1936 BUFFALO 5C, SATIN PR68
SATIN FINISH. ONLY 2 GRADED HIGHER AT NGC.
By 1936 the world could not have predicted what was to come in the years to come that would include the next World War and strained relations between several countries. However, the only international affair that was the center of attention was the 1936 Summer Olympics. The host city- Berlin, Germany- was the true concern for the spectacular games. Hitler had been in power since 1933 when the time came for the Olympics to come to town. In this time, he had implemented several of his antisemetic laws and made it clear that he believed in Aryan superiority. Due to his particular views, several countries felt it was necessary to host the games elsewhere but the committee gave Hitler a chance to remove much of his propaganda if he wanted to host the games. Surprisingly, the Olympics happened to be more important to Hitler than his convictions for the year. Not only did he remove the propaganda but he also temporarily suspended some of the Nuremburg Laws set in place years earlier. Still some countries felt uncomfortable and declined to participate while others felt it was an excellent platform for resistance. The United States was one of these countries. In fact the prized track star, Jesse Owens, was an African-American man who had already broken four records in his earliest college years and an additional three in 1935. Owens, a man of tremendous speed quickly disproved Hitler’s notion of Aryan supremacy when he was able to win his second gold medal in long jump on August 4th. The next day Owens not only won his third gold medal but also broke an Olympic record in the 200 meter race. He ended his competition at the Olympics when he assisted his team in a record breaking 4 x 100 meter relay on August 9th from which he received his fourth gold medal. Owens’ triumph truly put the nail in the coffin for Hitler’s Aryan ideology.
No one really seemed to enjoy the work of Charles Barber, so when 1913 rolled around it was time to say goodbye to his Liberty Head five cent. Since Barber’s initial design, Teddy Roosevelt had entered office where he showed a vested interest in U.S. coinage. Roosevelt, a fan of the classic coins of Greece, set out to change the designs across the board. Even after he left office, his desire for a full run of classic-styled coins was alive and well throughout the treasury and mint. Secretary of the Treasury, Franklin MacVeagh, wanted to avoid another design from Barber at all costs to keep his appointer’s dream alive. To do this MacVeagh turned to James Earl Fraser, a mentee of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and well known for his monumental “End of the Trail” tribute sculpture to Native Americans. Fraser’s design turned out truly remarkable and just in Roosevelt’s taste. The obverse featured a true-to-race Native Chief who donned a feather in his hair. The reverse featured a buffalo, modeled after the Bronx Zoo bison, on a prairie along with the date and motto. The Buffalo Nickel was so different and captivating the mint distributed some of its first strikes to thirty-three Native chiefs, President Taft, and was honored at the National Memorial to the North American Indian. Unfortunately the first design proved to wear the date down rapidly, so Barber got his hand on the coin to modify the mound upon which the buffalo stood. However, Barber also took his greedy hand and smoothed the chiefs face which took away some of the artistic merit Fraser had incorporated. Still, the nickel has remained a truly historical feat in the numismatic world for its artistry, historic importance, and its finesse.