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    Essential Registry Set 1917-S Buffalo Nickel, MS67
    The Sole Finest Certified at Either Service

    1917-S 5C MS67 NGC. Although NGC has certified 10 examples of the 1917-S Buffalo nickel in MS66 and PCGS has graded six at that level (with almost certain duplications in those numbers), the present MS67 1917-S nickel is the only one so certified at either service (4/10). This coin thus combines two important criteria to collectors: It is foundationally rare--that is, it is rare in all grades. In addition, this piece is not only conditionally rare in MS67, we are justified in saying that it is conditionally unique. Any Registry Set collector pursuing the ultimate such set simply must have this coin, and none other.
    There is no overestimating the strength and vigor of the Registry Set phenomenon, a logical extension of many collectors' natural competitiveness. The competition for the finest coins is usually social camaraderie of the most appealing kind, and it can actually help collectors so inclined to form new and delightful associations with other like-minded numismatists.
    This piece is extremely appealing, and we repeat that it is of crucial importance to the many collectors of this popular series. David Lange points out in The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels that the majority of 1917-S nickels are not well struck, but a small minority are:

    "As with 1915-S nickels, a relatively small number of coins may be found that are extremely well struck. Again, it has been suggested that these were coined from proof dies. More likely is that the dies were simply unworn and closely set within the press, the ideal situation for any coining operation but one that was seldom maintained with respect to Buffalo Nickels. Most examples of this date have strong central details but weak peripheral elements. This is enhanced by the prevalence of erosion in the die along the inner border, as described for 1916-S."

    This particular piece does show some evidence of die erosion, visible around the obverse periphery, which produces some pebbly effects in the luster in those areas. Two small die cracks appear on the obverse, one from the rim through Y and to the nose, a second one from the rim at 8 o'clock, through the lowest feather and onto the hair above the braid. The reverse appears relatively fresh in comparison, although we note a small die crack from the rim at 1 o'clock through ER in AMERICA.
    The overall strike, however, is unusually sharp, producing sculptural detail to all design elements. The knot binding the hair in the Indian's queue is well separated at both top and bottom. All digits of the date are bold, and the hairline is complete. On the reverse, the bison's tail is split, the hair at the shoulder is sharp if not entirely full, and the hair on the head is of similar quality. Contact is, of course, not an issue here.
    We believe the Mint may have been compensating for the worn obverse die by, as Lange says, bringing the set distance--the distance between the dies, which controls the strength of details or the lack thereof--closer together. The smooth, satiny surfaces show an overlay of subtle rose and lilac on each side. An essential and memorable addition to an advanced collection of Buffalo nickels.
    Ex: University Drive Collection, ANA Signature (7/08), lot 1568, which realized $138,000.
    From The Brenda John Collection.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 22RF, PCGS# 3936)

    Weight: 5.00 grams

    Metal: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Brenda John Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    3rd-6th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
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