How Much is a 1937 Buffalo Nickel Worth? (Price Chart)

1937-nickels are extremely common and aren’t worth much more than their face value at the most. But yes- your numismatic collection can fetch a fortune for its history, melt value, and misstruck errors.

So, what’s the 1937-nickel value? The 5 cent 1937 D buffalo nickel sells for about $1.8. 

These days, some coin vendors pass counterfeit coins around today. So, as a numismatic, it’s critical to be familiar with your coins before you commit to selling them for more than they’re worth.

What is the 1937-nickel coin?

What is the 1937-nickel coin
Something Borrowed

The United States Mint issues a new design on coins made of .750 silver and copper alloy each year. In the case of the 1937-nickel, it was issued in .750 copper and .250 nickel. The 1937-nickel coin has a 5-cent ace value, a native at the front and a buffalo at the back.

History

In 1883, a new design for circulating coins was issued throughout America. This included the 1937-nickel coin design, which replaced an earlier one that had gone out of circulation since 1883. A man named Felix Schlag designed this original version of the 1937-nickel.

Reason for minting

Before the 1937-nickel was issued, no such currency was used in America that included 5 Cents as part of the denomination. The US Mint created this coin design and outfitted it with a symbolic image of liberty on its obverse side because it felt that most coins at that time were too plain and needed a makeover.

During the Great Depression, there was a need for coins to be produced. Demand was high due to a coin shortage. The Federal Reserve pulled many 5-cent pieces out of circulation because they became too small in size and purchasing power.

This prompted the passing of the Coinage Act of 1935. This law required all US coins to be increased in size and weight to hold their purchasing power.

Philadelphia Mint’s Director, F. E. Scallon, personally supervised the first strike for this commemorative issue and round number. The mint then presented this struck version to President Franklin D Roosevelt, who accepted it on behalf of the American people –

Varieties of the 1937-nickel

Varieties of the 1937-nickelFive distinct design variations of the 1937-nickel exist. The final digit in a coin’s date will indicate which type it is. For instance, if the final date on a coin says 3, it is a “Type 3” coin.

Each design type has its unique characteristics that you should familiarize yourself with before selling your coins.

1937 Type 1 (Buffalo) Nickel Value: $2.26 to $41.73 USD

The Buffalo nickel was personally designed by James Earle Fraser in 1913 and replaced the Liberty Head quarter dollar as America’s 5 cents. The piece circulated better than silver quarters during World War I when silver prices were high enough to make them every day.

Fraser modeled the American bison after a buffalo named Black Diamond in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The name “Buffalo” is used to refer to the Native Americans as well as the actual animal for this type of nickel.

Basic 1937 Type 1 (Buffalo) Nickel Value: $2.26 – $5.33 USD

1937 “No-VDB” and 1937 “V-nickel” Buffalo nickel value ranges from approximate retail prices of $2.26 for a common, heavily circulated example up to $41.73 for one in very nice condition with its original mint luster intact.

1937 No VDB Buffalo Nickel Value: $2.26 – $41.73

The highest reported auction price for a 1937 buffalo nickel without a “VDB” (Victor David Brenner initials) on the reverse is $72,200 in an August 2010 Heritage Auction.

A second coin sold for about half as much at that auction, indicating its actual market value. Although some numismatists dispute whether these coins are genuinely counterfeit, it would be hard to argue they aren’t rare.

You can quickly identify a genuine 1937 Type 1 buffalo nickel without “VDB” by looking at the first digit in the date. If it is an “8”, then you have the right coin. On either side of this, 8 are two closely spaced vertical lines adjacent to the rim that makeup Fraser’s signature on every genuine Buffalo nickel. These lines were removed or altered during World War II for fear they would be used as Japanese propaganda against America. So, any coin with those lines visible is not considered authentic.

1937 V-nickel Value: $5 – $41 USD

If your 1937 buffalo nickel has these lines visible and it lacks a “VDB,” then you have a 1937 “V-nickel.” The only way to determine if this coin is considered an authentic 1937 V-Nickel or a counterfeit is by evaluating the style and lettering of the word “FIVE” on your coin. It has a flat matte style that’s missing most of its detail. Counterfeit V-Nickels have more pronounced details in this area.

1937 Type 2 Buffalo Nickel Value: USD 1.18

1937 D over S (Doubled Die) Buffalo Nickel Value: $2,500+

The second type of 1937 buffalo nickel has a different reverse than the Type 1 variety. It shows an American bison or buffalo, which is not as fine in detail as its predecessor is but still well executed. On this Variety, you will notice the ground beneath Black Diamond’s hooves on your coin is raised compared to a similar specimen without a “D” mintmark.

For your reference, here are some average retail prices for all these types:

Buffalo 1937-nickel Values Summary:

  • 1937 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel Value (No VDB): $2.26 – USD 5.33
  • 1937 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel Value (with VDB): USD 100+
  • 1937 Type 2 Buffalo Nickel Value: USD 1.18
  • 1937 D over S (Doubled Die) Buffalo Nickel Value: USD 2,500+

Features of 1937-nickel coin

Features of 1937-nickel coin
Something Borrowed

Whose portrait is on the 1937 Nickel coin?

On the obverse of the 1937 nickel is the portrait of a Native American on whose head is a war bonnet with the braids and feathers.

Obverse and Reverse features of the 1937 Nickel coin

The obverse of the 1937 Nickel coin has the bust of the Indian Head nickel design created by James Earle Fraser. The obverse has the word “LIBERTY “on it, as well as stars around it. A line border around the coin separates certain parts of it from others.

The reverse features the bison design created by Fraser. It has a large “FIVE CENTS “partly within the middle buffalo. The buffalo was initially designed for the Buffalo nickel coin. There is a line border surrounding this side of the coin as well.

The 1937 Nickel coin also has ridges on both sides that separate it from other parts of the coin and are only seen on US coins, not any other currency in the world.

Mintmark on the 1937-nickel coin

There are no mintmarks on any of the 1937-nickels, even though Philadelphia did not officially stop using a mintmark until 1942. Coins from all three mints made in 1937 carry the D or S mintmark designation for their respective facilities.

San Francisco facility struck no coins in 1937, so there is no reason to look for either of those designations specifically.

On the other hand, Denver did strike its coins in 1937 without any federal involvement, and they are worth seeking out as well.

However, most coin dealers and interested collectors focus their attention on Philadelphia issues regarding regular nickels issued during this period.

Slogans on the 1937-nickel coin.

“E Pluribus Unum, “Five cents,” and ” United States of America”

Weight and dimensions of the 1937-nickel coin

  • Diameter: 21.21mm
  • Weight of Metal: 5 grams
  • Thickness: 1.52mm

Value of 1937-nickel Coin

Value of 1937-nickel Coin

The value of a nickel coin varies depending on the sellers and buyers. But, you can calculate the average fair price for a coin to make sure you get a good deal.

Comparison Table Showing The Value Of The 1937-nickel

Condition/Coin Variety 1937 1937 D 1937 D 3 Leg 1937 S
Good $0.52 $0.52 $230 $0.52
Fine $1.06 $1.03 $270 $1.28
Extremely Fine $2.45 $2.83 $430 $3.42
Uncirculated $20 $21 $1,110 $19

Denominational value of the 1937-nickel coin (how much is written on the coin)

The United States nickel five-cent piece has been minted since 1866. After more than a century, we are left with many coins that still have a lot of value. The 1937-nickel is one such coin. It was designed by Felix Schlag and was released in 1937 as a 5-cent coin. So, the face value of a 1937-nickel coin is $0.05.

How much is the metal in 1937-nickel coin worth?

The metal composition of the 1937-nickel coin is 75% copper, 25% nickel. It weighs 5 grams. The metal value today is 0.08 USD.

However, what’s more valuable to collectors is their history in circulation and how rare they are.

For example, the third edition of the Red Book from 1946 includes a table listing “keys” (rare coins categorized as having extreme value). One such key listed is the 1937-D nickel, which lists it at $15 in Good condition and $400 in Mint State 63 condition!

The coin you have will be worth its metal content plus or minus any numismatic value if it’s not marked as belonging to one of the certain groups like war nickels, mercury d, etc.

How much is the 1937-nickel coin at the pawnshop?

The 1937-nickel US coin is worth between $2 and $20 at the pawnshop.

It all depends on the condition of the coin. The older and more worn it is, the lower its value. If your 1937-nickel US coin is in great shape, then you should expect to get somewhere between $2 and $20 at the pawnshop.

Rarity doesn’t matter for a US nickels’ scrap metal value, but mint marks do as well as denomination (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢), they are below the date on the coin’s reverse.

The highest scrap metal value of a US nickel is for coins in good condition and not corroded/rusted. The least valuable nickels were minted in 1982 or before if alloyed with silver (since 1866) or a silver “cent” sign on their reverse instead of being composed of copper-nickel alloy.

FAQ

FAQ

How does the mintage influence the value of a 1937-nickel?

The value of your 1937 Buffalo nickel depends upon both its mintage and condition. There are eight different mintmarks used in the 1937 production.

The mintmarks are as follows: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D), San Francisco (S), New Orleans (O), and the following three mints that feature the mintmark above the Buffalo’s shoulder on the reverse side of the coin: Baltimore (B), and both the Denver and San Francisco mint in a small or large “D” or “S.”

What is a 1937 buffalo nickel worth?

A 1937 Buffalo nickel is worth $3.50 and $10 in well-worn condition, depending on which mintmark is indicated on the coin’s reverse side. A 1937 Buffalo nickel that is still in its original uncirculated condition, without any evidence of wear from being handled by people or transported by commerce, would be worth a minimum of $20.

How much will a 1937 buffalo nickel that has been cleaned sell for?

A buffalo nickel that has been cleaned (that is, polished or rubbed with some material to make the coin look “nicer”) would not be worth more than $3.50 in well-worn condition regardless of which mintmark is indicated on the reverse side of the coin.

What is a 1937 buffalo nickel worth if it has some of its original mint lusters?

A buffalo nickel that still retains some of its original mint lusters would be worth between $6.50 and $14 in well-worn condition, depending upon which mintmark is indicated on the reverse side of the coin. A 1937 buffalo nickel that has retained all of its original mint lusters would be worth a minimum of $50 in well-worn condition.

What is a 1937 buffalo nickel worth if it has been highly polished?

A 1937 Buffalo nickel that has been polished/rubbed to remove the imperfections and make the coin look “shiny” or “new” would not be worth more than $3.50 in well-worn condition regardless of which mintmark is indicated the reverse side of the coin.

What is a 1937 buffalo nickel worth if it has been electroplated?

A 1937 Buffalo nickel that has been electroplated (containing a plating of precious metal to improve the coin’s appearance) would not be worth more than $3.50 in well-worn condition regardless of which mintmark is indicated on the reverse side of the coin.

Conclusion: Is 1937-nickel Worth Anything?

A 1937-nickel is worth $1.12 in average condition, and a coin grading as high as MS-66 will command a $149. However, some extremely rare 1937-nickels could be worth many thousands of dollars to the right collector.

If you have any questions about the 1937-nickel value, be sure to contact us now!

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