1937 Three Legged Buffalo Nickel is perhaps the
most famous error coins ever created, and it is a highly desirable coin
for all collectors. It gets its name from the fact that the reverse side
of the coin depicts a buffalo that appears to only have three legs. This
unusual mint error has fascinated collectors for years and it has become
one of the most sought-after and famous coins in the 20th century.
The error was made when a Denver Mint employee, just recently hired, was attempting to remove some die marks from one of the reverse dies. He was able to successfully remove the marks, but he also inadvertently erased one of the buffalo’s legs. This blunder was not caught until most of the coins had already gone into circulation.
|Among the many key diagnostics to look
for on a genuine coin are these:
Obverse: Rust pits, flaws, and die crack. Although few of the references mention it, this issue always shows patches of roughness on the obverse, apparently created from die rust. One patch is on the top of the Indian's neck, just below the juncture with the hair. Another shows to the left of the longest feather about midway down, in the hair. Other patches are just above the obverse rim at 6 o'clock, and on the front of the neck, beneath the jawline. A small die crack runs southeast through this patch, with a small, comma-shaped lump near its lowest point.
Reverse: Beard, hoof and leg, die lumps, spindly rear leg. The reverse of a genuine 1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo also has numerous diagnostics that are easy to spot. The buffalo's beard is pointed, and longer on the right (facing) side than the left. Although a Mint employee removed the front leg with an emery board, the hoof is still present. There is a stream of raised die lumps running downward between the front and rear legs.
|Compare your three leg nickel to a
normal 1937D and look for these differences:
1. The coins' outstanding feature is the buffalo's missing front leg. Both stump and hoof remain, but the leg is entirely gone! There should be no scratches or file marks in the area of the missing leg.
2. Also, there will be a raised line of "bumps" arching from the Bison's belly to the ground.
3. Lastly look at the "P" in the word Pluribus and the "U" in the word Unum found on the left side of the buffalo.
On a genuine "three leg," they will be further away from the buffalo's back than on a normal 1937-D.
1937-D FIVE CENTS
Circulation strikes: 17,826,000
Designer: James Earle Fraser
Diameter: 21.2 millimeters
Copper - 75%
Nickel - 25%
Weight: 5 grams
Mintmark: Small "D" (Denver) on reverse below Five Cents
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