The fourth year of the Buffalo nickel series, 1916 saw a few minor die variations that were made in an attempt to lengthen the life of the dies as well as the features on worn Buffalo nickels. These 1916 modifications include strengthening “LIBERTY,” and slightly lengthening the Indian’s nose. As evidenced by the millions of dateless Buffalo nickels in existence today, none of these changes really helped (acid testing confirms that many “dateless” Buffalo nickels actually were struck in 1916 and later).
Acquiring all of the Buffalo nickels from 1916 is challenging most particularly for Buffy enthusiasts. “Why,” you might ask? The 1916 doubled die Buffalo nickel. 1916 doubled die Buffalo nickels are highly valuable and quite scarce. While an exact population figure is unknown, the price tag on this coin easily indicates the fact that demand far outstrips supply. Expect to spend $1,000 to $2,000 on an example in the lower circulated grades.
Another special variety of 1916 Buffalo nickel to look for is the matte proof version, of which only 600 were made. 1916 was the last year that proof Buffalo nickels were made until 1936; you’ll need to spend at least $1,500 to snag an example of 1916 proof Buffalo nickel – if you can find one, that is!
As for the usual Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mint varieties of 1916, none is highly expensive, at least in circulated grades. That owes to the fact that tens of millions of Buffalo nickels were made in 1916. In fact, 63,497,466 were made at the Philadelphia mint alone. 13,333,000 were struck at Denver and 11,860,000 were made at the San Francisco mint. $5 will net a nicely circulated 1916, whereas collectors need to spend closer to $20 for a moderately circulated example from Denver or San Francisco.