Click to enlargeJ1950/P2025

This is one of two 1913 type one buffalo nickel patterns without the designer's initial. This used to be J1789 in earlier editions.

This one has a small flat top 3 in the date as shown below. Photo of date area courtesy of the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.



The other J1951/P2024 has a round top 3 and is struck on a slightly broader planchet. This used to be J1789A in earlier editions.

Roger Burdette, in his book "Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915", cites a letter from Philadelphia Mint Superintendent John Landis to director George Roberts dated March 3, 1913 which states that 17 pieces were struck on January 13. This letter was also noted originally by Breen in the early editions of the Judd book and later by Pollock.

These 17 pieces were distributed on February 24 as follows:

Mint Cabinet collection - 2

Mint superintendent John Landis - 6 (returned to the Mint on February 28 and assumed destroyed)

James Earl Fraser 1

President Roosevelt to All Souls Church, Washington DC (cornerstone) 1

Secretary of the Treasury Franklin MacVeagh 3

Robert Clark 1

Charles Barber 1

Acting Superintendent Albert Norris -1

Lost - 1

The 2 Mint Cabinet coins are now in the Smithsonian. To view those examples, click here.

The illustrated piece is ex Farouk, Auction 89, Heritage 6/01, Heritage 1/03 as PCGS62, Forsythe-Legend Auctions 12/14, Heritage 4/16 - PCGS63. It is likely that it is also the one formerly owned by Eric Newman that was housed with the 5 1913 Liberty nickels and also J1954 the 1913 type 2 copper piece. The only other confirmed example in collectors hands is the Legend-Morphy July 2013 PCGS65 example.

Others are likely masquerading as regular issues. It is important to note that it would likely be extremely difficult to differentiate these from the regular issue if any circulated heavily as the date area on buffalo nickels is well known for wearing away.

Photo courtesy of Heritage.