Under a great deal of stress to meet the demand for small coinage in 1937 the mint was working at incredible speeds. At Denver a press operator named Mr. Young (a new employee) was busy at work making nickels when the dies came together without a blank between them. These clash dies should have been replaced, but Mr. Young pulled out an emery stick and sanded the clash marks off the dies. In doing so he removed one of the front legs of the Buffalo. This error, which can be chalked up to inexperience or the desire not to fall behind, was not discovered right away, and many left the mint in sealed mint bags. While many fakes exist, all original coins come from Mr. Young’s single pair of dies, and contain a raised line of dots from the middle of the buffalo's belly to the ground, making it appear as if he is answering the call of nature. On 11/27/90 one in Uncirculated condtion (MS-63) sold at auction for $3,850.


First let me warn you this will be a VERY SIMPLIFIED lesson on how to grade a Buffalo Nickel, but with that said I hope it’s helpful. If you want details information on grading nickels the ANA Grading Guide

Uncirculated
No traces of wear

About Uncirculated
Head near the horn shown slight wear

Extremely Fine
Horn and hair on obverse worn but complete

Very fine

Horn worn but the tip is visible, hair on obverse flat

Fine
Horn and tail smooth but ¾ there

Very Good
Horn is nearly flat but is partially there

Good
No horn

About Good
Date very weak letters merged into rim
No Date- don’t worry these coins are still desirable, and find their way into jewelry.