A Top 100 U.S. Coin and Classic 20th Century Rarity.
The 1937-D 3 Legged Nickel is a coin which is known even to people who have no familiarity with coin collecting.
Indeed, it’s one of those classic 20th century rarities that kids used to look for in their change back in the late 30’s and early 40’s and people still remember to this day.
When I have conversations with people about what I do for a living, it’s almost instantly one of the coins that rolls right off their tongue. “Have you encountered a 1937-D 3 Leg, or a 1909-S VDB Cent?” You know, the typical famous rarities everyone wants and has heard of in the news.
It is by far and away one of the most important 20th century rarities made. A result of an over-polishing of the die in the area of the Buffalo’s 4th leg which made it disappear basically altogether, creating an instant and classic famous rarity from the start.
Collectors covet the coin in all grades, but in the higher grades it is an integral addition to those collections wherein only the finest will do.
The present example is graded NGC MS65 +. That little + is key, because the last MS66 we can remember selling was for $55,000 back in 2016, and it hasn’t been uncommon to see them go into the 80k territory when offered either.
An extraordinary achievement in one of the finest grades you can get it in for the money.
NGC Price Guide: 42,500
Offered at $37,500 delivered
We do business the old fashioned way, we speak with you.
■ Why is “The” missing from the inscription “United States of America” on our coins?
Section 10 of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, says, “…with this inscription, ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,’…” Once this tradition was established, nobody saw any need to change it. Particularly in the early days when dies were hand-made, they economized in every possible way, so perhaps this was another reason for not adding the extra three letters.
■ I have a 1964-D dime that has been examined by several dealers who tell me it is a proof. Can this be true?
It is unlikely that your ’64-D dime is a proof, as the information that proof coins were struck only at Philadelphia that year is correct. What you may have is a first strike from new dies, which often will have an appearance similar to a proof. Send the coin to an authentication service if you are still in doubt.
■ Going through a lot of cents, I notice that a number have weak or missing letters in “STATES OF,” or the “E” and sometimes the dot in “E PLURIBUS.” What causes this?
This is a frequent question, since such defects are readily noticed. That very frequency is an indication of the value – none – because of the high mintages involved. The cause is poor die design, a perennial failing of U.S. coins, which allows too much metal to flow into the obverse design, not leaving enough to come up in the reverse design. If you check the wheat cents, you will find the same weakness on the “O” in “ONE” on a high percentage of the coins.
■ Weren’t there actually three different date sizes for the 1960 cents – a small, medium, and large date?
This is another situation akin to the problems with the different mintmarks on the 1979 and 1981 proof coins. Shortly after the small date 1960 and 1960-D cents were first reported, enthusiastic collectors reported that there were three sizes, and for a time the medium dates were advertised right along with the small. Later it was conclusively proved, based on Mint records, that only two different size dates were used for 1960.
■ I’ve heard that there is a $1,000 reward for a certain variety of the 1964 nickels. I have one, so will you get the reward for me, please?
I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I know of no variety of any kind in the minting of specifically the 1964 or 1964-D nickels that is worth $1,000, or even a significant fraction of that figure. The only one I can think of off hand is the “PLURIDUS” variety, attributed by the Mint to die abrasion, which is worth upwards of $150 to $175, depending on the grade. I don’t know of any legitimate offer of a “reward” for coin varieties, either.
■ What are so-called dollars?
They are privately issued medals or tokens similar in size to the old silver dollars.
I was a young Cub Scout when I needed a hobby to earn a badge. My dad was a coin collector, and he sparked my interest in collecting United States coins. It started like the rest of my friends, filling in the old Whitman coin folders with change out of my dad’s pocket or picking through the change of just about anyone in my family. After a while, my dad started bringing me home $50.00 bags of dimes to pick through. This was back in the late 50s early 60s. Many mercury dimes were still floating around with walking Liberty’s and buffalo nickels not to mention silver dollars. Then one day I fell hard for buffalo nickels. The design is what got me, and the way it filled the whole planchet all the way up. I remember my dad telling me that the buffalo nickel design is the most American looking coin ever minted. I agree with those words to this day.
As I grew older coins were always with me, they sunk into my bone like no other hobby I’ve had in my entire life. It was part of who I was. Like most hobbies, my collecting tended to go dormant from time to time, but coins were never very far away from the top of my interests.
I married and had two kids, a boy and a girl. My life was in warp speed as my family grew up my folks grew old and finally passed away. A few years after my dad passed on, I stumbled across my very old coin collection. It was a blast from the past as I thumbed through coins that I remembered finding with my dad. That was what rekindled a huge surge in my coin collecting again. That along with the digital macro photography that I’ve taken to like a duck takes to water because I’ve been a shutterbug most of my life.
My world spinning even faster now I have not only a son I got interested in coins but my grandson too. In many ways, coins have enhanced my life with memories made with my dad and the memories already made with my loving son.
This brings me around to probably the worst day of my life when on November 8th I woke up to a red glow. The red glow was a fire way off in the distance that we’ve seen so many times. Not a big red flag, yet. The next thing I knew is this fire was not like any other fire in the state of California where I have lived since I was born in 1951, it was moving extremely fast. I had very little time to grab three armloads of mostly photo albums to my Honda. The next thing I know is I could hear explosions all around me that made the ground sake. Those were propane tanks and getting closer with every boom. The wind was blowing fire from tree to tree as the sky turned black with the power out and no cell phone use to call out to my son. I had to leave the house. My daughter and my granddaughter, along with my son in law, left my house way before I did. So, I knew where they were. It was my son and grandson. I was worried sick over cause the last thing I told him was to “just get in your truck and leave!” then the cell phones went out.
A long story short we escaped with our lives along with our animals so for that right there I thank God in heaven.
Unfortunately, my beloved coin collection was left behind. I was only able to grab a few coin albums as I was forced to abandon my main collection, which was housed in a 1942 Jewelers safe in the burning house. I had no choice as I had to run for my life and get my family out of there.
Now without a home, we were hotel hoping like never before in my life with dogs, cats, birds, lizards and my infant granddaughter. From out of nowhere angels came to my family’s rescue in the shape of my coin family, good folks! My loved PCGS coin forum and a couple of very close friends, Jim Bowling (@jesbroken) teamed up with a sweetheart @Paradisefound to start a GoFundMe to raise funds to help us over this tragedy. It was heaven sent.
Upon returning to my home to see what remained, I was in disbelief to see the Jewelers safe. The coin holder boxes and coins holders were severely warped; however, the coins had remained protected by the holders themselves. Not only that but PCGS reached out to me and offered to restore and reholder my entire lifetime collection as a gift. They even made me a custom label based on a design my family felt most represented me, and a Crazyhounddog pedigree!
We have lost pretty much everything in this world, but these acts of love have restored my faith in humanity 100%. I also need to add that my father took me to almost every coin show he attended, and boy do I remember the coins back then! But what stands out in my mind most are the good folks that surround coins. My dad spent as much time jawboning and belly laughing as he did looking at coins. That my friends hasn’t changed. You will absolutely meet the best people in those coin circles.
With much love, I thank you all, and that’s straight from the heart.