Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 32

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Lot 1585

1920-S Buffalo Nickel. PCGS graded MS-64 PQ. Pop 216; 15 in 65; 1 in 66. Smooth cartwheel luster graces satiny and lively deep reddish golden to natural light brown surfaces. Varying hues of color mingle broadly with the underlying luster. An attractive gem that has typical soft centers for the date (PCGS # 3946) .

What appears as weak striking on buffalo nickels and other United States coins of the 1910s and '20s is caused by a combination of factors. In some instances the dies were set too far apart to make a complete impression. This was done as an economy measure to reduce wear on both the dies and press and to thus extend their useful life. Such economy was practiced even more vigorously during the 1920s, as the budgets of most governmental departments were slashed by the parsimonious Harding and Coolidge administrations.

The buffalo nickel was a coin of relatively high relief, and it did take quite a toll on the dies. These wore rapidly, and such erosion is often evident on the actual coins. The reverse dies in particular were used too long, as they didn't need to be discarded at the end of each calendar year. The combination of increased die-set distances and worn dies produced the mushy, sometimes disappointing coins so often seen in this series. (For a detailed account of this fascinating series, read David W. Lange's The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels.
Estimated Value $5,500 - 6,500.

Realized $6,153

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