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Stampede to dateless Buffaloes?

Dateless Buffalo nickels was the topic of a front page story on the cover of the Numismatic News that I deadlined last week.

A reader has restored dates to thousands of them, finding the doubled-die 1916 as well as the 1918/7-D overdate rarities.

What I did not know before the story reached me was that grading companies will slab such pieces.

They note that the coin is not in original condition.

Even with that, it seems slabs could be an incentive for other collectors to try restoring dates.

Already I have received an emailed reaction to the story:

“Just for the heck of it, I bought $50 worth of undated worn-out Buffalo nickels for a few cents over face value.

“I then ordered a bottle of Nic-A-Date acid and cleaned the date areas and to my surprise 98 percent of the coins showed a date.

“I was able to get 49 of the 68-coin set. I now am on my way to collecting an almost worthless coin collection. LOL.

“Who says coin collecting can’t be fun?”

Fun is the point.

A date-restored set won’t rank at the top of grading services registry sets. But there certainly can be competition to build complete Buffalo nickel sets, rare varieties and all.

Perhaps a successful acid-restored Buffalo set builder could mount it as an exhibit at a major coin show.

It would be something new under the sun.

It is an activity that fits our hobby profile.

Set building is positive.

Costs are low.

It requires some physical effort.

It is not a battle that ends simply by writing a check.

Building an exhibit for a show requires creativity and numismatic knowledge.

If this appeals to you, give it a try.

Finding out what a date might be on a dateless Buffalo is like a lottery scratch-off.

You might win.

Besides, what else will we do with the supply of dateless coins?

There has not been a satisfactory answer to that question since I first tried Nic-A-Date almost 50 years ago.

Buy a bottle. Buy some dateless coins. Buy a Whitman album.

Then get going.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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2 Responses to Stampede to dateless Buffaloes?

  1. Bob says:

    I’ve always found it humorous the people who whine about restored date buffaloes and how they aren’t worth anything, etc, etc. Yes, that’s right, so tell me again what someone has to lose by doing it? Someone may as well have a little fun!

    I buy a little junk silver every now and then…sometimes get something interesting, or a proof modern silver quarter, sometimes a slight upgrade to my Mercury dimes set, even got a Columbian Exposition half dollar that way. I think my best find was a 1927-S SLQ! It can be fun, and costs nothing over roughly silver value. It is also better if the place you purchase from will let you look through their junk silver box and pick out what you want…I think it helps if you are a regular customer and they aren’t otherwise busy.

    As I’ve heard some camera collecting friends say in the past, “it’s the thrill of the hunt!”

  2. Hi! So now we’re we were not able to alter coins we can and the TPG’s will encapsulate them. I’m sorry but that’s not part of the hobby. Have all the fun you want but it’s going to cost you to encapsulate altered coins. So why not improperly cleaned? There altered. Why put it on the label? Anything goes. Counterfeit coins encapsulated and graded. What’s going on? It seems to me were going backwards instead of forward. How come this isn’t done by the companies? What if this magic date restoration gets on the rest of the coin. Or part of it. Will people sell these raw without telling the customer? I bet they will. Did you think of that? Thousands of date less coins will be sold at shows and sites like eBay. Or can you tell by looking at the coin? If you can’t then there will be problems. Sure there are honest collector’s but we also know there are collector’s who are not honest. This all depends if you can tell it’s been done. Does it clean up the letters also? These are questions that have to be answered to protect the collector. Just my opinion. Mike

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