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SERIES: Buffalo Five Cents 1913-1938
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1937-D 5C 3 Legs (Regular Strike)

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PCGS MS66+

Key attribute is the missing front foreleg

PCGS MS66
PCGS #:
3982
Diameter:
21.20 millimeters
Designer:
James Earle Fraser
Weight:
5.00 grams
Edge:
Plain
Mintage:
17,826,000
Metal Content:
75% Copper, 25% Nickel
Auction Record:
$97,750 • NGC MS67 • 11-13-2009 • Bowers & Merena
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1
Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Estimate 
Numismatic
Rarity 
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 10,000 R-3.0 36 / 69 TIE 36 / 72 TIE
60 or Better 1,400 R-4.8 23 / 69 TIE 23 / 72 TIE
65 or Better 100 R-8.0 13 / 69 TIE 13 / 72 TIE
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66+ PCGS grade
2 MS66 PCGS grade
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66+ PCGS grade
2 MS66 PCGS grade
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 PCGS grade  
2 MS66 estimated grade  
Ron Guth: The 1937-D 3 Legs variety resulted from over-zealous polishing of a worn reverse die. The front foreleg was almost completely removed and the back leg developed a "moth-eaten" appearance (see image above). A diagnostic feature of this variety is the "stream" that appears beneath the bison's belly. If this feature is not present, beware of an altered coin.

David Hall: The 1937-D "three-legged" Buffalo nickel is one of the most famous and most important coins of the 20th century. It is arguably the classic Buffalo nickel. This is an excessively polished die variety with the front leg of the Buffalo missing, though interestingly, the hoof shows. The coin is scare in circulated condition and rare, though not that rare, in mint state condition. Some Gem examples have survived. The popularity of this "super cool" variety drives its price as much as its rarity. This statement may seem contradictory, but most 3 leggers are fairly well struck...the leg is just missing! Luster on mint state examples is usually good and, like other 1937-D Buffalos, the luster is usually frosty. Buyers need to be very careful of 'sliders,' lightly circulated coins that attempt to pass as mint state. These coins were pulled out of circulation in 1937/38 as collectors of the era searched their change for this widely publicized variety and these barely circulated examples correctly  grade AU50 to AU58+. This of course is not a problem if you buy PCGS graded 3 leggers. This is really a fun coin!