Sunday, August 25, 2013
A lovely specimen: a proof 1913 Type 1 Indian Head nickel. [Photo: PCGS.]
The Indian Head nickel, AKA the Buffalo nickel, is one hundred years old this year, having been released into circulation on March 4, 1913.
Despite issues with some aspects of the design that made the coin difficult to strike well and the dates vulnerable to wear, it is still - in my not-so-humble opinion - one of the most beautiful American coins.
Perhaps it is a mark of my advancing age that I clearly remember when these bad boys were commonly encountered in pocket change. I suppose we didn’t appreciate their beauty at the time, for they were commonplace... and generally fairly worn out as well. But in pristine condition, this venerable nickel is a lovely little piece of artwork... the inspired creation of James Earle Fraser, whose initial F can be seen just below the date.
Years ago, we knew someone who bought an antique nickel slot machine - the old-school mechanical kind with the lever that you would pull to spin the cylindrical reels. For authenticity’s sake, he filled that sumbitch up with buffalo nickels. I was eaten up with envy, because that was a Cool Thing to have.
What coins do you remember from your childhood? Which were your favorites?