The United States Buffalo Nickel, or as some call it, the "Indian Head" nickel, was first minted in 1913. The design, created by James Earle Fraser, depicts an American Indian on the obverse with the word "LIBERTY" along the upper-right side of the coin, and the year on the lower left. The reverse of the coin shows the words "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" along the top, the words "FIVE CENTS" at the bottom, and a large buffalo facing left in the center. The Buffalo Nickel proved to be a very popular coin with the public.
There are two types of buffalo nickels from 1913, identifiable by differences on the reverse. "Type 1" buffalo nickels depict the buffalo standing atop a raised mound. Unfortunately, the mints had certain production problems with this design, and slightly changed it to depict the same buffalo standing on a flat surface. These are known as "Type 2" buffalo nickels.
If you happen to find a buffalo nickel from years 1922, 1932, or 1933, it's fake. The buffalo nickel was minted annually from 1918 through 1938, but production skipped these three years.
More than one billion buffalo nickels were minted during its lifetime, and the mint mark can be found on the reverse underneath the words "FIVE CENTS".
In 1937, an error in the die used for the buffalo nickel caused the production of the "three legged" buffalo nickel; the faulty die caused the buffalo's front leg to be removed from the image. Another error was from 1918, in which the date was stamped twice with a different number - one showing 1917, the other showing 1918.
The buffalo nickel stopped being minted in 1938, and was replaced with the Jefferson Nickel.
United States Coinage