As one of the most popular series for collectors, the mintage figures for the Buffalo Nickel deserve some attention. As opposed to the previous two series for the denomination, there are no issues struck with prohibitively low mintages. The factor in making many issues of the series scarce was the impact of circulation, which wore away the identifying date on many coins.
In all but a few cases, the mintages for the Liberty Head Nickel occurred in relatively high numbers. Most issues of the series with the exception of three remain relatively available for collectors. This is a contrast to the previous Shield Nickels, which saw mintage levels much more varied, including several years where coins were struck only in proof format.
The Jefferson Nickel is a long running coin series featuring the 3rd President of the United States and one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence. The series was launched in 1938 and has been minted for all subsequent years to date. There are no significantly low mintages for the duration of the series, making it relatively approachable for the average collector.
The Shield Nickel series began in 1866 as a new composition for the five cent piece. Until this point, five cent coins were minted as half dimes with a silver based composition. The Shield Nickel with a weight of five grams and composition of copper and nickel was authorized by the Act of May 16, 1866. The obverse of the coin features an ornate shield, similar to the one that had appeared on the two-cent piece. The reverse contained a large numeral five surrounded by stars with rays between the stars for 1866 and the early mintage of 1867.