American Buffalo coin
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Face Value: $50 USD
Gold Content: 1 ounce (31.104g)
Purity: 99.99% (24 karat)
Gross Weight: 31.108g
Coin Diameter: 32.70mm
First year of issue: 2006
The American Buffalo Coin is the first .9999 fine 24-karat gold coin ever struck by the United States Mint and has been produced every year since its first issue in 2006.
These are among the world’s purest gold coins in terms of the fineness of the metal they contain. The American Buffalo Coin is one of only a handful of 24 karat bullion gold coins and is one of the reasons for its worldwide appeal. By law, the gold in Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins must originate from newly mined sources in America. All the coins are struck at the United States Mint at West Point, New York, but do not have a mint mark.
The Buffalo coin is a modified version of James Earle Fraser’s design for the Indian Head nickel issued in early 1913, regarded as among the best and most collectable designs of any U.S. coins.
The American Buffalo coin is the first example of pure 24 karat gold coins minted for the public by the US government.
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Initial issue of the buffalo gold coin
The American Buffalo Gold Coin was opened to coin dealers on 20th June, 2006. Collectors placed their orders by July 22, 2006, in order to acquire the proof versions directly from the mint. Only 300,000 of these were minted, making them rare today. At the time, US coins were using 91.67% gold in their bullion coins like the American Gold Eagle. Due to this, investors opted for non-US coins, like the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. In order to woo investors away from non-US coins, the American Buffalo coins were minted with 99.99% 24 karat gold. The US mint clearly wanted to sell into the 24 karat gold market, which accounts for about 60% of the world’s gold market.
The coin was an instant hit among the public, collectors and buyers. The value of the coin escalated at an unprecedented pace, and in just a few years the price shot up from $800 in 2006, which was the initial price to $2010 in 2011. It is interesting to note that all bullion coins made in the US are struck at New York’s West Point Mint. The proof versions of the buffalo gold coins are stamped with a ‘W’ mark on the front of the coin, while the bullion version does not have this mark. One ounce versions were released by the US Mint in 2006 and 2007. However, by 2008 the mint decided to issue 1/10 oz., ¼ oz. and ½ oz. gold buffalo coins with face values of $5, $10 and $25 respectively.
2008 financial crisis
During the 2008 financial crisis, investors started investing heavily in gold. The US sub-prime mortgage crisis had reached its peak and become a global financial crisis that spread across continents. Investors all over the world were turning to gold and silver to hedge their risks. Unable to keep up with the escalating demand at the time, the US Mint announced on September 26, 2008, that it would temporarily halt the issue of American Buffalo Gold coins.
The obverse of this coin is a profile of a classic Native American Indian which is said to be created as a mixture of the features of three chiefs from different Indian American tribes.
The reverse features an American Bison, which commonly are referred to as buffalo. The motto, “In God We Trust”, appears to the left of, and beneath, the buffalo’s head. This motto has featured on all U.S. gold coins since 1908.
The coin has a face value of $50 USD and is a fine addition to a coin portfolio.