1919-S 5C MS (PCGS# 3943)

Baltimore ANA08 PN

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1919-S 5C MS66 NGC. Few Buffalo nickel issues have accrued the kind of infamy associated with the 1919-S. While it has been acknowledged as a major condition rarity for some time, particularly in Gem and better states, this has translated into increased popular appeal and higher prices only in recent years. Comparison of two Paul M. Green Item of the Week columns from Numismatic News is instructive: the first, dated December 24, 2002, describes the 1919-S as having been a $10,000 coin "for some years," implying that while the price was substantial, it had not moved in some time; whereas the second column, dated February 7, 2006, focused on the 1919-S and its dramatic appreciation in Gem, quoting figures nearly double that of Green's 2002 column. Growing interest in assembling high-end sets of Buffalo nickels has translated into vastly increased demand for the finest examples of the most challenging condition rarities in the series, and the 1919-S is far from immune to this phenomenon. Further complicating the search for a high-end example of this issue is the appearance of most high-end survivors. A quick glance at David Lange's The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels reveals a litany of negative phrases associated with the issue: "notorious for being weakly struck," "disappointing luster," "typically seen mushy example," "not attractive." Looking at this Premium Gem, however, those indictments all miss the mark. While this strongly lustrous piece does show a degree of softness on the bison's shoulder, the portrait and the bison's horn show impressively crisp detail. Occasional gold and peach shadings enhance the eye appeal, and the surfaces are delightfully preserved. This is one of just four MS66 pieces in the combined certified population, two graded by NGC and two by PCGS, with none finer (5/08). From The University Drive Collection.
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