The American Buffalo gold coin’s front has a right-profile image of a Native American man alongside the “LIBERTY” motto and mintage year. The coin’s reverse features an American bison’s print with the mottos “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” The term “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is also engraved.
The American Buffalo gold coin is minted in New York’s West Point Mint in different sizes: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz. It was first issued to the public in 2006 and has been in continuous production since then. The size variants other than the 1 oz entered production only in 2008.
The United States government backs and guarantees the purity and content of the American Gold Buffalo coin. As far as quality is concerned, the popular coin is known for its beautiful and historical design. The 1 oz coin’s numismatic finish is particularly appreciated.
About Gold coins
The American Gold Eagle coin is arguably the most popular U.S.-made bullion coin. It’s got an excellent design, a historic finish, and several other things going for it. But one aspect the purists may not appreciate is its gold content. Although high, a gold percentage of 91.7 percent is not all gold.
The American Eagle coin is not devoid of its share of followers, however. But those seeking 24-karat gold coins steer away from it. Instead, they look to the Canadian Maple Leaf, Australian Kangaroo, and Austrian Vienna Philharmonic gold coins. Even U.S. coin investors/buyers have opted for non-American gold bullion coins because they don’t have an American option.
The American government took notice of the status quo and wanted to change that or have a U.S. bullion coin made of just gold. The American Buffalo gold coin was thus born in 2006. Despite the massive time gap, the Buffalo coin is no less popular than the American Eagle, primarily due to its makeup.
Let’s get to know the Buffalo gold coin in much more detail and why it’s such a sought-after coin. In this article, we’ll discuss:
- The American Buffalo gold coin, in general
- The various sizes of the coin and physical dimensions
- The Buffalo gold coin’s design and its contents
- The coin’s overall value, reasons to invest, etc.
We feel you if you’re stoked about buying a pure gold American gold bullion coin. But don’t put the money on the table already. Get to know the coin more and then decide. It’s also important to buy American Buffalo gold coins from the right vendors. Read on to learn more.
About the American Buffalo Gold Coin
Also called the “gold buffalo,” the American Buffalo gold coin is a 24-karat, pure gold bullion coin. The United States Mint first offered the coin to the public in June 2006. The coin is the first American bullion coin to be minted in pure gold. It was released under the Presidential $1 Coin Act (Public Law 109-145). Produced in New York at the West Point Mint, the gold Buffalo coins are legal tender, bearing a face value of $50.
As mentioned above, the Buffalo gold coin is the first American gold bullion coin to be 0.9999 fine. The thought to mint the coin stemmed from the desire to have an American gold coin that competes with foreign fine gold coins, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf and Austrian Vienna Philharmonic coins. The 24-karat gold bullion coin market accounts for nearly 60 percent of the global gold market, which the United States wanted to have a pie of.
Since the Buffalo gold coin launch, demand has been great. The rush to buy the bullion was exceptionally high during 2008’s subprime mortgage crisis, when investors lost faith in paper money and sought refuge in an intrinsically valuable commodity, such as gold. The demand for Buffalo gold coins and others has subsided since that period, but there’s no denying that the bullion coin is highly sought after in the industry.
The American Buffalo coin comes in four sizes: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz. The 1 oz coin has been made since 2006. The fractional sizes were introduced a couple of years later, in 2008. Perhaps, as a result, the 1 oz variation is made in larger quantities or is a lot more readily available for purchase than the other three sizes.
|Particulars||1 oz||½ oz||¼ oz||1/10 oz|
|Diameter||32.7 mm||27 mm||22 mm||16.5 mm|
|Thickness||2.95 mm||2.24 mm||1.83 mm||1.19 mm|
|Weight||31.1 g||15.55 g||7.776 g||3.11 g|
In 2008, an uncirculated variant of the one-troy-ounce gold Buffalo coin was released, which is also quite popular among investors.
Why Invest in the American Buffalo Gold Coin?
Gold American Buffalo coins are ideal for those who want to buy a 24-karat gold coin made in the United States. And because it’s the only American bullion coin made of pure yellow gold, it often trades at a price premium or above the current market price of the gold it contains.
American Buffalo Gold Coin Design
The American Buffalo gold coin’s design is based on the Indian Head nickel (the early 1913 Type 1 issue). James Earle Fraser designed the iconic Buffalo nickel coin, which inspired the 2001 Smithsonian coin. The Indian Head nickel coin design is considered one of the best among U.S. bullion coins, showcasing the American West’s native beauty.
The front or obverse side of the American Buffalo coin depicts the right-profile shot of a native American. The depiction is a mix of the features of three American Indian Tribes’ chiefs: Big Tree, Two Moons, and Iron Tail. The respective heads came forward to model for the sketch. The front also has the motto “LIBERTY” inscribed at the top-right. The year of mintage is on the bottom left, with the letter “F” denoting Fraser below the year inscription.
The reverse side has the image of the American bison, with the official motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” inscribed on the bottom left, right below the bison’s head. The motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is toward the top right, above the bison’s lower back. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is inscribed along the top. At the bottom, the coin’s face value, size, and purity information are mentioned. The edges are reeded.
American Buffalo Gold Coin Metal Contents
As mentioned earlier, the gold American Buffalo coin is the first pure gold coin to be minted in the States. It’s 99.99 percent pure gold or 0.9999 fine. A troy-ounce coin contains 31.1 g of unadulterated gold.
American Gold Buffalo Proof Coin
The American Buffalo gold coins have proof versions too. The coin’s design and finish are identical to the regular coin, except that it’s minted in limited quantities and usually challenging to procure. Contrary to general perception, proof coins are called so for the specialized minting they undergo.
The coin is subjected to a unique minting process that entails manually feeding the gleaming coin blanks into special die-fitted presses. The coins are struck several times, so the highly detailed and softly frosted images seem to glide over the field. The black presentation case it comes encapsulated in has the United States Mint seal. There’s a certificate of authenticity to go with it too. Most notably, only the proof versions of the American Buffalo coin have the mint mark “W” on the front.
For instance, this $50 proof coin is a proof variant of the original 1 oz coin. Its mintage has been limited to 300,000 coins, with an added enforced limit of just ten coins a household. The 2006 proof American gold coin’s catalog number is (BA6). In 2013, the U.S. Mint issued a special reverse-proof coin to commemorate the original American Buffalo Nickel design’s 100th anniversary. “Reverse proof” means reversed features, a clear mirror-finish design on the front, and a frosted, matte solid look on the rear surface.
American Buffalo Gold Coin Value
The American Gold Buffalo coin has different face values based on the sizes. But because the coin is fine gold, the mentioned values are only symbolic. The coin’s actual worth corresponds to the current gold spot price. Because the coin is the first fine gold American bullion coin, it’s quite popular amongst buyers seeking pure gold American coins, pushing the prices further up.
The very first version of the coin was worth $800. The price rose to $899.95 a year later in 2007. In 2009 and 2011, the coins were worth $1,410 and $2,010, respectively. As of December 2022, a 1 oz American Gold Buffalo coin was selling for more than $2,000. Based on the dealer, prices may vary. Some dealers also offer variable prices based on the mode of payment (wire, crypto, card, etc.).
If you come across American Buffalo gold coins for cheap, those are likely privately issued (not by the United States Mint) and may not be entirely gold. Only the coin’s exterior could be gold-plated, for instance.
American Buffalo Gold Coin: Where to Buy
The United States Mint doesn’t sell the American Buffalo gold coins to the public directly. They are purveyed through official distributors instead, referred to as authorized purchasers. They include SD Bullion, JM Bullion, APMEX, Kitco, etc. Online retailers deliver the coins to any part of the world. One of the reasons to buy the American Buffalo gold coin or any other gold bullion coin from a recognized retailer is the right prices and not being handed over fake coins.
Which American Buffalo Gold Coin Variant Should You Buy?
The 1 oz American Buffalo gold coin is the best variant to buy. Since its production is greater than the other three sizes, it usually sells for a lesser premium comparatively. The relative rarity of the other three coins usually translates to more premium prices. For their splendor and novelty, the smaller size variants are quite sought after.
If you’re looking to invest in bullion coins, you have a veritable option in the American Buffalo coin. It’s pure gold, made in America, and eligible for a precious metals IRA. The high precious metal content makes the coin attractive when paper money loses its sheen. Even if not for the clout among investors, the coin is undoubtedly valuable for its intrinsic value.
Despite being relatively new to the bullion coin space or not having the cachet similar to the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic and Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins, the American Buffalo coin holds its own pretty well.
The proof coin versions are a much better choice if you want a highly pristine version of the American Buffalo coin. Hopefully, this article highlighted every aspect of the coin, helping you make a sound investment decision. Kindly go through our coverage on other precious metal content coins to know more about the other coins mentioned (or not stated) in this write-up.
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Is the American Buffalo gold coin IRA eligible?
Yes, the American Gold Buffalo coins can be included in a precious metals IRA (individual retirement account). That’s because the coins are 24-karat yellow gold, and their mintage is carried out at an IRS-recognized, official American mint.
Are American Buffalo gold coins a good investment?
Yes, the American Buffalo coins are excellent investments if looking to buy gold. Unlike the American Eagle coin, it’s pure gold, so it’s definitely worth its weight in gold. And topping that is the coin’s popularity, which could fetch you slightly more than current gold prices.
American Buffalo gold coin vs. American Eagle gold coin: What’s the difference?
The primary difference between the two is purity. The Buffalo gold coin is a 24-karat piece. The American Eagle is not at 22-karat or is 91.6 percent gold, and the remaining comprise other metals. The other noticeable difference is the design.
American Buffalo gold coin vs. Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin: What’s the difference?
Both the American Buffalo and Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins are 24-karat items. However, one is American, and the other is Canadian, as their names clearly indicate. The designs are unique, too, representing their respective countries quite well.
How can you tell a fake American Buffalo gold coin?
The obvious giveaway is design non-conformity or the spurious coin skipping specific engravings. The marks could be smaller, set lower, or at a slant. The fake coin could also not have the sharp, protruding reeds of the real coin. They could be relatively smooth instead.
The weight could be off too since gold is dense and hard to mimic with another metal keeping the original dimensions. Therefore, if the suspect coin weighs the same as the original gold Buffalo coin, most likely, the dimensions are not congruent. If the thickness and diameters match, the weight will not be the same as the actual coin. It could be heavier or lighter.
Not to mention, many scientific tests (such as XRF testing) help detect a fake gold coin. You may put your American Buffalo coin through those tests to ascertain authenticity. Also, pure gold coins have a nice ring, which reverberates and extends. A fake coin will not have that ring. It will have a thud sound instead.
What is the American Buffalo gold coin worth?
The American Buffalo gold coin is worth its weight in gold or whatever the spot price of gold is. The coin could sell for a slight premium, depending on the rarity and demand for a particular version.
Is the Australian Kangaroo coin available in other precious metals?
The Kangaroo coin is available in silver and platinum. The silver coin is 99.99 percent pure silver and has the micro-laser engraving authentication feature. The Australian Silver Kangaroo coins were first minted in 2015 and are in continual production. The Royal Australian Mint has also been making a silver kangaroo coin since 1993. The Australian Platinum Kangaroo coin is 99.95 percent pure platinum with micro-engraving.