Most people have no date on a Buffalo Nickel and wonder if they should announce the year, and how much is a buffalo nickel worth. You can see several websites dating Buffalo’s nickel main dates for the mint marks “S” and “D.” Yet how do you calculate how much the coin is worth, without the year?
Why did the date pull off?
The dates on many Buffalo Nickels were rubbed off because the date was on an elevated portion of the design, and for many decades these nickels circulated very heavily. Unless the date on the coin is not current, the currency won’t carry a numismatic premium. To assess its worth, a coin collector must know the date and see whether it is a rare nickel. Undated Buffalo nickels are worth around 10 cents each, but only because people use them for shoes, shirt buttons, and several other applications. All different types of dated nickels are worth face value alone.
What does an “F” mean?
The letter “F” you see under the place where the date is placed on the “face” side stands for the last name of the artist, James Earl Fraser. Both Buffalo nickels have the creator’s initials on them, regardless of the mint facility where they were produced.
Recover the Date
The date on a dateless Buffalo nickel can often be retrieved by placing a drop of ferric chloride at the spot where the date used to be. This product called a “date restorer” is sold under the “Nic-A-Date” trade name. While this would allow the date to reappear on a dateless Buffalo Nickel, ferric chloride leaves on the coin a blotchy, rough, acid spot of damage that destroys the nickel ‘s appearance. Additionally, the date will fade away with time, and it brings back less and less of the date each time you use the product so that it will leave an increasingly ugly acid mark.
Professional numismatics aren’t going to trust a date restored with ferric chloride. A selfish person can create the impression of a rare date by manipulating the metal; the ferric chloride is added to Buffalo nickel.
Never used chemicals on your nickel surface to restore partial dates as partial-date Buffalo Nickels are worth more than fully dated nickels. If the last two or three digits are readable, depending on which digits the nickel will be worth anywhere from 50 cents (whether the portion displayed is the first 2 or 3 digits) to around 20 percent of the market value.
How To Identify It Even Without A Date
Approximately halfway through 1913, the concept was reworked, and the mound of dirt on which the buffalo stands was modified to include a recessed space underneath to reflect the decimal of “FIVE CENTS.” This new design solved the issue of unnecessarily wearing the date down.