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Where do Buffalo roam?

As I was transiting the Dallas-Fort Worth airport on Saturday, I stopped at a McDonald’s to get a late lunch.

In my change came a 2005-D Buffalo nickel. It surprised me. I know it shouldn’t. The design is six years old. I was well aware of its issuance.

But actually getting one in my change is a very rare occurrence. Straining my memory because I did not keep track in any written form, I want to write that I have received one of these new Buffalo nickels perhaps a half dozen times in six years. That’s not often for a design where 936 million were struck, some 488 million from Denver alone.

Where did they all go?

It is a rare event to see any of the four designs produced in 2004 and 2005 as part of the Westward Journey series that celebrated the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.

I suppose it is simply a matter of mathmatical odds. The approximately one billion coins with the Buffalo design are not many when weighed against the whole output of the Mint of the Jefferson nickel since production began in 1938, but the more recent production should count for something.

It is possible that the design was trapped in the banking system due to the financial collapse of 2008. If there is any truth to this hypothesis then I will encounter more of the Buffalo coins in future.

I would like that. It is a great design. It reminds me of the old Buffalo nickel, which I treasured in my circulation finds days back in the 1960s.

Take a look at your change. Do you see the Buffalo design very often?

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7 Responses to Where do Buffalo roam?

  1. Mark says:

    I’ve gotten a bunch of the Buffalo design, mostly from Philadelphia. In recent years I did get three old Buffalo nickels, one from 1937 and on the other two the dates were worn out so I can’t tell what year(s) they were from.

  2. Wesley says:

    Every other Friday on payday, I get an assortment of coin rolls to go through…I do find the "new" buffalo’s fairly often…probably as often as other dates. The D buffalo is pretty rare, but I’m also on the east coast, so that’s probably not but so surprising. One or two of the other 2004/05 nickels in D is also hard to come by here in the east.

  3. Vachon says:

    I work as a cashier so I have an advantage you don’t. Of the four Lewis and Clark designs, the 2005 buffalo shows up least. I see the 2005 Ocean in View and 2004 Peace Medal designs the most frequently with the 2004 Keelboat coming in third.

    You also have to bear in mind that our coins don’t really circulate anymore. Cents, nickels, and dimes (and even quarters) can afford to be hoarded until one makes trips to the bank or CoinStar. You see it for yourself in the change you receive. Coins were designed to last for forty years in circulation. That’s 1971. That means coins from the 1960s should be worn to slicks but clearly are not.

    Since there will likely never be a Resumption Act for the 21st century to restore the purchasing power of our money, coins won’t circulate until they have face values high enough to discourage hoarding (or at least holding on to).

  4. Mike says:

    I find them all the time,but i coin roll hunt almost every day,also i work for 1 of the big 2 soda companys and repair vending machines so i`m alway looking at the coins as i run them through the machines.I have found many old coins over the years.

  5. Anoynumus says:

    i FIND westward journey nickels all the Time

  6. Bryon says:

    I received one in my change yesterday while getting a Mocha!
    As a norm I rarely get coins back from the stores I frequent because of my usage of the debit card. It has practically stopped me from ever having money in coin or paper form on my person. As a matter of fact I bet I get more coins from the mint each year than I do from other sources.

  7. Brent says:

    I recently purchased a box (50 rolls) of nickels at my local bank and of the 50 rolls, I found about 30 Westward Coins in total, almost all "D". I was surprized at the low amount as I probably found just as many 2010 D coins! I’m on the west coast so it’s difficult to find "P" coins period, but even more difficult to come accross any Westward "P". It is interesting why these coins are not more common.

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