American Buffalo (coin)

Last updated
$50
United States
Value$1750 (Proof), 4–5% above spot (Bullion) U.S. dollars
Mass31.108 g (1.0001  troy oz)
Diameter32.7 mm (1.287 in)
Thickness2.95 mm (0.116 in)
EdgeReeded
Composition99.99% (24K) Gold
Years of minting2006Present
Catalog numberBA6
Obverse
Buffalo $50 Obverse.png
Design American Indian Head
Designer James Earle Fraser's design of the Indian Head nickel was modified for the American Buffalo coin
Design date1913
Reverse
Buffalo $50 Reverse.png
Design American Bison
Designer James Earle Fraser's design of the Indian Head nickel was modified for the American Buffalo coin
Design date1913

The American Buffalo, also known as a gold buffalo, is a 24-karat bullion coin first offered for sale by the United States Mint on June 22, 2006, and available for shipment beginning on July 13. The coin follows the design of the Indian Head nickel and has gained its nickname from the American Bison on the reverse side of the design. This was the first time ever that the United States Government has minted pure (.9999) 24-karat gold coins for the public. [1] The coin has a legal tender (face) value of US$50. Due to a combination of the coin's popularity and the tremendous increase in the price of gold since its creation the coin's value has increased considerably in a short time of just a few years. The initial 2006 U.S. Mint price of the proof coin was $800. [2] In 2007 the Mint proof coin was $899.95, [3] $1,410.00 in 2009, [4] and $2,010.00 in 2011. [5]

Contents

In addition to requiring a presidential dollar coin series to begin in 2007 and redesigning the cent in 2009, the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 mandated the production of a one-ounce 24-karat gold bullion coin with a face value of $50 and a mintage limit of up to 300,000 coins.

Design

The design of the American Buffalo gold bullion coin is a modified version of James Earle Fraser's design for the Indian Head nickel (Type 1), issued in early 1913. After a raised mound of dirt below the animal on the reverse was reduced, the Type 2 variation continued to be minted for the rest of 1913 and every year until 1938, except for 1922, 1932, and 1933 when no nickels were struck. Generally, Fraser's Indian Head nickel design is regarded as among the best designs of any U.S. coins. The same design also was used on the 2001 Smithsonian commemorative coin.

The obverse (front) of the coin depicts a Native American, whom Fraser said he created as a mixture of the features of three chiefs from different American Indian tribes, Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons, who posed as models for him to sketch. The obverse also shows the motto "LIBERTY" on the top right, the year of mintage on the bottom left, and below that the letter F for Fraser.

The American Buffalo gold bullion coin further has in common with the nickel the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM above the buffalo's lower back and the device UNITED·STATES·OF·AMERICA along the top. Differences that can be noted between the nickel and the fifty dollar piece are, on the gold American Buffalo coin the mound area of the reverse of the Indian Head nickel bearing the words, FIVE CENTS, has been changed to read $50 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD. Also, the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST , appearing on all U.S. gold coins since 1908, can be seen on the reverse of the newer coin to the left of, and beneath, the buffalo's head.

Fractional sizes

The U.S. Mint indicated an expansion of the program, to include buffalo gold coins in fractional sizes for 2008 only. The specially-packaged 8–8-08 Double Prosperity set contained a one-half ounce gold buffalo coin. [6]
Weights and measures provided below: [7]

DiameterThicknessWeight
$5 (1/10 oz.)16.5 mm (0.650 in.)1.19 mm (0.047 in.)0.10 Troy oz. (3.11 g, 0.109 oz.)
$10 (1/4 oz.)22.0 mm (0.866 in.)1.83 mm (0.072 in.)0.25 Troy oz. (7.776 g, 0.274 oz.)
$25 (1/2 oz.)27.0 mm (1.063 in.)2.24 mm (0.088 in.)0.503 Troy oz. (15.552 g, 0.5485 oz.)

Distribution

Currently, all U.S. bullion coins, including the American Buffalo gold piece, are being struck at the West Point Mint in New York. According to the U.S. Mint website, only the proof version of the buffalo gold coin bears the mint mark "W" on the obverse (front) of the coin, behind the neck of the Indian; the bullion version does not have the "W" mint mark. The 2006 and 2007 coins only have been issued in a one-ounce version, but in 2008, $5, $10, and $25 face value coins were minted with 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/2 oz of gold respectively.

After a long wait by both collectors and investors, the uncirculated version of the American Buffalo gold piece was made available to coin dealers on June 20, 2006. Collectors who wanted to purchase the proof version from the mint were given the opportunity to place their orders with the mint beginning on July 22. The 2006 proof quality coin has a strict mintage limit of 300,000, with an additional enforced limit of only ten (10) coins per household. The catalog number of the 2006 proof coin at the U.S. Mint is (BA6).

The coin was created in order to compete with foreign 24-karat gold bullion coins. Since investors sometimes prefer 99.99% pure gold over the 91.67% gold used in the American Gold Eagle, many were choosing non-U.S. coins, such as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, to meet their bullion needs. With the American Buffalo coin, the U.S. government hopes to increase the amount of U.S. gold sales and cash in on the 24-karat sales, which makes up about 60% of the world gold market.

On September 26, 2008, the U.S. Mint announced that, temporarily, it would halt sales of the American Buffalo coins because it could not keep up with soaring demand as investors sought the safety of gold amid the subprime mortgage crisis of the late 2000s, [8] which had also affected the price of gold.

Mintage

Mintage [9] for the bullion version of the American Buffalo is as follows (all 1 ounce coins):

YearMintage
201961,500
2018121,500
201799,500
2016219,500
2015220,500
2014180,500
2013198,500
2012100,000
2011250,000
2010209,000
2009200,000
2008189,500
2007136,503
2006337,012

See also

Related Research Articles

Krugerrand South African coin

The Krugerrand is a South African coin, first minted on 3 July 1967 to help market South African gold and produced by Rand Refinery and the South African Mint. The name is a compound of Paul Kruger, the former President of the South African Republic, and rand, the South African unit of currency. On the reverse side of the Krugerrand is a springbok, South Africa's national animal.

Quarter (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

The quarter, short for quarter dollar, is a United States coin worth 25 cents, one-quarter of a dollar. It has a diameter of .955 inch (24.26 mm) and a thickness of .069 inch (1.75 mm). The coin sports the profile of George Washington on its obverse, and its reverse design has changed frequently. It has been produced on and off since 1796 and consistently since 1831.

Nickel (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

A nickel is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is .835 inches (21.21 mm) and its thickness is .077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop, and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2018, over 1.26 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.

American Silver Eagle Silver bullion coin of the United States

The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States.

American Gold Eagle Gold bullion coin of the United States

The American Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. Authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, it was first released by the United States Mint in 1986. Because the term "eagle" also is the official United States designation for pre-1933 ten dollars gold coins, the weight of the bullion coin is typically used when describing American Gold Eagles to avoid confusion. This is particularly true with the 1/4-oz American Gold Eagle, which has a marked face value of ten dollars.

American Platinum Eagle Platinum bullion coin of the United States

The American Platinum Eagle is the official platinum bullion coin of the United States. In 1995, Director of the United States Mint Philip N. Diehl, American Numismatic Association President David L. Ganz, and Platinum Guild International Executive Director Jacques Luben began the legislative process of creating the Platinum Eagle. After over two years of work, the 99.95% fine platinum coins were released by the United States Mint in ​110, ​14, ​12 and 1 troy oz denominations. In late 2008, the fractional denominations were discontinued, leaving only the one ounce denomination. The Platinum Eagle is authorized by the United States Congress, and is backed by the United States Mint for weight, content, and purity.

Britannia (coin)

Britannia coins are British bullion coins issued by the Royal Mint in gold since 1987, in silver since 1997, and in platinum since 2018. The coin patterns feature various depictions of Britannia, a feminine personification of the United Kingdom.

The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf (GML) is a gold bullion coin that is issued annually by the Government of Canada. It is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.

A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment rather than used in day-to-day commerce. A bullion coin is distinguished by an explicit statement of weight and fineness on the coin; this is because the weight and composition of coins intended for legal tender is specified in the coinage laws of the issuing nation, and therefore there is no need for an explicit statement on the coins themselves. The United Kingdom defines investment coins more specifically as coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are, or have been, legal tender in their country of origin. Under United States law, "coins" that fail the last of these requirements are not coins at all, and must be advertised as "rounds" instead. The American Eagle and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series are the only coins available in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

West Point Mint Branch of the United States Mint

The West Point Mint Facility is a U.S. Mint production and depository facility erected in 1937 near the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, United States. Originally it was called the West Point Bullion Depository. At one point it had the highest concentration of silver of any U.S. mint facility, and for 12 years produced circulating pennies. It has since minted mostly commemorative coins and stored gold.

Quarter eagle

The quarter eagle was a gold coin issued by the United States with a denomination of two hundred and fifty cents, or two dollars and fifty cents. It was given its name in the Coinage Act of 1792, as a derivation from the US ten-dollar eagle coin. Its purchasing power in 1800 would be equivalent to $71.12 in 2015 dollars.

Buffalo nickel US 5-cent copper-nickel coin minted 1913-1938

The Buffalo nickel or Indian Head nickel is a copper-nickel five-cent piece that was struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938. It was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser.

The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a silver bullion coin that is issued annually by the Government of Canada. It is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Australian Silver Kookaburra

The Silver Kookaburra is a silver bullion coin originating from Australia, and produced at the Perth Mint starting in 1990. The coins were .999 fine silver until the 2018 edition, which increased in purity to .9999 silver. While the obverse of the coin always depicts Queen Elizabeth II, the reverse side changes every year, always featuring a kookaburra, a bird native to Australia. Due to the yearly design change and limited production of the one-ounce coins, they have higher collectible value than some other bullion coins. The Perth Mint generally ships the coins in individual plastic capsules. One-ounce coins ship in shrink wrap rolls of 20, with 5 rolls in each box of 100. They are minted in four sizes; 1000g, 10, 2 and 1 troy ounces.

Libertad (coin)

The Libertad coins are silver and gold bullion coins originating from Mexico and minted by the La Casa de Moneda de México. The Mexican Mint was established in 1535 and is the oldest mint in the Americas. The modern coins contain 99.9% silver or gold and are available in various sizes. Both metal coins have undergone a design change. In 1989, 3,500 ​14 ounce Libertad platinum coins were produced. Libertads are devoid of face value, yet are still accepted as currency and guaranteed by Banco de México based on the market value of its gold or silver content.

America the Beautiful quarters Series of U.S. coins

The America the Beautiful quarters are a series of 56 25-cent pieces (quarters) issued by the United States Mint starting in 2010 and scheduled to continue until 2021. The obverse (front) of all the coins depicts George Washington in a modified version of the portrait used for the original 1932 Washington quarter. There will be five new reverse (back) designs each year, each commemorating a national park or national site – one from each state, the federal district, and each territory. The program is authorized by the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008.

America the Beautiful silver bullion coins Silver bullion coins of the United States

The America the Beautiful silver bullion coins comprise a series of silver bullion coins with a face value of a quarter dollar. The coins contain five troy ounces of silver, making them the largest silver bullion coins ever issued by the United States Mint. The design of the coins duplicates exactly—though enlarged—each of the America the Beautiful quarters. They have been issued since 2010 and will continue to be issued until at least 2021. The coins are available for sale during the year in which their corresponding circulating coin is issued. The coins are distributed by the United States Mint's network of authorized bullion dealers, and may be resold at the discretion of the Director of the National Park Service.

Vienna Philharmonic (coin)

The Vienna Philharmonic, often shortened to Philharmonic, is a bullion coin of gold, silver, or platinum produced by the Austrian Mint. The coin is named for the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, which inspired the design of both sides. It was introduced in 1989 as a one-troy ounce (ozt), gold coin with a face value of 2,000 Austrian schillings. It is generally one of the world's best selling bullion coins. In 2002, with the adoption of the euro currency, the nominal value of the one-ounce coin was changed to 100 euros. In 2008, the Mint introduced a one-ounce silver version of the coin with a nominal value of 1.50 euros. The silver coin is also one of the top selling bullion coins, ranked third in 2013. In 2016, the mint introduced a one ounce platinum coin with a face value of 100 euros.

American Palladium Eagle Palladium bullion coin of the United States

The American Palladium Eagle is the official palladium bullion coin of the United States. Each coin has a face value of $25 and contains 99.95% fine palladium. It was authorized by the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 which became Public Law 111-303 passed during the 111th United States Congress. The Palladium Eagle uses Adolph Weinman's obverse design on the Mercury dime, Liberty wearing a winged hat, while its reverse design is based on Weinman's 1907 American Institute of Architects (AIA) medal design.

American Buffalo silver dollar

The American Buffalo silver dollar is a commemorative silver dollar issued by the United States Mint in 2001. The coin commemorates both the National Museum of the American Indian and the Buffalo nickel, the latter serving as the basis for the dollar's design. The coin was authorized by Pub.L. 106–375 (text)(pdf).

References

  1. United States Mint. "United States Mint Strikes First Pure Gold U.S. Coins for Investors & Collectors". Archived from the original on 14 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
  2. United States Mint. "American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin Available from the United States Mint Beginning June 22". Archived from the original on 14 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
  3. United States Mint. "2007 American Buffalo Gold Proof One Ounce Coin (BA7)". Archived from the original on 25 March 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  4. United States Mint. "2009 American Buffalo Gold Proof One Ounce Coin (BA7)". Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  5. United States Mint. "2011 American Buffalo Gold Proof One Ounce Coin (BA7)" . Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  6. www.usmint.gov "...newly-released fractional weight options in the expanded American Buffalo Coin Program"
  7. https://www.moderncoinmart.com/fractional-buffalo-gold/
  8. "Mint suspends sale of 24-karat gold coins". USA Today. September 26, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  9. "Bullion Sales/Mintage Figures - 2014 American Buffalo Bullion (year-dated coins sold)". United States Mint. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2015.