AMERICAN GOLD BUFFALO COINS

AMERICAN GOLD BUFFALO COINS

The Gold Buffalo coin, also known as the American Buffalo, was first made available to the public in June of 2006 by the United States Mint. The coin was designed with the iconic images from the Indian Head nickel designed by James Earle Fraser that was issued in 1913.

The Gold Buffalo marked the very first minting of a 24 karat gold coin by the US Mint. It was met with excitement from not only coin collectors but also people who had been investing in the gold market. The coin was created to give the US a gold coin that could compete with the foreign 24kt coins already in production. The trend in investing in gold coins tends to lend itself to investors choosing a coin with 99.9% gold over one with 91.67% . The US already had a coin in production at the 91.67%, The American Gold Eagle. With the design and production of the American Gold Buffalo, the US could pull investors back into American Coins with the intent of increasing the amount of US gold sold.

The Design

James Earle Fraser’s design for the Indian Head nickel was only slightly changed for the 1oz American Buffalo coin. The original obverse of a Native American Chief, designed by taking features from three different Tribal Chiefs and forming them into one iconic figure, remained the same. The reverse of the coin went through only one small change. The American Bison, or Buffalo figure that takes up most of the coin did not change at all. Only the size of the piece of land he was standing on did. It was made a fraction smaller to allow for more print to be added to the gold coin.

It is said that the famed Buffalo on the reverse of the coin is a Bison from the Central Park Zoo named Black Diamond. He lived there during the 1910’s, the time of the original design of the coin and the city in which Fraser was living. The gold American Buffalo also reads a $ 50 tender as opposed to the FIVE CENTS on the nickel. Underneath the Buffalo is printed $ 50 1OZ .9999 FINE GOLD. Under his head reads IN GOD WE TRUST which has been a staple on US coinage since 1908.

Versions of Release

First issued by the West Point Mint was the standard Bullion or Mint State version of the Gold Buffalo. The West Point Mint is currently the only United States Mint that produces bullion coins. The Bullion coin does not display any mint mark and was originally only minted in the 1oz $ 50 denomination. In 2008, the mint released fractional Gold Buffalo coins in 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz weights with $ 25, $ 10 and $ 5 corresponding denominations.

The Proof Gold Buffalo coin quickly followed the Mint State and besides it’s very different finish, the only major difference is that it does in fact bear the “W” mint mark.

The Proof coin has the classic mirrored background with the Buffalo and Chief bearing a frosted like finish.

Later in 2006 the much anticipated American Gold Buffalo Uncirculated coin was released. It was first offered to coin dealers and then about a month later, it was made available to collectors directly through the mint.

Historical Events of the Gold Buffalo

The mint has placed two of its iconic American Gold Buffalo Coins in the Smithsonian Institute to solidify its great historic impact on American coinage and America’s ability to strongly compete on the world gold market. In 2008 there was a brief halting of the sales of the American Buffalo Coins as the mint was not able to keep up with the demands of investors as they were seeking refuge in the safety of gold during the subprime mortgage crisis that was taking place at the time.

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