Half way into 1914, on June 28th, shots rang out during a diplomatic visit in Serbia from Archduke of Austria-Hungary Franz Ferdinand and wife Sophia. The assassin’s gun, aimed at the Archduke and his wife, successfully landed their target, killing both instantly, and created a mass upheaval throughout Europe. After this tragic event, both countries tried to avoid conflict and planned to settle peacefully but not even a month later, the Austria-Hungary Empire declared war on Serbia. Meanwhile in the United States, just one year into his presidency, Woodrow Wilson decided to remain neutral in the European conflict that would later be called World War I. Wilson reasoned there was no need to join a war in which the U.S. had no enemies as of yet and there were other matters to attend to domestically. Not only had the west expanded drastically two years earlier, but the anticipated Panama Canal was completed in 1914. This grand effort, started by the French in 1881 and picked up by the U.S. in 1904, took eight-thousand nautical miles off shipment and travel routes from west to east by cutting out the necessity to travel around Cape Horn. This was certainly something to behold and would change the sea-commerce world tremendously for years to come.
The continuation of the newly released Buffalo Nickel was neither hindered by the focus on the canal nor by the outbreak of war. Furthermore, these coins were some of the first to be consistently minted in all three mint branches. Of these branches, the oldest Philadelphia Mint minted the largest amount of coins but San Francisco and Denver did not fall far behind. However, like the beginning years of the Philadelphia mint, both the San Francisco and Denver mints had low supply levels and poor quality materials. As a result, coin strikes were often poorly or weakly done and flaws were abundant on these strikes. For this reason strong, highly-graded strikes produced in San Francisco between 1913 and 1928 especially, are most certainly rarities.