The Buffalo Nickel

Episode Air Date: March 30, 2016
Artist: Bobby Smith
Recording Title: The Buffalo Nickel

James Earle Fraser created the Native American depicted on the flip side of the coin from a composite of three chiefs that sat for him, among them Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne. All in all, 1.2 billion were printed from 1913 to 1938. Today most are worth less than ten bucks. Still pretty good for a nickel. But the most valuable coin in US history is a variation of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, valued at approximately 4.5 million dollars. (Or 90 million nickels.) Why so rare? Turns out 5 of them were printed illegally by a US mint worker that year. Get the whole story right now.

Sound Beat is made possible by in part by a grant from the John Ben Snow Foundation.

 

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