1926-S Buffalo nickel set to beat $322,000 at Heritage Auctions?

On September 25-29, Heritage Auctions will hold its US Coins Signature Auction in Long Beach, California, starring a record holding 1926-S Buffalo nickel.

1926-S buffalo head nickel
The 1926-S Buffalo nickel is actually fairly common in low grades, presumably due to its rarity only being noticed late after the issue had been circulated

The starting bid for the rare coin is set at $90,000, but it is hoped it will beat its own record price of $322,000 from 2008 - the highest sum ever paid for a 1926-S nickel.

The 1926-S is the scarcest regular issue of the widely-collected Buffalo nickel series. 1926 is the low mintage year of the series, with only 970,000 pieces struck. Comparatively, most years saw well over 1m produced.

The example at auction has been graded MS65 by PCGS, as one of only 17 certified in gem state condition. This scarcity can be explained by early collectors not realising the coin's rarity until later, meaning that the majority were not pulled from circulation and preserved well enough to have retained strong details and lustre.

Heritage last sold a MS65 graded example of the five-cent coin for $76,375 in April.

1864 Indian Head cent
In 1864, the Mint changed the metal that the cent was made with. An L was then added to the ribbon on the design, causing yet another variety

Also starring in the sale is a rare "L on ribbon" variant of the 1864 Indian Head cent, which has been given a PR66 grading from PCGS and is selling with a minimum bid of $70,000.

The coin takes its name from the tiny L (standing for engraver James B Longacre) found on the ribbon behind Liberty's neck, the addition of which caused a new variety of the coin. For years it was thought that just 20 proof 1864-L Indian Head cents were ever struck, but with 20 examples identified today, experts believe there may have been just a few more.

This is one of the 20 identified, with the rare coin having already become well-known and in demand by 1869. The strike is sharp with solid detailing to the design, its surfaces virtually blemish free. A similar graded coin made $97,750 in a 2009 auction, according to Heritage.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some magnificent rare coins for sale.

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