Most Expensive Coins

1916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die Obverse: A Collector’s Guide

1916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die Obverse

1916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die One of the most dramatic and popular Buffalo Nickel errors is Die Obverse. This specific variant, which was produced from 1913 to 1938 and was minted by James Earle Fraser, is famous for having unique repeated designs on the obverse side. This guide offers a thorough examination of the coin’s history, specifications, basic design, rarity, condition, and value, underscoring the reasons why collectors value it so highly.

The 1916 Buffalo Nickel Double Die Obverse is a rare coin with an interesting history and outstanding value. Serious collectors believe it to be one of their top choices due to its obvious doubling on the obverse side, limited availability, and high auction values. Understanding its history, specifications, and market value can help collectors appreciate why this coin is so highly regarded and sought after in the numismatic world.

History of 1916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die Obverse

It wasn’t until the 1960s when the 1916 Buffalo Nickel’s dual die obverse variation came to light. It is exceptionally rare; since then, only a small number of Mint State pieces have come to light. In addition to being extremely rare, circulated copies can often be identified through multiple repeated features, such as the date and the hair ribbon and feathers on the obverse side. On extremely worn nickels, these features may sometimes be seen by using acid to get back the date.


  • Designer – Engraver: James Earle Fraser
  • Metal Composition: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel
  • Diameter: 21.2 mm
  • Mass / Weight: 5 grams
  • Minted at: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Mintage: N/A

Basic Design


The 1916 Buffalo Nickel’s obverse has a Native American chief’s profile. The significant doubling of the year “1916,” together with the feathers, chin, and hair ribbon, make this coin rare. Without any magnification, it is straightforward to recognize this doubling because it is easily observed with the naked eye.


The coin’s back side has an image of an American bison standing on a mound. There is no doubling as can be noticed on the obverse side and the design is straightforward.

Rarity and Condition

The 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel is extremely rare. The majority of identified pieces are in circulating grades, some of which have had their dates corrected on damaged coins by acid treatments. There are very few uncirculated editions in existence; PCGS MS64 is the highest graded. About 200 samples have been recognized by PCGS overall, most of which are in circulated grading like VG8 to XF40. Estimates show that there are only about ten uncirculated copies in existence, which makes them extremely rare.

Value of 1916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die Obverse

According to the NGC Price Guide as of June 2024:

  • Circulated Condition: $3,000 to $47,500
  • Uncirculated Condition: Up to $235,000

PCGS estimates and auction records reveal that even low-end samples in G4 grade can bring around $5,000, while mid-circulated grades like VF20 can cost $15,000. The highest recorded auction price for a PCGS MS64 example was $281,750 in a 2004 Bowers and Merena auction.

Also Read – 1926-S Buffalo Nickel: A Guide for Coin Enthusiasts


The 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel is an influential and highly coveted coin in the numismatic community. Any collection would be improved by this unique piece because of its historical value, rarity, and dramatic doubling. The rare uncirculated examples of these coins are extremely valuable and bring high prices at auction, even though the majority of them have been identified in lower circulated grades. To guarantee the authenticity and condition of this rare type coin, collectors are encouraged to look for graded and authenticated samples.

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