American Gold Buffalo Bullion Coins


The US Mint currently produces brilliant uncirculated and proof American Gold Buffaloes only in the 1 oz denomination. American Gold Buffaloes consist of 99.99% gold and are the only gold coin that the US Mint ever produced with this purity. The coins are meant to compete with foreign minted gold coins of the same purity. Approximately 60% of the world's gold sales come from the sale of 24 karat (99.99% purity) gold. In 2008, the US Mint also produced fractional American Gold Buffalo coins in the denominations of 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz.

Design

The design of the American Gold Buffaloes is a modified version of the design of the Indian Head nickel (a.k.a. Buffalo nickel) that the US Mint struck from 1913 to 1938. The obverse side of the American Gold Buffalo shows the head of a Native American in profile. The creator of the design, the sculptor James Earle Fraser, stated in 1938 that his design was an amalgamation of the three Native Americans: "Iron Tail, a Sioux, Big Tree, a Kiowa, and Two Moons, a Cheyenne". The motto "LIBERTY" and the year of mintage with the letter F for Fraser underneath also appear on the obverse side. Only coins minted in proof condition additionally display the mint mark "W" on the obverse side, a mark for the West Point Mint where all American Gold Buffaloes are minted (not only the proof coins).

The reverse side of the American Gold Buffaloes shows an American Bison (commonly called a buffalo) atop a mound of dirt. Fraser is believed to have used a bison named "Black Diamond" that lived in the New York Zoo during the 1910's as a model for this design. The reverse also has the following inscriptions: "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", "E PLURIBUS UNUM", "IN GOD WE TRUST" and "$50 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD".

obverse side of the $50 American Gold Buffalo coin
obverse side of the $50 American Gold Buffalo. By United States Mint [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Gold Purity: 99.99%
Weight Face Value Diameter x Thickness
1 oz US $ 50 32.7 x 2.95 mm
1/2 oz US $ 25 27 x 2.24 mm
1/4 oz US $ 10 22 x 1.83 mm
1/10 oz US $ 5 16.5 x 1.19 mm

The 3 smallest denominations were only produced in 2008.

reverse side of the $50 American Gold Buffalo coin
reverse side of the $50 American Gold Buffalo. By United States Mint [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

History

In 2005, the Presidential $1 Coin Act was passed which stipulated the commencement of the striking and issuing of: "A $50 gold coin that is of an appropriate size and thickness, as determined by the Secretary, weighs 1 ounce, and contains 99.99 percent pure gold." The bill further stipulated that the weight and nominal denomination of the coin shall be inscribed and that the coin shall be legal tender. The US Mint started selling the newly created 1 oz American Gold Buffalo coin in June 2006. Only in 2008, the US Mint also produced American Gold Buffaloes in the denominations of 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz (brilliant uncirculated, proof or with a burnished uncirculated finish). The fractional burnished and proof coins bear the "W" mint mark.

Mintages

Production numbers of American Gold Buffaloes range from around 100.000 (2012) to 337.012 (2006). Proof coins made up a large part of the total coin production in 2006. In subsequent years, proof coins made up a much smaller share of the total production. The lowest proof mintages were 12.169 half ounce coins and 13.125 quarter ounce coins in 2008.

Click here to see a table with detailed mintage numbers. The US Mint also publishes mintage numbers online.

Special Editions and Sets

2013 reverse proof 1 oz Buffalo coins
obverse side of the reverse proof 2013 American Gold Buffalo coin
reverse side of the reverse proof 2013 American Gold Buffalo coin

final mintage: 47,836 coins

The reverse proof American Gold Buffalo coins (with the W mint mark) have a frosted background and mirrorlike design. They were issued in 2013 in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fraser’s original design (that had first appeared on the Buffalo nickel in 1913).

2008 Double Prosperity Set
2008 2-Coin Gold Double Prosperity Set

total gold weight: 1 oz

The Double Prosperity Set contains the burnished versions of the 1/2 oz American Gold Eagle and 1/2 oz American Gold Buffalo coin. Both coins bear the W mint mark for the West Point branch of the US Mint. The set commemorates the auspicious date of August 8th 2008 (8-8-08). Only 7,751 such sets were issued.

4 coin Gold Buffalo Set 2008
2008 4-Coin Gold Buffalo Set

total gold weight: 1,85 oz

The set is made up of American Gold Buffalo coins in all four denominations (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz). 2008 was the only year that fractional coins were minted. The 4 coin set was issued separately for brilliant uncirculated (mintage: 6,049 sets) and proof coins (7,803 sets). The coins bear the W mint mark.

2008 Gold Buffalo Celebration Coin
2008 Gold Buffalo Celebration Coin

total gold weight: 1 oz

The Gold Buffalo Celebration Coin is identical to a regular Gold Buffalo coin, only the packaging is different. The US Mint issued these gift boxes in 2008 around the Lunar New Year to specifically target Asian-American buyers since the number 8 is considered lucky in many Asian cultures. In total, 24,558 such units were sold.

2006-2016 11-coin 1 oz Gold Buffalo Set
2006-2016 11-coin 1 oz Gold Buffalo Set

total gold weight: 11 oz

This set contains 11 brilliant uncirculated 1 oz American Gold Buffalo coins from every year of mintage between 2006 and 2016. The coins are identical to 'regular' brilliant uncirculated Gold Buffalo coins (therefore no mint mark), only the packaging is different. The set is presented in a Dansco album for convenient shelving.

American Silver Buffalo Rounds

The American Silver Buffalo Rounds are NOT produced by the US Mint. Produced by various private mints, they don't have an official face value. The 1 oz rounds out of 99.9% fine silver are cheaper than comparable silver coins with lower premiums over the spot price of the metal.

gold vs. silver

Where to buy?

1 oz Gold Buffalo coin
reverse side of the 1 oz American Gold Buffalo coin
available Dealers:

Money Metals Exchange

Buy Random Year coin
for about $ 1,362.35

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 1,351.24
1 oz Silver Buffalo Round
reverse side of the 1 oz American Silver Buffalo Round
available Dealers:

Money Metals Exchange

Buy undated 1 oz round
for about $ 19.23

BGASC

Buy undated Jet Bullion 1 oz round
for about $ 18.32
500 oz Silver Buffalo Monster Box
Monster Box with 500 Silver Buffalo Rounds of 1 oz each
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 500 undated Jet Bullion 1 oz rounds
for about $ 8,945.00