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Press Release - March 10, 2003

Heritage Reports Discovery -- Earliest Die State 1914/3 Buffalo Nickel

Finest Known Coin Expected to Fetch Six-Figure Bid

One of the highlights in the upcoming Central States Numismatic Society Auction is the finest known example of the rare (and recently discovered) 1914/3 Buffalo Nickel. This "premium quality" PCGS MS66 coin is the finest example certified by both PCGS and NGC. Additionally, it is an early die state with the top of the 3 quite strong, requiring only slight magnification to see. On this early die state, the diagonal downstroke of the 3 is also equally visible as it angles down and to the left from the top right of the top of the 3. According to Heritage's Primary Grader, Lee Abramson, "Some collectors who have seen lower grade pieces or those struck from later die states see the 1914 overdate as a vague extrapolation. This coin gives unquestionable proof that the 3 underdigit is real and the 1914/3 is a genuine overdate."

Click images for an enlargement


In The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels, David Lange states that "two and possibly three obverse dies have been found with the overdate feature. This suggests that the dual-dating occurred during the creation of a working hub that then transferred this feature to each working die made from it." Overdate 1914-S Nickels are also known and an overdate 1914-D is also rumored to exist. Most of the known 1914 overdate Nickels show a very faint impression of the underdigit. Lange goes on to explain, "as with any transfer process, the image erodes somewhat as it is copied, and the overdates seen on each coin are thus third-generation copies." Of course, with each successive striking, fine details such as the underdigit becomes progressively weaker. This coin shows the strongest overdate we have seen to date, and it is nearly as complete as the coin photographed on page 79 of Lange's book.



Unlike the 1918/17-D, which was discovered 13 years after striking, the 1914/3 Nickel remained undiscovered until 1996, 82 years after being produced. The initial discovery coin was found by R. A. Medina, who submitted his coin to Bill Fivaz as his entry in a contest initiated by Fivaz and sponsored through CONECA. Later that year a more distinctive example was found by Roger Alexander from a less worn state of the dies. That coin was definitely confirmed as an overdate by Bill Fivaz and NGC encapsulated it after David Lange also confirmed the coin had a 3 underdigit. Just a couple of months later, in March 1997, Austin-based dealer Coleman Foster found an MS63 example while examining bulk lots of coins that had accumulated in the Heritage safes over the previous six months. He alerted Heritage President Gregory J. Rohan to the discovery, and Greg gratefully pulled the coin from the bulk lot, placed it in the June Long Beach Sale where it brought $11,788. Heritage and Mr. Foster split the proceeds from the sale of this coin, which was the first 1914/3 ever offered at public auction. In June of 2002 an MS65 example that was struck from a later die state sold in Heritage's June Long Beach Sale for $63,250.

The Central States Numismatic Society Auction will be held in St. Louis, Missouri May 1-3. Further information is available about this and other coins in the sale by contacting Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Heritage Plaza, 100 Highland Park Village, Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75205, or by calling 800/872-6467.

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