Show Me Your Buffalo Nickel Grading Skills

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Randy Abercrombie, Jun 4, 2023.

  1. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I don’t collect the Buffalo nickel series. Not because I don’t like the series. I do like it… I have a mental block attempting to grade the blasted things and I don’t know why.

    Now this isn’t scientific by any stretch. These are photos of photos and they come from the ANA Grading standards book that I bought to teach myself how to grade the series…. Below are photos from the ANA book depicting F, VF, XF and AU Buffalo nickels. Can you identify which grade applies to each coin?

    IMG_3037.jpeg IMG_3035.jpeg IMG_3038.jpeg IMG_3036.jpeg
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  3. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    Yes, of course :)
  4. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Sorry Randy. I like the series but I don’t know how to grade them correctly.
  5. longshot

    longshot Enthusiast Supporter

    The series frustrates me too, lots of poor strikes that are often graded too low. There are MS coins out there that lack a lot of detail, especially some of the 192X's..such coins are really tough to grade once the luster is worn off.
  6. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 U.S Casual Collector / Error Collector

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  7. Mr. Numismatist

    Mr. Numismatist Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking:

  8. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    None of those coins grade only Fine by today's standards.
  9. ewomack

    ewomack 魚の下着

    For comparison, NGC graded this one MS 64, but I'm pretty sure that they use market grading, not condition grading, so it may be moot. I've never studied the ANA standards, so I'm not a good source for guesses.

    1916BuffaloObv.png 1916BuffaloRev.png
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  10. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    Sorry for my “troll answer” earlier but I had to :)

    Let me try to match the grades:
    1916-D VF
    1913-D AU
    1931-S F
    1915-P XF

    I am pretty sure about the 13-D and 31-S, not so much about the other two.
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  11. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    If you look at the 1913-D above, the arrows in the picture point to the high points. I don’t see any wear on your coin in those areas, so it seems to be uncirculated. MS64 means the luster is not so great and/or there are some hits. I think NGC got it right.
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  12. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Both @Mr. Numismatist and @micbraun are correct..... And I swear to my maker, all three appear to be fine specimens to my eyes.
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  13. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    Maybe do not only focus on wear, but also look at the surfaces. The 1916D and the 31S have granular surfaces while the other coins have much smoother surfaces. In addition, the AU coin should have some remaining luster, but you can’t really tell from those pictures.
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  14. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    The first thing to check is the horn. 1/2 on the 31-S, 3/4 on the 16-D. Note also that on the 31-S, the rim is quite worn and nearly touches LIBERTY but there is still separation. On a VG, the two will begin to merge.

    The two higher grades will have complete horns. Luster will be as useful as anything in distinguishing XF from AU (50%+), but only in hand.

    I miss the good ol' days when there were actual grading standards.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2023
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  15. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    There are still grading standards, they just change every couple of years :-D
  16. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    You sound convincing
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I would flunk a Buffalo Nickel grading test because the standards place too much emphasis on the horn. If the piece is not well struck, the horn might not be complete, but the coin can still be a VF IMO.
  18. dimeguy

    dimeguy Dime Enthusiast

    I am HORRIBLE at grading the Buffalo Nickel. I absolutely love theme of Native Americans on coinage, mainly because Lady Liberty has been done to the point of allegorical overkill. Still, the flatness of these features on this coin turns me off to it.
  19. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I like this one, but this is a Satin Proof, and the government could have afforded to make Buffalo Nickels that way. Many of the Buffalo Nickels are horrible because of the strike. That is why the Mint replaced the design as soon as it's 25 years were up.

    1936 Satin Proof Nickel All.jpg
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  20. BuffaloHunter

    BuffaloHunter Short of a full herd Supporter

    Very true, but I'll take a poorly struck buffalo nickel over any of the mints current offerings.
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