When the Buffalo nickel had been in circulation for the minimum 25 years, it was replaced. The problems of die life and weak striking had never been solved, and Mint officials advocated its replacement. In January 1938, the Mint announced an open competition for a new nickel design, to feature early President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse, and Jefferson's home, Monticello on the reverse. The last Buffalo nickels were struck in April 1938, at the Denver Mint, the only mint to strike them that year. With the normal weak design in striking, high grade specimens are rare. This MS66 is out of an original mint roll of 40 coins and only 22 made the high grade!
Distributed by American Collectors Mint, LLC.
The Buffalo Nickel was designed by James Earle Fraser and first minted in 1913. This extremely popular and legendary coin features the profile of a Native American man on the obverse and the image of a bison on a small hill on the reverse. Fraser revealed before his death that his depiction of the man on the obverse was a composite profile based upon Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux, Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne, and possibly a third man. Although this third person was not specified by Fraser, many believe him to be Chief Big Tree of the Kiowa. The reverse design is thought to be an image of a famous bison at the time named Black Diamond, which lived at the New York Zoo.
The United States Mint produced the coin up until 1938 when it was replaced by Felix Schlag's portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and an image of the third President's home, Monticello, on the reverse. In 2006, James Earle Fraser's definitive work on the Buffalo Nickel was again used as the design for the new 24K gold American Buffalo coin. The U.S. Mint also struck a coin in 2001 featuring Fraser's famous Buffalo Nickel design to commemorate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in the Smithsonian Institution.