I have been trying nic-a-date lately. Last week, I bought 500 no-date Buffalo nickels off of eBay. I spent Friday night dividing them between Plain, D, S, Type 1 and bad mint mark. I have a 2.5 times magnifying glass and a 10x jewelers eye piece.
Well, last night I went through the type 1, S and D,s. About 100 total. I got a date off of all but 7. Those were just too damaged from scratches in the date area to get anything off of them. I found a total of 13 type 1 nickels. I had to nic-a-date some of the mint marks too. I found 10 plain, 2 D's and One I just can't tell. The back mound was rubbed pretty smooth. I can see a lump after the acid, but I can't tell what the lump is.
I found a 1914 D, two 1915 S's, Four 1916 D's, Two 1917 S, and a 1921 S. I also found 5 1918 D's with one of them possibly being a 1918/7 D. I'm still trying to find out if there were other anomalies about this coin that can help me verify it. I found that they used a new die in 1917 in Denver that centered the D, which was when the 1918 die was actually made, but I still can't tell for sure whether I can use this as a guide. I will do some more research. To me, this is the kind of thing that I find entertaining.
Now I have the 400 plains or really worn coins left. The really worn coins are the most challenging but also have the most potential for a 1913 type 2 (I took all the type 1's out since they are so obvious to find.)
What I have found so far is that the vast majority of the worn coins I have are from the years 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919. I am looking for a 1916 doubled die but I'm not sure that the nic-a-date would be able to bring that out. There were a few coins from the 1920's but none from the 30's yet.
I do realize that most of these coins are worthless, but I have had a fun time doing this. I have also learned a bit about this Buffalo nickel and which coins are the most worn. I spent $130 on the 500 Nickels, the bottle of Nic-a-date, the 15 plastic rolls, and the 200 2x2 slabs, and a new stapler made just for this. For me, that was a pretty cheap price to pay for 15-40 hours of fun. And yes, I do find that getting these dates and finding what nickels are in this bunch a whole lot of fun. When I am finally finished, I will make a spreadsheet of all the coins that I purchased and the distribution of these coins. That day will still be several weeks off since I can only work on these on the weekends. I'll let you all know what I find out when I am done.