1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel

The United States Mint was very busy in 1917 and 1918, producing small change in huge quantities, sending much of it overseas with more than one million American soldiers serving in World War I. French newspapers at the time ran stories describing how local merchants liked the Buffalo nickel in particular.(1)

The exportation of so many coins caused a nationwide shortage of cents and nickels, prompting all U.S. minting facilities to kick into high gear. In the rush to meet the elevated demand, somehow a 1917 die was impressed with a 1918 hub, resulting in an overdate. The “D” mintmark was added and the die shipped from Philadelphia to the branch mint in Denver.

The 1918/7-D nickel was first documented in the early 1930s, but with little notice. As the years went by, collecting Buffalo nickels caught a wave of popularity, finally putting the overdate in the spotlight.

The premier edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins (published in 1946), listed the 1918/7-D Buffalo nickel, estimating values at $40.00 in Fine condition and $150 in Uncirculated. Better known as the Redbook, this annual publication became a fixture in the numismatic lexicon, boosting the reputation of the variety immensely.

It is not known how many 1918/7-D nickels were struck. Researcher Q. David Bowers estimated the Denver Mint emitted 100,000 pieces,(2) of which 7,000 still exist today.(3) Because the overdate circulated for many years prior to its discovery, Mint State examples are extremely rare, surviving only by luck.(4)

Since its appearance in the Redbook, the legacy of the 1918/7-D Buffalo nickel has only grown. Not only is it one of the rarest dates in the attractive Buffalo nickel series, it ranks as one of the most important coins of the 20th century.(5)

Estimated survivors in all grades: 7000
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 3.6
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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Sources

1. Heritage Auctions.  1918/7-D 5C.  Jan 2010 Auction.

2. Heritage Auctions.  1918/7-D 5C.  Jan 2010 Auction.

3. PCGS.  1918/7-D 5C (Regular Strike).

4. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel.  Aug 2016 Auction.

5. Garrett, Jeff and Guth, Ron.  100 Greatest U.S. Coins, 5th ed.  Pelham, AL: Whitman Publishing, 2019.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.