1920 Five Cents | Buffalo Reverse Five Cents by Date | Five Cents by Type 
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Obverse of 1920 Five Cents struck in Copper     Reverse of 1920 Five Cents struck in Copper

Struck in Copper

Rarity: Unique

Metal content:
Copper - 89%
Zinc - 8%
Tin - 3%

Weight: 4.96 grams

Edge: Plain

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) on the reverse below FIVE CENTS

Is this a pattern coin?

Pro: The full size and weight of the planchet indicates a test striking.  Had the host coin been a Cent planchet, the resulting coin would have been under-sized and the lower weight of a Bronze Cent (3.11 grams).

Con: The Buffalo Nickel had already been in production at three different mints since 1913.  What was there to test?  

Sources and/or recommended reading:
Website - http://www.byersnc.com/copperbuffalo.html


Images courtesy of Michael S. Byers Numismatic Corporation

Significant examples:
NGC AU-55 (illustrated above).  Ex - Mike Chambers - well-known Pattern dealer - Michael S. Byers Numismatic Corporation, sold on eBay (#1287260673) for $12,500.00 - East Coast Buffalo Nickel specialist.  The following is Byers' description of the coin from the eBay offering: "This is a Discovery Coin and is now being offered for sale. A 1920 Buffalo Nickel struck on a full size copper planchet of the same diameter, thickness, and weight of a Buffalo Nickel!! Its composition is 89% CU, 8% ZN and 3% SN. The weight is 4.96 grams which is 76.54 grains. This unique Off-Metal Buffalo Nickel is unreported in Breen, Judd and Pollock.  Buffalo Nickels struck on Cent Planchets are very scarce. Buffalo Nickels struck on Dime Planchets are extremely rare. This is the first and only reported Buffalo Nickel struck on a Full Size Copper Planchet. There is a possibility that it is a unique copper test piece and was never melted and destroyed.  Type Coin Mint Errors have been undervalued for over 20 years and have just started to realize their true value. I just offered Fred Weinberg, a well known Mint Error Dealer, $20,000 for his Buffalo Nickel struck on a Dime Planchet... and he passed.  This unique Copper Buffalo Nickel is being offered for less than what a Buffalo Nickel on a Dime would sell for.  Pedigree. Originally in the Mike Chambers' world famous collection of U.S. Off-Metal Mint Errors. It was sold to a well known East Coast dealer, who specializes in Patterns, exotic coins and other rarities. He submitted it to NGC for authentication, and upon certification I immediately purchased it."