1937-D 5C 3 Legs 35 PCGS #3982

Expert Comments

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!

 

PCGS #
3982
Designer
James Earle Fraser
Edge
Plain
Diameter
21.20 millimeters
Weight
5.00 grams
Mintage
17826000
Metal
75% Copper, 25% Nickel
Pop Higher
6542
Pop Lower
2218
Region
The United States of America
Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates Learn More

Grades
65 or Better 10000 R-3.0 36 / 69 TIE 36 / 72 TIE
All Grades 1400 R-4.8 23 / 69 TIE 23 / 72 TIE
60 or Better 100 R-8.0 13 / 69 TIE 13 / 72 TIE
65 or Better 10000
All Grades 1400
60 or Better 100
65 or Better R-3.0
All Grades R-4.8
60 or Better R-8.0
65 or Better 36 / 69 TIE
All Grades 23 / 69 TIE
60 or Better 13 / 69 TIE
65 or Better 36 / 72 TIE
All Grades 23 / 72 TIE
60 or Better 13 / 72 TIE

Condition Census Learn More

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66+ PCGS grade MS66+ PCGS grade

Legend Rare Coin Auctions 12/2015:98, $88,125 - “Cuyuna” Collection

2 MS66 PCGS grade MS66 PCGS grade
2 MS66 PCGS grade MS66 PCGS grade

Legend Rare Coin Auctions 5/2016:66, $55,812.50

2 MS66 PCGS grade MS66 PCGS grade
2 MS66 PCGS grade MS66 PCGS grade

Rafferty Collection - Heritage 1/2018:4793, $48,000 - D.L. Hansen Collection

MS66+ PCGS grade #1 MS66+ PCGS grade

Legend Rare Coin Auctions 12/2015:98, $88,125 - “Cuyuna” Collection

MS66 PCGS grade #2 MS66 PCGS grade
MS66 PCGS grade #2 MS66 PCGS grade

Legend Rare Coin Auctions 5/2016:66, $55,812.50

MS66 PCGS grade #2 MS66 PCGS grade
MS66 PCGS grade #2 MS66 PCGS grade

Rafferty Collection - Heritage 1/2018:4793, $48,000 - D.L. Hansen Collection