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Three-Legged 1937-D Buffalo Nickel, MS66
1937-D 5C Three-Legged MS66 PCGS. FS-901. Although the
popular Three-Legged Buffalo's name derives from the missing front
left (facing) leg, curiously, the hoof on that leg is still
present, despite the overeager die polishing that apparently
created the variety. Despite the many bogus coins present in the
marketplace -- this variety should always be purchased certified,
never raw -- there are many other die diagnostics on each side that
characterize examples of the genuine item.
Among the Finest Known of This Condition Rarity
The fifth edition, volume one of the Cherrypickers' Guide gives the Three-Legged Buffalo a ranking of 5 for Interest and Liquidity, the maximum, while assigning it a 14 on the Universal Rarity Scale. In other words, 4,001 to 8,000 examples survive in all conditions, yet it is nonetheless an issue with enduring popularity in any grade, one that readily changes hands and finds eager buyers.
The Three-Legged Buffalo is often found in grades of XF and AU, and even examples in the lower Mint State grade are seen with some regularity, up to the near-Gem level. Gem examples and the occasional Premium Gem, however, are conditionally quite rare, and when offered at auction they meet a host of potential buyers.
Heritage has been privileged to offer a number of top-grade examples of the Three-Legged Buffalo in recent auctions, MS65 and MS66 pieces certified by PCGS or NGC that have generally brought in the range from mid-five-figure prices up to $86,000-plus for an MS66 PCGS example we offered in 2005. PCGS has seen a few examples in MS66 as their top grade, while NGC has certified three submissions in MS67, including one with the Star designation.
This is one of the finest-preserved examples we have handled of the Three-Legged variant. The surfaces glow with rich, satiny mint luster and the strike details are uncommonly strong for an issue that is normally weak. Slight rose and lilac is seen over each side but does not impede the power of the underlying mint brilliance. Population: 6 in 66, 0 finer (6/12).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 22SX, PCGS# 3982)
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