Buffalo 37
January 4, 2010 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Numismafilter: I just discovered I own a 1937 Indian Head/Buffalo nickel. I've been doing a little googling and I think there's a chance it might be the rare "3 legged" Buffalo.

I plan on having a professional look at it but I thought I'd see what ask.metafilter thought about it first.

Here's a photo. View "All Sizes" for a slightly larger image.

What are your thoughts? What would be the best way to have a dealer appraise the coin? What would be the best way to sell it if I decided to part with it?

Also, I'm aware that there are forgeries of this coin in existence, so I'm not going to be bummed if some jerk shaved the buffalo's leg off. I think it's a cool coin regardless!

Thanks in advance!
posted by kumazemi to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Here's a direct link to the larger image.
posted by kumazemi at 6:53 PM on January 4, 2010

Google gives me the following:



Looks likely.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:06 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know nothing about coins, but that is pretty cool.

What I do know about coins is that due to the high instances of forgeries, you pretty much must have the coins examined in person. I would suggest calling some auction houses in your area and asking if they can refer you to a coin collector in order to evaluate if it's one of the rare ones or a forgery. The person doing the appraising will probably be able to point you in the direction of how to sell it with the proper papers in order so that the buyer is buying with assurances.
posted by banannafish at 7:13 PM on January 4, 2010

Looks very likely, as someone who has seen one (but never owned it). I'd suggest getting it graded at some point, or at least looked at by a professional numismatist. There are several grading organizations, the ANACS, NGC, and some others I can't think of off the top of my head.
posted by deezil at 7:30 PM on January 4, 2010

It looks pretty good (i.e. it seems to have the features of a genuine coin on the very cursory inspection a photo online can afford). Circulated examples of this error are not exceptionally rare - you can pretty much always find them for sale and pretty well-worn examples are not all that expensive (i.e. under $1000).
posted by nanojath at 7:32 PM on January 4, 2010

Best answer: My numismatist friend looked at your photo and had this to say:

"Based on the picture (which I zoomed in on and looked at carefully) I'd grade this XF/AU, which would place its current value at about $1100. However, to be certain that it's genuine, he should take it to a reputable dealer to examine in person. He should keep the conversation about authenticity, and avoid using the word appraisal -- dealers sometimes charge a fee for even a verbal appraisal. A good dealer will look at it with a magnifying glass, or even a microscope -- and should NEVER take the coin out of your sight.

Since the coin is not slabbed by a grading organization (e.g., ANACS, NGC, PCGS), he will probably get a better deal from a dealer than from eBay. He should visit a few dealers and weigh offers, as they are likely to vary considerably."
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:57 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Check this site for a DIY examination.
posted by travis08 at 8:00 PM on January 4, 2010

Non-coin-collector here (I was a stamp guy growing up)

Wouldn't getting it 'slabbed' ensure its authenticity, or do they just test for condition? Surely the reputation of the slabbing company would be damaged if there's a fake coin in one of their cases?
posted by chrisinseoul at 11:11 PM on January 4, 2010

You usually have to pay a little extra to get an error verified during the slabbing, but they will do it.
posted by deezil at 4:54 AM on January 5, 2010

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