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Buffalo Nickels of the United States - Minted from 1913 to 1938

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Buffalo Nickels

Indian Head Nickel

The Indian Head Nickel quickly gained popularity among collectors and the general public due to its unique and intricate design. The obverse featured a proud Native American Chief in profile, wearing a feather headdress, while the reverse depicted a majestic American bison standing on a mound. The attention to detail in the design, such as the depiction of the Chief’s facial features and the bison’s strong and stoic stance, added to the coin’s appeal.

The buffalo on the reverse of the Indian Head Nickel, often referred to as “Black Diamond”, became a symbol of the American West and its untamed wilderness. The legend of it being modeled after the buffalo housed in the New York Central Park Zoo added to the coin’s mystique. However, some numismatic experts have debated this claim, suggesting that the buffalo was actually modeled after a different buffalo, or that it was a composite of different buffalo Fraser had observed. Regardless of the truth behind the legend, the Indian Head Nickel remains an iconic and highly sought-after coin among collectors today. Its unique design and historical significance as a representation of Native American culture and the American West continue to captivate numismatic enthusiasts and collectors alike. The designer James E. Fraser’s initial, located below the date, serves as a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship that went into creating this beloved coin.