by Peter J. Miksich, Jr., a Buffalo Nickel Devotee
The 1919-D Buff is one tough coin! It is extremely difficult to find any of them in top-shape collectable condition (VF- and up) today.
A study of Mints, and rarities (condition-wise) in the 20th Century annals of coinage point to 1919 at Denver as being a real stopper for quality, fully struck, coinage in almost all denominations.
One need only to look at the 1919-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar, and you will quickly discover the merits of this thread.Yes, you can get them — anywhere, anytime — but if you want decent, nicely struck, higher grade examples the price jumps to the stratosphere!
The same is true with the humble 5-Cent Denver coin of that date and Mint.
I have said — and I do still believe — that 1927-D is the sleeper. Everyone looks past that date to purchase earlier Buffs in decent grades. But I also believe that hands down, 1919-D is much more difficult to find as a decent specimen to your Buff set.
Here are the deficiencies to 1919-D:
1) Poorly struck from overworked and overused dies.
2) Terrible high-point definition on, and including, Mint-state examples.
3) Hardly ever, if never seen with a fully detailed top feather. The bottom one also fades near the tip.
4) Most, but not all, still most have bad definition, including flatness, to the head of the Buff.
5) Peripheral elements, around and near the rim are ill-defined.
6) A general, hard to describe softness to the whole coin. (1919-P also has this malady)