Unveiling The Enigma Behind The Famous Buffalo Nickel Coin

History is one of the most important subjects in one’s human life. One should know where they came from and their heritage; it builds one’s identity and affects everyone’s day to day life. In general, history is a very big topic, but some things cruise one’s mind often. One of those topics is the topic of currencies in the old world. How did the world manage the economy at that time, what kind of currencies were used, what material was used to make them? One of the most important coins used in circulation in American history is the famous buffalo nickel.

Designed by the famous sculptor James Earle Fraser, the nickel of buffalo or the India head nickel was a copper nickel five piece made by the US mint from 1913 to 1938. As the name suggests, the coin had a buffalo on one side of the coin and an American Indian’s face on the other side. They contained 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel, but the name nickel stuck to it because of its bronze color.

1921 silver dollar


  • Around that time of 1911, Abram Andrew, the assistant secretary of the treasury, was dissatisfied with the newly issued Lincoln cents. Therefore he ordered James Earle Fraser to design a coin that would replace the old cents. The general opinion was to create a coin that would represent President Abraham Lincoln, but Fraser was obsessed with American Indians at that time. Hence he created a coin that had a buffalo at one side and American Indian at the other. At first, such an irregular coin’s approval was hard to come by but not until 1912 that Fraser was commissioned.
  • And in 1913, the first batch began distribution. In the course of its lifetime, the coin saw many changes; in 1916, the word Liberty was added to the coin.

Becoming a cult classic

The coming year’s coin became a cult classic, as many coin collectors and historians began collecting these prestigious coins. The concept of printing a person other than the American President was not new at that time that made this coin so unique.