1917-S 5C MS (PCGS# 3936)

2010 June Long Beach, CA Signature US Coin Auction #1140

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
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: {blockquote}"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."{/blockquote} This particular piece does show some evidence of die erosion, visible around the obverse periphery, which produces some pebbly effects in the luste
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