We are excited to release the eighteenth coin in the CollecTons Keepers program, an exclusive series only offered by CollecTons. The eighteenth coin we present, CollecTons Keepers #18 in Series, features the rare 1938-D Brilliant Uncirculated Buffalo Nickel.
Why is the 1938-D Uncirculated Buffalo Nickel a Coin Worth Keeping?
In 1911, the Taft administration decided to replace the Liberty Head nickel design and enlisted sculptor James Earle Fraser to create the new look. The design, which showed a Native American on one side and an American bison on the other, was approved in 1912, but production was delayed several months due to objections from the Hobbs Manufacturing Company. Hobbs Manufacturing Company out of Worcester, Massachusetts, manufactured a device that detected counterfeit nickels that were inserted into vending machines. Fraser worked with George Reith, the mechanic that invented the device, for much of 1912, modifying the design to work with the Hobbs machines. After months of trying to satisfy their concerns, Fraser announced he was submitting the modified designs. Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeah quickly approved the designs and production began.
The image on the obverse of the nickel is believed to have been taken from three different American Indians. The identities of these Indians has been much debated, as the stories Fraser told over the years about who modeled for this coin were never consistent. Chief Iron Tail, of the Lakota Sioux, and Chief Two Moons, of the Cheyenne, were almost always mentioned, but Fraser could not remember the name of the third model. The coin's reverse shows an image of an American Buffalo. According to Fraser, the model for the reverse was a famous buffalo named Black Diamond, which he found at the Bronx Zoo. Unfortunately Black Diamond never resided at the Bronx Zoo. He lived at the Central Park Zoo. David Bowers, one of the most noteworthy numismatic authors in modern history, has suggested that the real model may have been a buffalo named Bronx who spent many years as the herd leader at the Bronx Zoo. Support for this is also evident in that Black Diamond's mounted head still exists and has been exhibited at many coin shows. Upon examination of the head, it can be seen that the horns are notably different than those of the buffalo on the nickel.
Shortly after production, it was found that the Buffalo Nickel was susceptible to wear. The dates wore off the coin easily while in circulation, weak strikes were common and die life was short. After the minimum twenty-five years of production, the coin was replaced by the Jefferson nickel. The Denver Mint was the only mint to strike the coin in 1938. Today, the 1938-D Buffalo Nickel is highly sought after. It is the last year of a very popular series for coin collectors today.
- Year: 1938
- Mints: Denver
- Mintage: 7,020,000
- Designers: James Earle Fraser
- Composition: .750 copper, .250 nickel
- Weight: 5 grams
- Diameter: 21.2mm
- Edge: Plain
- Face Value: 5 Cents
What makes the Collectons Keepers program special?
Here at CollecTons, we work hard researching coins that should be part of every collection. Our goal is to utilize our knowledge in the numismatic industry to select coins worthy of being in everyone's collection! Therefore, the CollecTons Keepers program will only feature those Coins Worth Keeping.
Each coin is hand selected and given to ANACS (America's Oldest Grading Service) for grading and authentication. The coins are then sealed in an ANACS certified proprietary slab holder for long-term storage, with our limited edition label marking it a CollecTons Keeper.
Collect one or collect the entire series!