US Coins

Market Analysis: Indian Head 5-cent pieces star in Legend May auction

PCGS has graded just 81 1921-S Indian Head 5-cent pieces in MS-65, and this one features a major die break on the obverse. It brought $6,756.25 at Legend’s May 14 auction

Image courtesy of Legend Auctions

A group of choice Indian Head 5-cent pieces, perhaps better known as “Buffalo nickels,” were stars in Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ May 14 Regency Auction 38.

A 1921-S Indian Head 5-cent coin graded Mint State 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service offered something extra, in the form of a major die break on the obverse that shows as a line connecting the rim to James Earle Fraser’s Native American’s nose. The die was nearing the end of its life when this example was struck; even beyond the obvious break, the die was well-worn, resulting in diminished detail compared with a coin struck from fresh dies.

Legend called it “cool looking,” adding, “Both sides have a satiny, frosty brilliance that is delicately dusted over by a soft, iridescent gold, blue and rose-peach pastel tone.” It sold below its $9,000 to $9,500 estimate, realizing $6,756.25. Despite falling below expectations, the price was strong, considering that a similarly graded example with a similar die crack brought $5,640 at an April Heritage auction.

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