1936 Buffalo Nickel Value

The 1936 Nickel coin had a history of controversial designs before becoming one of the most widely produced and exquisitely designed coins of the 19th century. The renowned US sculptor James E. Fraser is responsible for its magnificent design. The coin underwent several improvements to make it better and more beautiful.

After the renowned Hobbs Manufacturing Company disagreed with its designs, the minting of the 1936 Nickel coin was eventually delayed. However, millions of Buffalo Nickels were produced, and after the US Treasury Secretary ordered a release for circulation, the coin later had a happy year in 1936. The coin is a favorite among many numismatics despite its quickly deteriorating face. 

Other grades of this magnificent coin are available. We’ll delve deeper to give you a better understanding of the value of this iconic American dime.

What is a Nickel 1936 Coin?

1936 Buffalo Nickel

One of the most exquisite coins ever struck in American history is the 1936 nickel coin, also known as the Buffalo nickel. The coin, which features a famous Indian head on the obverse and an American bison on the reverse, was designed by James Earle Fraser.

After receiving approval from his manager, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Fraser used his draft designs to produce the Buffalo Nickel coin. The coin was subsequently adopted as America’s next Buffalo Nickel.

But there is one feature that stands out. The final obverse design of this historical coin was altered from the legendary Indian head to a Native American bust bearing a traditional headdress bearing the inscription LIBERTY.

However, Fraser retains the American Bison on the reverse. The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and “FIVE CENTS” are written beneath the bison, which is depicted standing on a hill. This feature did not survive the coin’s circulation because the hill wore quickly. Fraser later removed the hill from the coin’s design.

Nickel 1936 Coin Metal Composition

The 1936 Nickel coin has a diameter of 21.2 mm, a weight of around 5.00 grams, and is made of 75% copper and 25% nickel. Unlike most coins, this one does not have reeded edges.


The 1936 Nickel coin, minted in excess of 150 million Buffalo coins, was the most prevalent between 1913 and 1938. Philadelphia alone minted 118,997,000 coins, while San Francisco and Denver only minted 14,930,000 and 24,814,000 coins, respectively. Currently, Denver and San Francisco coins have the mint marks “D” and “S,” respectively, while Philadelphia coins do not have any mint marks.

Why Was The 1936-Nickel Coin Minted?

Since 1907, this coin has featured numerous designs. At first, Charles E. Barber’s Liberty head design was on it. After James E. Fraser was hired to do a re-mint by Taft administration officials later in 1911, the Nickel coin redesign got underway. The designs by Fraser were impressive because they combined a Native American headdress on the obverse and an American bison on the reverse.

The plans were authorized as early as 1912, but Hobbs Manufacturing Company put them off for nearly six months. The company claimed that the new design had unsatisfactory changes, but Franklin MacVeagh, the US Treasury Secretary at the time, overruled this. He went ahead and put the coin into circulation.

The coin was lovely, but it quickly wore out. For example, the dates and the hill where the bison stood wore away, leading Fraser to remove the feature from the subsequent mintages. After the design had been used for 25 years, nickel coin production was eventually stopped in 1938. Fraser’s outstanding design is still praised by many people and is still used as a commemorative coin.

One disadvantage of this magnificent coin is that it deteriorates quickly during circulation. The wearing resulted from the high-density details, but the coin did not die out. There are still flawless, uncirculated Nickel 1936 coins available.

SEE: 1878 Silver Dollar Value

Features Of the 1936 Nickel Coin

1936 Buffalo Nickel

This unique coin has several striking features. The following are the attributes of the 1936 Nickel coin:

Portrait Of 1936 Nickel Coin

A bust of an American Indian with a plaited headdress is depicted on the Nickel 1936 coin, facing to the right.

The Obverse (Head) Features On The 1936 Nickel Coin

The obverse, or head, of this magnificent coin, features the recognizable plaited head of a Native American Indian man. Just below his shoulder, his hair hangs in a plain border. The portrait faces two bird feathers hanging down to the back of his head, and the word “LIBERTY” is inscribed on the coin’s right side. The man’s right shoulder bears the coin’s issue year of 1936. The small F that appears beneath the year stands for Fraser, the sculptor.

Reverse (Tail) Features On The Nickel 1936 Coin

The nickel 1936 tail has a simple round rim. The American buffalo, or bison, is in the center. The bison stands to the left, head bowed. The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are inscribed on top of the bison. The coin has a three-line Latin motto that reads “Out of many, one” beneath the inscriptions and above the bison’s back. The coin is worth five cents and is clearly engraved with that value.

Depending on the source, you can find coins with the letter D sculpted by the Denver Mint. The Philadelphia Mint’s coins have no mintmark, while the San Francisco Mint’s have an S.

The coin’s tail can be summarized as follows:

  • A standing American bison ( Face facing left)

Mintmark On Nickel 1936 Coin

The mintmarks are still visible on the reverse or tail. Only two of the three mintmarks are visible on the coins. The letter S represents the San Francisco Mint, while the letter D represents the Denver Mint. There is no mintmark associated with the Philadelphia Mint.

The Metal Used On 1936 Nickel Coin

The copper and nickel content of the 1936 nickel coin is 75% and 25%, respectively. The edges of the dime are also devoid of reed.

Weight And Dimensions Of The 1936 Nickel Coin

  • Weight: 5.00 grams.
  • Diameter of 21.2 mm.
  • Thickness: 1.95 mm
  • Shape: round

SEE: 1979 Susan B Anthony Dollar Value

1936-Nickel Value: What Is A 1936 Nickel Coin Worth?

Let’s examine the 1936 Nickel’s value;

Denominational Value Of The Coin

The denominational value of the 1936 Nickel coin is five cents, inscribed as FIVE CENT on the reverse. The value of nickel can be written as $0.05 or $5. You’ll need twenty nickels to make one dollar.

Melt Value

A 1936-Nickel coin would separate into its constituent metals when melted, yielding copper and nickel. The Indian Buffalo Nickel contains 25% nickel and 75% copper. The lowest value of a Nickel 1936 coin is $0.0586, which is its meltdown value.

How Much Is The 1936-Nickel Coin At The Pawnshop?

A 1936 nickel coin will be sold at the pawnshop based on its condition. The most obvious reason for grading is to obtain the most precious coin in the best condition. Dealers in coins assign grades to the coins in the following order, from lowest to highest:


Coins in good condition have seen the most circulation and show physical flaws like chipping and scratching. These coins are inexpensive and can be purchased from the Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver Mints for as little as $1.


Although not as frequently as coins in the Good grade, this grade has been traded. The buffalo’s cheekbone and front legs have sustained the most severe damage, visible as light scratches. The cost is $1.75 for all Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver Mint coins, which is more expensive than the Good grade.

Extremely Fine

This coin has been in use for a shorter time. Both the coin’s head and tail show less damage. Though in excellent condition, the coins are not of the highest quality. You can get $3 from Pawn Shop for Philadelphia and $4 for the Denver and San Francisco Mints.


1936-Nickel coins in uncirculated condition are perfect. No scratches or wear indicate that it has never been on the open market. Everyone lusts after the coins because they shine so brightly. If you’re lucky, the pawn shop will pay $9.00 for this coin. You can get as much as $12 for 1936S and 1936D.

Comparison Table Highlighting The Value Of A 1936-Nickel Coin

Condition/Coin Variety19361936D1936S
Extremely Fine$3$4$4

SEE: The Silver Dollar: All You Need To Know

Factors Influencing The Value Of 1936-Nickel Coin

It is crucial to understand the value of your coins. It tells you how much everything is worth, which is useful if you consider selling them to a pawn shop. Additionally, you need to know the value of adding your Buffalo nickel from 1936. You can estimate the value of the 1936 Nickel coin using a variety of factors.


A coin’s value increases if it is rare, and vice versa. Even though they are still in use in limited numbers, nickel 1936 coins are not particularly uncommon. Many coin collectors have Buffalo Nickel coins in both good and bad condition. The price of those in mint condition, which is uncommon, ranges from $9 to $12, depending on the Mint. The price of 19D and S is higher.


Coin grading is based on their physical state. Coins that have been defaced, scratched, or worn down are inexpensive and have a Good Grade. You can purchase a Buffalo Nickel coin in Good condition for one dollar. The uncirculated coins cost a hefty $12 and are in perfect condition. Once more, this depends on the Mint, with San Francisco (S) and Denver (D) taking the lead.

Mistruck Coin

Some coins may emerge from the minting process with missing details. The value of the Nickel 1936 coin will be affected by things like a defaced buffalo, a missing date, a feather on the Native American head, etc. Due to incomplete or inaccurate details, mistruck coins are more valuable.

New and Clean Coins

A clean, well-kept coin is beautiful and brilliant. Coin cleaning is the same. But coins are intended for use in commerce, and they acquire dirt and forfeit their glory in the process. Does this change its value? The cleanliness or freshness of the coins doesn’t bother many collectors. They only offer less money in the case of damaged coins and following grades. The Buffalo Nickel’s value is unaffected by its condition, clean or dirty unless the color impacts its appearance.


How many 1936 Nickels have been produced by the US Mint?

150 million Nickel 1936 coins have been produced by the US Mint in three different locations, as follows:

  • Philadelphia: 118,997,000
  • Denver: 24,814,000
  •  San Francisco: 14,930,000

Are Nickel 1936 Coins Rare?

1936 Nickel coins are not rare because they are still in circulation. Even though they are defaced, scratched, or damaged, the highest grades are still available.

Is Buffalo Nickel Coin Worth A Fortune?

Because Buffalo Nickel coins are not uncommon, they do not have a high value. The cost of the coin varies according to grade and keeps rising over time.


You now have more information about the 1936 Nickel coin you have been keeping in your treasure chest. You are already aware of its valuation and the factors that go into it. Although it has a five-cent face value, the condition of your coin will determine how much you can get for it.

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