Production of Buffalo nickels exploded in 1936, as demands rose with a (slightly) improving economy. Well more than 150 million Buffalo nickels were minted in 1936, and renders that year the most common for the series. Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco all participated in Buffalo nickel production, with Philly taking the lion’s share of minting duties that year with 118,997,000 nickels struck there in 1936. Denver struck 24,814,000 Buffalo nickels in 1936, while San Francisco struck 14,930,000.
While 1936 was a busy year of production for Buffalo nickels, by no means was it a ho-hum year in terms of Buffalo nickels varieties. Enthusiasts have plenty to spend their money on when it comes to 1936 Buffalo nickels. First and foremost, 1936 was the year that proof coinage returned to the United States coin lineup, and 4,420 proof 1936 Buffalo nickels were made. Unlike the matte proof Buffalo nickels made during the years 1913 through 1916, the proofs were made during 1936 and thereafter don the mirror-like surfaces that most coin collectors are more familiar with today. A 1936 proof Buffalo nickel can be bought for around $1,400.
Another significant variety popped up in the Buffalo nickel series during 1936, and that is the 1936-D 3-1/2 legs (on the bison) variety, which is thought to have resulted from over-polishing of a die. Values are high for the 1936-D 3-1/2 legged Buffalo nickel, with prices starting at around $1,000 for an example in Very Good-8.