The buffalo nickel
is the common name for a United States five cent coin
that was issued by the United States Mint
. It followed the Liberty Head nickel
, and preceded the current Jefferson nickel.
The buffalo nickel, which was designed by James Earle Fraser, featured a side-profile Native American on the front (reportedly a composite of three chiefs: John Big Tree, Iron Tail and Two Moons) and an American bison, or buffalo, on the back. (The buffalo model was "Black Diamond," an American bison who lived at New York City's Central Park Zoo.)
Some 1.2 billion buffalo nickels were issued during the coin's 25-year lifespan. No buffalo nickels were made in 1922, 1932, and 1933.