Introduced in 2006, the American Gold Buffalo coin borrows imagery from one of the nation’s iconic coins. Dating back to a period of mintage history in the US that is widely considered the Golden Age of coinage in America, the images on this coin are classic symbols of American society and culture.
The United States Mint made the decision in the early 21st century that a 24-karat gold coin was needed in the Mint’s coinage lineup. The American Gold Eagle is struck in 22-karat gold, and though popular among numismatics, it does not compete in terms of purity with other national bullion coins like the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf.
Images used on the American Gold Buffalo represent the Golden Age of American coin design. James Earle Fraser’s Indian Head Nickel, struck between 1913 and 1938, served as the inspiration for the symbols featured on the Certified American Gold Buffalo coins. Fraser’s Indian Head Nickel featured Black Diamond on the reverse side of the coin. The bison was a resident of the Central Park Zoo in New York City during the early years of the 20th century.
His image on the obverse side was created by combining the facial features of three American Indian chieftains. Fraser stated that Iron Tail (Sioux), Big Tree (Kiowa), and Two Moons (Cheyenne) were the American Indian chieftains who sat for Fraser at different periods.
By in large, the Certified American Gold Buffalo coin is struck in a 1 oz weight. The United States Mint strikes the coins in bullion, proof, reverse proof, and uncirculated mintages. However, the bullion program has only been struck in 1 oz weights since 2006. The proof coin mintage struck fractional weights in only one year, 2008. During that year, the coin was struck in ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights in addition to the standard 1 oz. The mint struck a total of 18,863 1 oz proofs, 12,169 ½ oz proofs, 13,125 ¼ oz proofs, and 18,884 1/10 oz proofs in 2008.
The Mint also introduced an uncirculated coin in all four weights in 2008, with production levels highest for the ½ oz and 1/10 oz coins that year. The uncirculated coins, like the proof coins, bear a “W” mint mark to identify the coins as a product of the West Point Mint. Bullion coins do not bear any mint marks.
In 2013, the US Mint released a reverse proof coin with a mintage of 47,836 to honor the 100th anniversary of the original Indian Head Nickel. Through 2014, the highest total mintage of any coin was 337,012 for the 2006 bullion coin. The lowest total mintage of any coin in the series was 9,074 for the 1 oz uncirculated coin struck in 2008. The US Mint has considered adding fractional weights to the bullion coin program, but to date that has not materialized in production.
On the obverse side of each coin is Fraser’s depiction of the American Indian chieftain. Featured in a right-profile portrait, the chieftain is surrounded by the engravings “Liberty” and the year of minting. A small “F” is inscribed below the year of minting to signify Fraser as the originator of the coin’s design.
The reverse side of the coin bears the image of Black Diamond. On this side, the powerful bison is featured standing atop a small mound of dirt. Engravings include “United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust,” and the coin’s identifying features for numismatics. The face value of the coin, $50 USD, is also inscribed on this side.
There are numerous certification and grading services that evaluate the quality of American Gold Buffalo coins, but the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) are widely considered the premier services in the industry. The most common grades from the two companies include the following:
JM Bullion has a variety of American Gold Buffalo coins available for collectors and investors. Our current stock of Certified American Gold Buffalo coins includes brilliant, uncirculated coins, MS70 coins from the PCGS and NGC, as well as PR70 DCAM and PF70 UCAM coins from the respective grading services.
Each shipment from JM Bullion includes coins individually sealed plastic containers. Your purchase is sealed in a nondescript box for shipping, concealing the identify of your purchase. All orders over $199 ship for free. Additionally, all packages from JM Bullion include insurance to protect your shipment against loss or damage.
Please contact a JM Bullion associate at 800-276-6508 if you have further questions about Certified American Gold Buffalo coins. Our associates are also available online using our live chat service and email.