Frequently seen die markers on authentic 1937-D 3-leggers

davewesendavewesen Posts: 2,551 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited October 26, 2018 10:35PM in U.S. Coin Forum

I remember a post by someone that said they know at least 6 die markers seen on most authentic 1937-d 3-leggers and they could tell if it was authentic without even looking at the reverse. I thought it was Insider2, but they disavow that claim. I bought this raw at auction, feeling confident it was authentic. Please add to or argue any on my list of markers.

OBVERSE

  • small feather - almost a 2 3/4 feather as it is not attached at the base by the head
  • back of upper neck - is mottled or moth eaten
  • a reverse, upside down V sticking out in front of the first hair braid below the twine
  • lower neck die crack, with couple breaks .. almost looks like a couple of pearls necklace

REVERSE

  • arch spreading down below sheath in field
  • Right Rear leg above hock is thinner than the left
  • E Pluribus Unum is clearly separated from back of buffalo
  • mintmark D size, shape and location

FINALLY, RIGHT FRONT LOWER LEG MISSING between knee and hoof

Comments

  • yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 26, 2018 10:43PM
  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,094 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am glad you posted this. I saw the earlier thread mention the markers. Was it the 1917 cent? I was curious about the markers too. What is the sheath and arc?
    Could you do a screenshot with highlights on markers?
    Thanks again for making this thread.

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 2,551 ✭✭✭✭✭

    the sheath comes out of the middle of the belly
    yosclimber shows photo pointing the arc (many call it pissing stream)

  • koynekwestkoynekwest Posts: 4,978 ✭✭✭✭✭

    An easy way to remember the genuine article-"If the buffalo's not pissin' the leg ain't missin'. But the other die markers have to be there, too. It's actually an easy coin to authenticate with so many distinctive features. I have seen ONE genuine coin where that small feather was NOT detached from the neck but as a general rule that detached feather is a reliable marker.

  • rickoricko Posts: 65,047 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great diagnostics and the pictures will really help collectors (new and old).... Cheers, RickO

  • BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 2,531 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They call it "the potty" around here!

  • dbldie55dbldie55 Posts: 6,972 ✭✭✭✭

    It is said that many of these were released here in Bozeman Montana. I do know that there was some type of "estate" auction here not that long ago and someone bought a roll of buffalo nickels out of it and half of them were 1937-D 3-legs. He made out quite well, so they are still to be found "in the wild"

    Collector and Researcher of Liberty Head Nickels. ANA LM-6053

    imageimage
  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Black Diamond is smaller on the 3-Leg. The area around him was heavily reworked.

    Compare his "beard" with a normal Buff. Notice the difference.

    The difference is quite obvious.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 2,551 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 27, 2018 5:09PM

    the difference between the distance from bottom of beard and tuft of grass?

    I notice the nose is not complete on 3 leggers, like there was a ring that got pulled out.

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    the difference between the distance from bottom of beard and tuft of grass?

    I notice the nose is not complete on 3 leggers, like there was a ring that got pulled out.

    You're right. That's part of the tip off.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 2,260 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice diagnostics. Great images. I love CU. Peace Roy

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,237 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    I remember a post by someone that said they know at least 6 die markers seen on most authentic 1937-d 3-leggers and they could tell if it was authentic without even looking at the reverse. I thought it was Insider2, but they disavow that claim. I bought this raw at auction, feeling confident it was authentic. Please add to or argue any on my list of markers.

    OBVERSE

    • small feather - almost a 2 3/4 feather as it is not attached at the base by the head
    • back of upper neck - is mottled or moth eaten
    • a reverse, upside down V sticking out in front of the first hair braid below the twine
    • lower neck die crack, with couple breaks .. almost looks like a couple of pearls necklace

    REVERSE

    • arch spreading down below sheath in field
    • Right Rear leg above hock is thinner than the left
    • E Pluribus Unum is clearly separated from back of buffalo
    • mintmark D size, shape and location FINALLY, RIGHT FRONT LOWER LEG MISSING between knee and hoof

    Thinks for the bump, I forgot all about this one discussion and will look for :

    "a reverse, upside down V sticking out in front of the first hair braid below the twine."
    "lower neck die crack, with couple breaks .. almost looks like a couple of pearls necklace..."

    Can anyone add just one more "GREAT" diagnostic that is so obvious it is hardly ever mentioned? I'll send a counterfeit of my choice (in a yellow label slab) to the first correct answer. Unfortunately, I will not say what it is unless someone posts the correct answer. Don't worry, plenty of folks know about it so I expect a very quick winner!

  • HemisphericalHemispherical Posts: 4,390 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What looks like a “urine” stream/cloud below the belly toward the rear legs.

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hemi got it. I'll add that Black Diamond is smaller, and his "Beard" is slightly different due to the reworking(s) done on the reverse.

    Of course that means that "E PLURIBUS UNUM" appears farther away from the body.

    ..............And I believe that I was the one that said that a 3 Legger could be identified by Obverse only.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,237 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hemispherical said:
    What looks like a “urine” stream/cloud below the belly toward the rear legs.

    This: "Arch spreading down below sheath in field." I first heard Brian Silliman tell students in our Authentication Class: "If the bison ain't pissing, the leg ain't missing." LOL.

  • 1Bufffan1Bufffan Posts: 45 ✭✭

    The 1937-D Buffalo has a more pointed Beard, most likely from where they ran the tool in to remove the clashed front leg. If this is the correct answer please give the Prize to a Young Person in your area.

  • HemisphericalHemispherical Posts: 4,390 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Insider2 said:

    @Hemispherical said:
    What looks like a “urine” stream/cloud below the belly toward the rear legs.

    This: "Arch spreading down below sheath in field." I first heard Brian Silliman tell students in our Authentication Class: "If the bison ain't pissing, the leg ain't missing." LOL.

    I remember you saying that awhile back; my memory is somewhat working today.

    @davewesen has it in the OP but stated a bit more PC. :D

  • koynekwestkoynekwest Posts: 4,978 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've pointed out altered 3L without looking at the rev, using the detached feather marker. This was mentioned in my book in 2006. The "pissin" thing will apply to all genuine coins but other dates, without missing design elements, may show something similar so it's best to match 3 or 4 different die markers. The beard tip on the left (as you're looking at the bison) is shorter than the one on the right is yet another marker. This variety has so many excellent die markers that anyone who has done their homework should never be fooled.

  • ifthevamzarockinifthevamzarockin Posts: 816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can anyone add just one more "GREAT" diagnostic that is so obvious it is hardly ever mentioned?

    How bout the round knob/dot on the rear leg knee???

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 2,551 ✭✭✭✭✭

    How about the right front leg is missing between the knee and hoof?

  • jabbajabba Posts: 2,002 ✭✭✭✭

    There appears to be some small differences between some 3-legs I’m guessing it’s weather it’s an early die state or latter.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 26,389 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have looked at a few Buffalo nickels in my life, but it was not until I looked at the excellent pictures in this thread that I realized that the Mint Mark is left of center down there at the bottom. Close, but no cigar.

    As they say in the wallpaper trade, "How's it hanging?"
  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,237 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2019 8:57AM

    There are a lot of great diagnostics here several I never noticed. THANKS from all of us.
    Now any of the following members who send me a SASE will receive one or more RAW C/F or altered coins for study.

    @davewesen
    @yosclimber
    @koynekwest
    @Aspie_Rocco
    @BuffaloIronTail
    @CaptHenway
    @jabba
    @ifthevamzarockin
    @Hemispherical
    @1Bufffan
    @Namvet69
    @dbldie55
    @BillDugan1959
    @ricko

    F. Fazzari
    Institute for Applied Numismatics
    PO Box 1007
    Tallevast, FL 34270

    PS: "lower neck die crack, with couple breaks" I never saw this one but there is a "die state" with a break through the top horizontal braid knot.

  • HemisphericalHemispherical Posts: 4,390 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2019 10:24AM

    @Insider2

    Thanks! This was a very subtle giveaway prize.

    What’s the estimated weight? So I can slap a bunch of stamps on the envelope.

  • jabbajabba Posts: 2,002 ✭✭✭✭

    @Insider2
    Thanks will get one in the mail tomorrow.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 10,237 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2019 11:13AM

    @Hemispherical said:
    @Insider2

    Thanks! This was a very subtle giveaway prize.

    What’s the estimated weight? So I can slap a bunch of stamps on the envelope.

    Put just one, I'll make up the extra for the large, heavy box I'm sending...LOL. NOT!

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @koynekwest said:
    I've pointed out altered 3L without looking at the rev, using the detached feather marker. This was mentioned in my book in 2006. The "pissin" thing will apply to all genuine coins but other dates, without missing design elements, may show something similar so it's best to match 3 or 4 different die markers. The beard tip on the left (as you're looking at the bison) is shorter than the one on the right is yet another marker. This variety has so many excellent die markers that anyone who has done their homework should never be fooled.

    I may have mentioned it, but no doubt your comments about being able to identify a 3-Legger by obverse only precede anything I ever made comment on, Ron.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • Is there any reliable estimate as to how many of these 3 legged Buffs made it into circulation?

    500, 5000, 50000?

    Just trying to get some sense of how likely it would be to actually find one.

  • koynekwestkoynekwest Posts: 4,978 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yeah Pete-I pointed this out to a few flea market dealers who had altered 3 leggers back around 1989 or '90. I didn't get a courteous response.

  • koynekwestkoynekwest Posts: 4,978 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Poseidon89 said:
    Is there any reliable estimate as to how many of these 3 legged Buffs made it into circulation?

    500, 5000, 50000?

    Just trying to get some sense of how likely it would be to actually find one.

    Many of these were pulled from circulation shortly after they were minted. I'd imagine 2000-4000 might have been released but that a rough estimate. Their notoriety was widely recognized almost from the beginning.

  • I did some more digging, and this is the best I could find: https://www.numismaticnews.net/article/1937-d-three-legged-buffalo-stays-popular

    According to that 2017 article, at least 15,000 have been found and graded.

    So maybe that puts the total # releases into circulation around 20,000?

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've owned two 3-Leggers. The XF-40 I had was turned in and I purchased a real nice AU-50 from a family in Montana.

    The coin was found and saved by the seller when they were first advertised. Those original coins were released in the areas around Montana and the Great Plains States. Quite fitting, actually, that the coins became popular and again "Roamed the Plains".

    Sometimes flawed and worn out clashed dies are knowingly used far beyond their useful life at the Branch Mints. I don't personally believe that to be the case with the 3-Leg, though. It has been said that the alteration made was due to a hurried "Quick Fix" to repair a clashed die because there was a production target to be met by the shift.

    All speculative, of course. But the above scenario has been mentioned previously.

    I grew up as a young coin collector with the image of the 3-Leg presenting itself to me in the Red Book. It will always be part of the fond memories I have from that time.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • ifthevamzarockinifthevamzarockin Posts: 816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Insider2

    Thank you for your most generous offer! :)

    One of our YN that posts here might get more education from one of these coins, please give mine to someone you think would be good. It may help them to not make a bad purchase in the future.

  • koynekwestkoynekwest Posts: 4,978 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I bought a very good 3 legger not long after I started collecting-it must have been around 1962-for the sum of $35. And I've cherried two, both from flea market vendors.

  • MICHAELDIXONMICHAELDIXON Posts: 5,936 ✭✭✭✭

    This is always great information!!! In 54 years of collecting and dealing, I have never owned, bought or sold a 1937 D 3 legged buffalo!

    The National Battlefield Coin Show™ now twice a year; April 5-6, and September 13-14, 2019. Eisenhower Hotel Ballroom, Gettysburg, PA. Visit us on the web at WWW.BattlefieldCoinShows.com
  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @koynekwest said:
    I bought a very good 3 legger not long after I started collecting-it must have been around 1962-for the sum of $35. And I've cherried two, both from flea market vendors.

    You should have offered a Dollar or two for the altered ones you discovered.

    On second thought. No. They probably told you to GTFO.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • HemisphericalHemispherical Posts: 4,390 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Insider2 said:

    @Hemispherical said:
    @Insider2

    Thanks! This was a very subtle giveaway prize.

    What’s the estimated weight? So I can slap a bunch of stamps on the envelope.

    Put just one, I'll make up the extra for the large, heavy box I'm sending...LOL. NOT!

    Guess it’s not the Omega. :p

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