The Indian head or buffalo head nickel replaced the Barber nickel in 1913. The design, however, posed problems throughout its striking because of design elements that were too large and inscriptions that were easily worn away. These coins in fine circulated condition are rare.
Indian head nickels were produced between 1913 and 1938, except for three years (1922,1932 and 1933) when these coins were not produced.
Indian head nickels were produced in Philadelphia, Denver and San Fransisco. The mint mark is located on the reverse side under the words "five cents." On high grade coins, the designer's initial can be found under the date on the obverse side.
Condition of the Indian head nickel is important to the overall value of the coin. Many of the design elements of this nickel were quickly worn away once put in circulation. Finer details on the coin can bring a higher value to collectors.
One high value variation is the 1918/17 over date. This coin is extremely rare in fine and uncirculated condition, but worth more than $700 in good circulated condition.
A 1917 nickel from the Philadelphia mint can be worth up to $40 in uncirculated condition. Uncirculated Denver and San Fransisco mint marks are worth nearly $300. Circulated conditions for this date are worth $4 to $20.