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Friday, July 10, 2009

How To Detect Altered Coins "Three Legged Buffalo"


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Part 1
1937 D three legged buffalo nickel is one of the famous and one of the most sort after error coins in the collecting world.
I remember back when i was just starting out collecting coins with my dad. I couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old. My dad would say " We got to get that three legged buffalo". In my mind i was thinking a "three legged Buffalo???
Not wanting to disturb my dad, I didn't ask him any questions just yet. My mind was trying to figure out what a "three legged buffalo" looks like. Was it another kind of buffalo, could it be a different breed???? Or since it was also called a Indian head nickel was it some symbol of a great god, maybe it symbolized a great warrior that was wounded in Little Big Horn battle. But what ever it was my dad just had to have one. The imagination on a young child could really make people dizzy. Eventually i asked my dad, and my answer was finally put to an end. We where down at the local coin dealer on West 45Th street in Manhattan. I remember the owner's name.
It was Joey, but we called him Jo-Jo for short. Dad asked Jo-Jo "do you have a three leggier". Jo Jo answer "not yet". My dad would have
this disappointed look on his face. "make sure you let me know when you get one." Jo Jo would say "how about a 1942/1 Mercury Dime "No, i want the three leggier." Sounded like we were on the the big hunt in the forest looking for the trophy for the living room wall. My dad finally found a raw one. Since they didn't grade coins back in those days, coins were purchase raw. "This one isn't real" my dad said, the first one we looked at. "The buffalo is to big and the leg, not right.". It sure looked good to me, partial leg missing, "dad are you sure?" "Trust me son i can tell". My dad favorite phase was "trust me son", so i did. This leads us into what i will try to explain to you about a "three Legged Buffalo Nickel".How to tell a geniue form an altered one.



Genuine Three Leggier

1) The entire Buffalo on the reverse of the coin is smaller then any altered one. Can be seen by the naked eye.

2) The hind legs on the genuine 3 legged are narrow and not totally rounded. Looks bumpy

3) The 3 leggier has several bumps between the front and back legs.

4) The beard tips on the 3 leggier are blunt and about even

5) On the genuine, the hoof between the missing leg is weak

6) Genuine 3 leggier, the P of PLURIBUS and the U of UNUM do not touch the upper portion of the buffalo.




This concludes part one of "How To Detect Counterfeit & Altered Coins"

A short story on my store's name
Several years ago my dad died, one the worst days in my life. I took over our collection. I feel like my dad was still there next to me
when i'm around coins looking to sell or buy. I can still hear him said "I want a Three leggier", like it was yesterday.
We all called my dad "Pop". So "Pop Pino's Coins" is My M.O. Thanks

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