1920-S 5C MS (PCGS# 3946)
The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction
Lot Number: 8160
View the Original Auction
Slightly reflective in the fields and appealing for the satiny luster on the devices and rarity of this issue in mint condition. Notorious for the soft strikes, the branch mints of the 1920s struggled to extend die lives by turning down the striking pressure or used dies well beyond when they should have been replaced. A case in point is the 1922-D no "D" cent--where the obverse die was so badly worn out, the mintmark faded out completely. On these San Francisco nickels of 1920 the peripheral lettering shows minor weakness and the horn on the bison is just complete to the tip, but the tail is just a lump on the rump. For a 1920-S these striking deficiencies are the norm, and finding an early strike in high grade requires considerable patience.