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CoinFacts: Buffalo Nickel on its 100th Anniversary


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The Buffalo Nickel was a marked departure from previous designs on US coins. Until 1913, most designs, especially on the gold and silver coins, included a female representation of Liberty. Even the Indian Head Cent design was of a female, wearing, rather incongruously, an Indian chief's headdress. Same on the 1907 $10 Indian Head design by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. However, in 1913, the new Nickels brought together two purely American designs -- that of an American bison and an Amerindian male. This was a rather nostalgic combination - the Indians of the Great Plains had long since been confined to reservations and the buffalo herds had been decimated, but America was, and always has been, fascinated with Indian lore. Thus, the Buffalo Nickel became an instant hit, and has remained popular with collectors for a century.

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