Buffalo Nickels Mintage

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.

Buffalo Nickel

The design of the Buffalo Nickel features a Native American on the obverse. The placement of the date on the raised area of his shoulder caused it to wear quickly within circulation. The reverse features the American Bison, or buffalo, after which the series takes its common name. Initially, the denomination was on a raised area of the mound, but this was quickly corrected. Despite the awareness of the impacts of circulation on raised inscriptions, no attempt was made to preserve the date. The coin was designed by James Earle Fraser.

Liberty Nickels Mintage

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.

1883 Liberty Nickel

Charles E. Barber designed the Liberty Nickel. His design featured the head of Liberty on the obverse. She wears a crown and has wheat and cotton woven into her hair with thirteen stars around. The reverse includes a large Roman numeral “V”, which was originally the only indication of the value of the coin. Part of the way through the first year of issue, the word “CENTS” was added. Remaining inscriptions are “United States of America” and “E Pluribus Unum”.

Jefferson Nickels Mintage

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.

Jefferson Nickels

Felix O. Schlag was the designer of the original Jefferson Nickel. His design featured a left facing portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse with an image of his home at Monticello on the reverse. This design was used continuously from 1938 to 2003. During the following three years design changes were make to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition. At the conclusion of the series a new obverse design by Joe Fitzgerald was adopted and used for subsequent years.

Shield Nickels Mintage

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.

The designer of the Shield Nickel was James B. Longacre. In 1883 the design was replaced with the Liberty Nickel design by Charles Barber.