Why does it seem that every new coin issue released by the US Mint has an error .. or the design needs an adjustment?
Recently we had the 2009 Lincoln Centennial Cents .. with multiple errors, prior to that it was the 2007 Presidential Dollar .. or as the media positioned it .. the “Godless Dollar”. So much fuss was raised on the latter that the US Mint actually moved the motto “In God we Trust” from the edge lettering to the front of the coin below each Presidents image. The 1909 Lincoln cent had the “VDB” fiasco followed by the Buffalo a few years later in 1913.
The Buffalo .. Americas Most Popular Circulating Coin
At the turn of the century President Roosevelt expressed his dissatisfaction with the artistic state of the American coinage. We redesigned all 4 of our circulating gold coins. We placed the image of a president on a circulating coin for the 1st time in 1909 (Lincoln Cent) ... but it wasn’t enough. Our westward expansion, the “Wild West”, was part of us and we needed to depict a truly American theme. In 1913 the US Mint introduced the Buffalo Nickel.
Over the years there was a lot of controversy over the actual design as well. It was the US Mints position that the designer, James Earle Fraser, used the images of three different native Americans as models. But many claimed the image was theirs. In 1938, Fraser stated that the three Indians had been "Iron Tail, a Sioux, Big Tree, a Kiowa, and Two Moons, a Cheyenne." The Bison or Buffalo was supposedly modeled after “Black Diamond” in the New York Central Park Zoo.
The 1913 Buffalo Nickels
There are 2: The first buffalo was released into circulation on March 4th, 1913. The Buffalo was on a mound with the denomination in the mound. After a short period of time, and heavy usage, the denomination was wearing off .. which brought back bad memories for the mint (the prior nickel, the Liberty in 1883 had an issue with “no denomination” as well). This time around the US Mint acted quickly, the design was altered to have the buffalo standing on a straight line. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only problem with the design. The obverse or Indian also had issues with the date wearing off quickly as well. So after only 25 years the design was pulled and replaced by the Jefferson.
The 2 pc Set
Our collection includes both designs: Type 1 (the mound) and Type 2 (the straight line). Each coins was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and is a hand selected circulated coin. Each is presented in our custom display lens.