Talk:Buffalo nickel

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Featured articleBuffalo nickel is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Featured topic starBuffalo nickel is part of the Nickels of the United States series, a featured topic. This is identified as among the best series of articles produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Article milestones
November 27, 2010Good article nomineeListed
December 20, 2010Featured article candidatePromoted
August 10, 2012Featured topic candidatePromoted
Current status: Featured article
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Indian Head vs. Buffalo[edit]

Many people like myself think of this design as the "buffalo nickel" rather than the "Indian Head nickel". The phrase "Indian Head" is also used to describe the Indian Head cent that was made from 1859-1909. Would it be less confusing to just call this article the "Buffalo nickel"? - Deeplogic 15:54, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree and have changed it.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:04, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Rumors of anti-Native American connotations[edit]

Is there any truth at all to the rumor spread by Dick Gregory and Charlie Hill that the Indian head nickel originally meant to suggest the widespread practice of decapitation of Indians? While I'm aware that "Indian fighters" were in fact paid per Indian killed, and that heads and then scalps were accepted as proof, I've never been able to buy the story that either the Indian head nickel, or the Indian Head cent, or for that matter the portrait heads of Chief Illiniwek or the Indian Head test card were meant to represent this ugly period of our country's history. I think that's BS. I'm Tsalagi and I've never been offended for one minute by these representations -- they were practically the only visibility/ identification offered to a lot of Indian kids like me living isolated from others in a completely white world and I was proud to see them. (The Cleveland Indians cartoon mascot is another story.) If it is true, it should be researched and added to the article. If not true, should it be researched and a line added debunking the myth. --Bluejay Young 21:48, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

I should also comment that I wish the social aspects had been considered further. It is perplexing that a culture as racist as the U.S. in 1910 would put a Native American on its coinage, but being pre-Woodrow Wilson and predating the Ku Klux Klan maybe it wasn't so bad as a few years later. It is interesting in particular that Dewey Beard was battling the U.S. Army in 1876, was shot in the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890, and then he comes up as one of three people used for the "type" in 1910. Does this reflect some element of national remorse for the massacre? (and for that matter, perhaps, the annihilation of bison as well?) Wnt 17:15, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
No. Fraser liked his design and so did the Mint officials and so did Secretary MacVeagh. They thought it truly American. I see nothing in the sources which links the identity of the models to the willingness of the officials to run the design. While I find no source that mentions it, the tension in the background was the expiry of the Taft administration. After all, the coin was made available at banks mere hours before he left office.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:06, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Circulation status[edit]

"Most Buffalo nickels were removed from circulation in the 1950s and 1960s in various degrees of wear, although it wasn't uncommon with diligent searching to find one as late as the early 1980s. Today, any talk of a Buffalo Nickel showing up in circulation is notable, as approximately 1 in 25,000 nickels in circulation today is a Buffalo Nickel. Many of these have the date completely worn off."

I actually found one of these nickels in my pocket change today...I was about to put it in a snack machine when I realized Wewhat it was! I have not seen one of these in many years (my parents kept a few of them as souvenirs when they went out of circulation, so I remember them as a child). Checking this article, I was impressed to note that the above statement must be true; that it is highly unusual to find one of these nickels still in circulation! And yes, the date is indeed completely worn off! I will keep it and show my little boys what one looks like! Wkargel (talk) 14:08, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I got one of these somewhat recently, and sure enough, the date is so worn down that I had to come here to find where to look for it! I can only barely make out two numbers, but at least with wikipedia telling me the minting dates, I can say it's likely 1920. very cool thing to get in my McDonalds change. (talk) 17:59, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I got one as change recently. Dated 1920 too. Amazing that it could last that long in circulation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:43, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Anyone have a citation for the 1 in 25,000 statistic? My observations roll hunting are close to 1 in 4000 (yeah, I know, original research)

My guess is that most Buffalo nickels in circulation today are released by coin dealers getting rid of trash, who know they are junk. Dateless or close to it.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:27, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Altering coins[edit]

Removed statement that altering coins is illegal. It's only illegal if there is intent to defraud [1] Roadrunner (talk) 20:57, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Buffalo nickel/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer:focus 03:03, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

I guess I'll do this review. I'll try to have comments up in a few days.—focus 03:03, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Many thanks, will look forward to reading them.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:43, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Looks like a good article; just a few nitpicks:

  • Could you link 'Jefferson nickel' to here?

I just finished reading through the article, and I really can't find anything that would prevent it from being a GA, so I'm going to pass it. I've included a copy of the criteria below. Great work. —focus 18:35, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria



  1. Is it well written?
    A. The prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct:
    B. It complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation:
  2. Is it verifiable with no original research?
    A. It contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline:
    B. All in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines:
    C. It contains no original research:
    D. It contains no copyright violations nor plagiarism: [[File:|16px|alt=|link=]]
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. It addresses the main aspects of the topic:
    B. It stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style):
  4. Is it neutral?
    It represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each:
  5. Is it stable?
    It does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute:
  6. Is it illustrated, if possible, by images?
    A. Images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:
    B. Images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
Small note: "[[Seneca]]" and "[[Flathead]]" both linked to DAB pages. I changed the first ""[[Seneca nation|Senecas]]" and the second to "[[Choctaw]]", as Choctaw is probably a more common name for Flathead Indians. I thought I would let everyone know just in case it's necessary to leave "Flathead" as is for historical reasons, since that was likely the more common name at one time.-RHM22 (talk) 05:33, 27 November 2010 (UTC)


The Buffalo nickel: I can't understand the capitalisation here at all. If it is a proper noun, it would be Buffalo Nickel; if not, there should be no capital at all in the phrase. The current rendition would make sense if it were named for a city in New York state, but it isn't. Can anyone deconfuse me? Kevin McE (talk) 07:31, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

This is true for coin types across Wikipedia. You might want to enquire at the numismatics WikiProject. Please note that with the article being TFA tomorrow, this is not the time for a title change.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:48, 7 February 2011 (UTC)


Is there a reason why the mass of the coin is 5.000 grams? Or was that an accident? Grassynoel (talk) 12:51, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

It goes back to the first nickel, the Shield nickel, and it is discussed here. Thanks for your interest.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:29, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

I've added an id to the relevant paragraphs there, Shield nickel#use of Ni, and linked "5.000" (grams) in the infobox to that. --Thnidu (talk) 17:01, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

That looks good.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)