Found: A Buffalo Nickel!

January 16, 2009

Wouldn’t it be great if you got some change from your local store clerk and when you went to look at your change you noticed a Buffalo staring you back in the face?!  These coins are very rare to find in circulation, however, it is still possible to find a Buffalo Head Nickel in your change.

It is estimated that there are approximately 1 in 25,000 nickels in circulation are a buffalo head.  So, what is the likelhood that you will be able to scream: “Found!  Buffalo Nickel!”  Well, lets break it down.

According to Matthew Healy of the New York Times, there are approximately 20 billion nickels in circulation.  Now these are very rough estimates of course, but that would mean that there are approximately 800,000 Buffalo Nickels in circulation today!  If each of the 50 states has the same amount of nickels (not realistic but good for illustration purposes), that means that each state has approximately 16,000 buffalo head nickels in it.

So if you break it down further into cities and towns, you can see that there are a few out there, but not many.  If there are 500 major cities or towns in the US, that means that each of these cities or towns has approximately 32 total Indian Head Nickels (in active circulation) in them.

Or another way to look at it is simply by percentage.  What is your chances of getting a nickel from this time period in your change?  The answer is approximately 0.000125% chance.  Not good.  But who knows, if you keep your eyes open, you just might be able to find one!

Category: Buffalo Nickel, Indian Head Nickels