American Gold Buffalos
American Gold Buffalos at BGASC
When the American Gold Buffalo was introduced by the United States Mint in 2006, the coin became the first-ever 24-karat gold coin produced in the United States. Though other commemorative gold coins have since been issued with .9999 pure gold content, the American Gold Buffalo remains the only coin program the US Mint issues on an annual basis with 24-karat gold.
Like the coins in the American Eagle Series, the Gold Buffalo borrows from the rich history of American currency. The obverse and reverse designs were originally created in 1913 by James Earle Fraser to replace the Liberty Head Nickel design. Fraser’s designs include an obverse portrait of an indigenous American figure in right-profile relief with a stoic look on his face, braided hair, and feathers woven into the back. As for the reverse, an American bison is shown standing on a small mound of dirt. The might of the bison is captured in this full-length depiction of the beast in left-profile relief.
When the Gold Buffalo debuted in 2006, the United States Mint offered the coins in 1 oz gold as Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof specimens. The BU Gold Buffalos ship individually inside plastic flips or by multiples of 20 coins in protective tubes. Proof Gold Buffalos are offered with individual packaging. The US Mint sells the Proof Gold Buffalo with a capsule inside a presentation box that includes a Certificate of Authenticity from the mint.
There are two unique issue dates in the history of the American Gold Buffalo. In 2008, fractional-ounce American Gold Buffalos were sold for the first and only time in the program’s history. These were available in Proof and Burnished versions, with 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz gold coins struck across these two versions. These coins were sold largely as part of four-coin sets. Additionally, in 2013 a Reverse Proof American Gold Buffalo was offered in the standard 1 oz gold version. This special finish with mirrored designs over frosted fields marked the centennial of James Earle Fraser’s original Buffalo Nickel design from 1913.
For much of the history of the American Gold Buffalo, mintage records were dominated by the debut issues, particularly in the BU Series. The resurgence in demand for gold finally saw a newer date mark surpass the 2006 BU Gold Eagle in the 2020s. Below are the record mintages for the BU Gold Buffalo:
- 2022 – 410,000 coins
- 2023 – 394,000 coins
- 2021 – 350,500 coins
- 2006 – 337,012 coins
- 2020 – 242,000 coins
As for the Proof Gold Buffalo, the 2006 debut issue remains the highest-minted coin in the series by a factor of four. The 2006 debut saw sales of 246,267 coins, while the next closest is the 2007 release with 58,998 coins.
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