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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