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Fascinating 1935 Buffalo Nickel
Doubled Die Reverse, MS65

1935 5C Doubled Die Reverse MS65 PCGS. FS-801, formerly FS-018. The 1935 Doubled Die Reverse mintage was an unknown, but certainly small, portion of the huge emission of 58 million pieces achieved by the Philadelphia Mint in that year. In the Cherrypickers' Guide, Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton estimate a surviving population of 251-500 pieces. This variety is distinguished by strong doubling on the denomination and E PLURIBUS UNUM, with doubling also visible on the eye, horn, and mane of the buffalo. Walter Breen gives credit for the discovery of the variety to Phillip Steiner and Michael Zimpfer, who mention it on page 66 of their 1974 book, Modern Mint Mistakes. The variety was little noted by the numismatic community until its inclusion in the Guide Book in 1994.
Because the coins circulated extensively for so long before the variety was noticed, most examples seen are in lower grades. Fivaz and Stanton report the variety is rare in any grade above VF. In The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels, David Lange observes that Uncirculated examples "remain very scarce, and are highly prized by series specialists and general variety collectors." Only two coins have been certified at the Gem level, both at PCGS, with none finer (3/09). A search of auction records reveals only two appearances of the variety in Gem condition over the last 15 years. We handled the coin on one of those occasions, in the FUN Sale (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 830.
The present coin is a pleasing specimen of this rare variety. The strike is slightly soft, as usually seen on this issue. Q. David Bowers notes the striking quality of the variety is "just so-so." The attractive surfaces are enhanced by even gray patina. The chance to obtain this rare variety in Gem condition may not recur for years.
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 22SN, PCGS# 93974)

View all of [The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part Two ]

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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