thatcoinguy's Blog

31 Dec 2021

Proof Buffalo Nickels: The Only Bisons With Dates!

Coins-United States | thatcoinguy

When the buffalo nickel was released in 1916, it quickly became a favorite with collectors and the public alike. The favored it for it’s distinctively “American” design. Designed by James Earle Fraser, it features a representation of a Native American on the obverse, and a bison on the reverse. The reason for the title is that while most Buffalo nickels had a superior strike at the time of minting, the design (especially the date) soon wears off after use in general circulation. All my roll searching friends can testify on that. But the proof versions are beautifully struck, even better than the circulation strikes, and as they were only struck for collectors, most (if not all) have their dates. I have had the chance to see multiple of these special strikes, and I was considering buying one as a nice addition for my collection. But, as I do with all of my potential numismatic purchases, I had to do my research. Here’s some things I discovered.

The proof Buffalo Nickel was minted only six different dates. The proofs began their short lived mintage in 1913 (when the regular strike Buffalo Nickels came out), and lasted until 1916. Then, after a twenty year period of not being minted in proof format, the proof finish came back for the final two years of the series (1936 and 1937). It is important to note that the 1913 Buffalo Nickels were struck in both Type I and Type II formats. In total, there were 16,148 proofs minted, and the low number defiantly makes the coins more appealing. Here is a chart of the exact mintages for each year:

1913 Type I: 1,520

1913 Type II: 1,514

1914: 1,275

1915: 1,050

1916: 600

1936: 4,420

1937: 5,769

The proof Buffalo Nickels could be found in the 1936 and 1937 proof sets, or purchased from the mint for 20 cents each.

Keep collecting,



I like the design on the buffalo nickels.


Level 4

They Type I Buffalo from 1913 is one of the greatest coin designs ever produced. It was a fabulous piece of at and the popularity over time continues to rise as it is more and more apparent how unique the design was and how beautiful it is. Having one in hand is especially delightful. I had one I had picked up raw from a deal years ago that was beautiful with perfect matting in the fields You can see it hear. http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/buffalo_nickles.html I picked it up for just a few dollars and it was stolen eventually with the rest of my collection. It is the hardest coin to replace with that awesome and unique strike, despite the huge mintage for the date and large number of saved specimens.


Level 5

Your collection was stolen?! My condolences!


Level 5

Who doesn’t like Buffalo nickels! Thanks for the information!


Level 5

No problem!

Long Beard

Level 5

Surprisingly, I had overlooked that and thought none were struck prior to 1936. Even us old guys who have collected for decades don't know it all! Thanks for sharing that, Sir. On a similar note, my second album is one coin short of a full four digit, non-acid treated completion. The 1913 s Type 2.


Level 5

Wow! Save your money, I guess!

It's Mokie

Level 6

I have always wanted a proof Buffalo Nickel too. I do have my dream proof Mercury Dime but they are much more widely available and much cheaper. My current Grail coins are the 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar in Fine (details is OK) condition and/or a 2009 St Gaudens Double Eagle in Ultra High Relief. Gotta buy me a lottery ticket.


Level 5

Whistles! A Double Eagle, wow!


Level 6

Thanks for the information! Love those Buffalo's! ; )


Level 6

A great series of coins. All American like the Morgan's. Still looking for a proof. Thanks.

AC coin$

Level 6

Nice coins buffalo nickels . $$$$$$


Level 6

What nice to have a proof Buffalo, only in my dreams

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Well I have quite a few buffs that aren't proofs that have dates, so keep looking. Most came from dealers. They are magnificent coins, aren't they? Congratulations on your acquisition! Nice job!


Level 5

Oh, I’ve found ones with dates, I just thought it is a nice, funny title to get people to read the blog.


Level 5

Always like buffalo nickels. Would like to have a few proods and key dates.

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