US Coins

Market Analysis: 1926-S Indian Head 5-cent coin realizes $246,750

A 1926-S Indian Head 5-cent coin graded Mint State 65+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker topped bidding at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency Auction 34 in Las Vegas in September. 

The issue has a low mintage of 970,000, and examples are notoriously poorly struck. PCGS co-founder David Hall has said that in top grades, “it is the rarest non-variety Buffalo nickel and as such it is one of the most important rarities of 20th century numismatics,” explaining, “I have never seen or heard of a specimen grading above MS-65.” PCGS has graded 14 in MS-65 and four in MS-65+ that are tied for the finest certified at the service. 

Legend observed that the offered coin has a “knife sharp” strike and bold luster, adding, “Both sides enjoy some of Mother Nature’s best work — there is a mix of nickel/lilac/gold colors spread all over.” The description concluded, “The technical quality is exceptional, [and] we truly believe that if this was a common date, it probably would have been designated an MS-66.” 

Legend called it “one of the greatest Buffalo Nickels that exists,” adding after the sale, “This amazing coin, tied for finest PCGS certified, is now a part of a world class collection of nickels.” It sold for a hearty $246,750, comfortably topping the estimate of $195,000 to $220,000. 

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