The Buffalo Nickel or Indian Head Nickel does not contain silver or gold. The value of a Buffalo nickel depends on its minting year. Without the year, is it possible to know how much is a buffalo nickel worth?
Buffalo nickels circulated too much for decades. The date was on a raised part of the design so it is no wonder the dates on many Buffalo nickels already worn off. Determining the minting date lets a coin collector know the value and rarity of a coin. Buffalo nickels with no date are often worth about ten cents each. People use them for shirt buttons, jewelry, accessories, and a lot of other uses. All other types of nickels with no date are only worth face value.
The F on the coin
You can see the letter “F” on the heads side of the coin. It is under the place where the date is and it stands for Fraser, the last name of the designer, James Earl Fraser. No matter where the mint facility is, all Buffalo nickels have those initials.
Check under the buffalo on the reverse or tails side of the coin. The mint mark is below the words FIVE CENTS. The Philadelphia minting facility produced the coin if there is no mark. A “D” stands for the Denver minting facility. If you find a letter “S” then the San Francisco minting facility produced it.
Recovery of date
Recovering the date on a dateless Buffalo nickel is actually possible. You can put a drop of ferric chloride on the spot where the date should be. People also call this chemical a “date restorer.” You can buy it under the trade name “Nic-A-Date.”
The date will reappear but it will leave a rough blotchy acid spot. It ruins the appearance of the nickel and the date will disappear again over time. Each time you use the chemical, less and less of the date will appear. It also leaves more and more of the ugly acid mark.
Partial-date Buffalo nickels are worth more than dateless nickels. It is best not to use chemicals on these coins.
Identifying the nickel without a date
The original design of the Buffalo nickel had FIVE CENTS on a mound of dirt beneath the buffalo. In 1913, the United States Mint noticed the denomination was wearing away too early.
The rework of the design halfway through 1913 made a change in the mound of dirt that the buffalo stands on. A recessed space beneath it accommodated the denomination FIVE CENTS. It eliminated the problem of the early wearing away of the date.
There are price guides where you can check the worth of your full-date Buffalo nickels.