head) Features On The 1936 Nickel Coin

The head or obverse of this magnificent coin shows an iconic plaited head of a Native American Indian man. His hair is dangling just below his shoulder and within a plain border. The head is facing two bird feathers on his head, which hang down to the back.

On the right of the coin is an inscription “LIBERTY.” The coin’s date of issue, 1936, appears on the man’s right shoulder. Below the year is a small F that represents Fraser, the sculptor.

Reverse (Tail) Features On The Nickel 1936 Coin

Nickel 1936 tail features include a plain round rim. In the middle is the American buffalo or bison. The bison is standing to the left with its head lowered.

On top of the bison are the inscriptions  UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA. Below the inscriptions, above the bison’s back, the coin has a three lines motto in Latin language, E PLURIBUS UNUM, translated “Out of many, one.”

The coin’s value is five cents, well engraved according to the exergue’s denomination as FIVE CENTS.

Depending on the source, you will find coins sculpted by Denver Mint with the letter D. The ones made by the San Francisco Mint have S, while the Philadelphia Mint have no mintmark.

In summary, the coin appears as follows on its tail;

  • E PLURIBUS UNUM (above the back of the bison)
  • A standing American bison ( Face facing left)

Mintmark on Nickel 1936 Coin

Still on the reverse or tail are the mintmarks. We have three mintmarks, but only two appear on the coins. The San Francisco Mint comes with the letter S, while the Denver Mint has the letter D. The Philadelphia Mint doesn’t have any mintmark.

Slogans on Nickel 1936 Coin

  • E PLURIBUS UNUM translated as Out of many, one.

The Metal Used On Nickel 1936 Coin

Nickel 1936 coin is an alloy of copper and Nickel at 75% and 25%, respectively. Also, the dime has no reed on its edges.

Weight And Dimensions Of The Nickel 1936 Coin

  • Weight:  5.00 grams.
  • Thickness: 1.95 mm
  • Diameter of 21.2 mm.
  • Shape: round

1936-nickel Value: What Is A Nickel 1936 Coin Worth?

1936-nickel Value What Is A Nickel 1936 Coin Worth
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Let’s look at the value of 1936 Nickel;

Denominational value of the coin

The 1936 Nickel coin has a denominational value of five cents engraved as FIVE CENT on the tail. You can write a Nickel at $0.05 or 5¢. To make a dollar, you will need twenty nickels.

Melt value

If you were to melt a 1936-Nickel coin, you would separate the metal components and get copper and nickel. The Indian Buffalo Nickel is 75% copper and 25% nickel.

A Nickel 1936 coin meltdown value is $0.0586 and is the bare minimum value of the Nickel 1936 coin.

How much is the metal in the 1936-Nickel coin worth?

A 1936-Nickel coin bears a denomination value of five cents, but that is the combined metal value, copper at 75% and Nickel at 25%. If you broke down the two metals, each would have its value. The denomination value is $0.5, while its metal worth is $0.586.

How much is the 1936-Nickel coin at the pawnshop?

At the pawnshop, a Nickel 1936 coin will sell depending on the condition. The most definite reason for grading is to get the most valuable coin in the best condition. Coin dealers grade the coins beginning with the lowest grade to the highest as follows;

  1. Good: Good-grade coins have been circulated more than any other coin and show physical damage like scratching and chipping. These coins are low priced and can go for as low as $1.00 for  Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.
  2. Fine: This grade of coins has exchanged hands many times but not as the Good grade. There are light scratches, with the heaviest damage showing on the cheekbone and the buffalo’s front legs. The price is higher than the Good grade and can be $1.75 for all Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.
  3. Extremely Fine: This coin has spent a shorter period in circulation. Fewer damage shows on both the head and tail of the coin. The coins are in excellent condition but not the top grade. Pawn Shop can offer you $3.00 for Philadelphia and, if you have Denver and San Francisco, $4 for the Mints.
  4. Uncirculated: Uncirculated 1936-Nickel coins are flawless. No scratches or wear, meaning it has not spent any time in the open market. The coins are everyone’s lust and shine brilliantly. If you are lucky, the pawnshop can buy this coin for $9.00. For 1936S and 1936D, you will get as high as $12.

Comparison Table Showing The Value Of A 1936-Nickel Coin

Condition/Coin Variety 1936 1936D  1936S
Good $1 $1 $1
Fine $1.75 $1.75 $1.75
Extremely Fine $3 $4 $4
Uncirculated $9 $12 $12

Factors That Influence The Value Of 1936-Nickel Coin

Factors That Influence The Value Of 1936-Nickel Coin
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Knowing the value of your coins is paramount. It gives you the total worth, especially if you are considering selling them at a pawn shop. Also, if you intend to add your tock of 1936 buffalo nickel, you need to know the value. Several factors will help you to determine the value of the 1936-Nickel coin.


If a coin is rare, its value goes high and vice versa. Nickel 1936 coins are still in circulation, although in small quantities, thus not extremely rare. You will find Buffalo Nickel coins with many collectors in both excellent and poor conditions. Those in perfect condition are rare to find and will cost between $9 and $12 depending on the Mint (Philadelphia, San Francisco (S), or Denver (D). 19D and S are more costly.


Grading coins depends on the physical conditions. Defaced, scratched, and worn-out coins receive a Good Grade and are cheap. With a dollar, you can secure a Good grade Buffalo Nickel coin. The uncirculated coins are intact and come at a high cost of $12. Again, this depends on the Mint with Denver (D) and San Francisco (S) taking the lead.

Mistruck coin

During the minting process, some coins can come out with missing details. A missing date, a defaced buffalo, a feather on the Native American head, et cetera, will impact the value of the Nickel 1936 coin. Mistruck coins are less valuable and are referred to as error coins due to missing or incorrect details.

New and clean coins

A well-kept and clean coin is brilliant and attractive. Same to clean coins. But coins are meant for circulation. In the process, they collect dirt and lose their glory. Does this affect its value? Few collectors are bothered with the cleanliness or newness of coins. They will only pay less if the coin is damaged and according to the grade. Whether the Buffalo Nickel is clean or dew does not affect its value unless the color affects its overall appearance.


Something Borrowed

How many Nickel 1936 coins have The US Mint struck in history?

The US Mint has struck a total of 150 million Nickel 1936 coins in three different locations as follows;

  • Philadelphia: 118,997,000
  • Denver: 24,814,000
  •  San Francisco: 14,930,000

Are Nickel 1936 coins rare?

Nickel 1936 coins are not rare as they are still in circulation. Though many coins are defaced, scratched, and damaged, we still have the best grade in banks, among collectors and traders.

Is Buffalo Nickel coin worth a fortune?

A Buffalo Nickel coin is not worth a large sum of money because it is not rare. The price of the coin differs with grades and keeps on growing with years.


Now you know more about that Nickel 1936 coin that you have been stacking in your treasure box. You already know its value and what determines the valuation. Its denomination value is five cents, but you will know how much you can sell your coin depending on its condition.

Any more questions about the 1936-nickel value? Tell us!

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