[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, David W. Lange. This information was originally published in 2006 in The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels.]
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by Bill Fivaz
I love Buffalo Nickels! And, because you’re reading this, obviously you do too!
It’s been called the “All-American Coin,” a classic example of true Americana, and it is, along with the Lincoln Cent and the Mercury Dime, one of the most collected series in all of numismatics.
And well it should be, with James Earle Fraser’s dynamic Indian profile on the obverse and a denizen of the West, a powerful bison, enhancing the reverse. Each design virtually fills its side of the coin, with the balance of the areas unencumbered by other features and with a minimum of wording. In short, it is a very attractive coin.
David W. Lange’s superb presentation of the historical events leading up to the design and issuance of this coin is, by far, the most interesting and well researched of any I’ve read. Please do yourself a favor by reading the portion of this book leading up to the individual date-and-mint analysis, as it will give you a much better appreciation of this beautiful coin.
His date-and-mint analysis is offered in a very user-friendly format and is easily accessible. The photos of the individual coins, taken by the hobby’s best photographer, Tom Mulvaney, provide the reader a wonderful example of the ultimate specimen for each issue, thereby presenting a challenge to assemble a world-class set.
The inclusion of a section on errors, as well as counterfeit and altered coins in the series, dovetails well with the many die varieties listed and illustrated under the appropriate date. Die varieties, incidentally, are fast becoming a very collectable segment of numismatics, and the Buffalo Nickel series is no exception. The relatively recent discovery of 1914/3 overdates from all three mints has given impetus to the search for other die aberrations, including “two-feather” varieties and “3-1/2 leg” issues.
The all-important subject of grading is well presented, and illustrations for each grade are included.
The bottom line is this: If you want a book that covers the subject of Buffalo Nickels as well as I feel it can be covered, you’re holding it. Read it, use it and, most of all, enjoy it!