Gold American Buffalo *Random Date* 1 oz
The United States Mint first released the American Gold Buffalo in 2006. The mint proudly selected this coin to introduce 24 karat (.9999) gold into their bullion program. By this, the U.S. Mint awarded their highest value on this favorite historic coin design. The Gold Buffalo design harkens back to the 1913 Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel, designed by James Earle Fraser. The design was highly popular throughout the 25 years it was in production. Avid collectors still continue to seek out these older nickels.
The Story of an Iconic American Design
The original 1913 design was adapted for this new series of gold bullion coins. The designer, James Earle Fraser (1876-1953), was a highly honored American sculptor. Interestingly, for a time he was an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, famed sculptor and designer of the beautiful Gold Double Eagle bullion coin.
Fraser’s new design began with a series of sketches, which he submitted for approval. He was pleased that the Native American and Buffalo sketch was selected from the three. As he later reflected on his choice of the coin’s design, he indicated that he wanted to display a uniquely American theme. He decided upon a portrait of a North American Indian, and the American buffalo (bison).
An intriguing story unfolded over the years following the new nickel’s release. The public continued to inquire whether the Indian portrait was made from a living model. Fraser finally disclosed that it was actually a composite, compiled from previous portraits he had made of three different Indians from different tribes. They were later revealed by Fraser to be Chief Iron Tail, of the Oglala Lakota Nation; Chief Two Moons, of the Cheyenne Nation; and the third (though the identity was not certain), is commonly believed to be Chief Big Tree, of the Seneca Nation. He was clear to note, however, that his intent was not to display a portrait of a living model, but rather an iconic type.
The reverse design of the buffalo was based upon sketches made of Black Diamond, living in the Central Park Zoo. Fraser was quoted to have said, that Black Diamond “was the contrariest animal…He refused point blank to permit me to get side views of him, and stubbornly showed his front face most of the time.” Fraser’s depiction certainly reveals the magnificence and strength of the mighty American buffalo. These 1 oz .9999 pure gold American Gold Buffalo coins will be pulled from random dates in BU condition.
- Gold American Buffalo *Random Date* 1 oz.
- Contains 1 Troy oz of actual gold content in BU condition.
- Face value 50 Dollars.
- Obverse: Features the portrait of a Native American Indian. Inscriptions include, “Liberty” positioned at the rim above the Indian’s forehead. The release date and mint mark is at the bottom left.
- Reverse: Depicts an American Buffalo (bison) standing upon a mound. Inscriptions include, “United States of America” encircling the top, with “E Pluribus Unum” just below and to the right. Also, below the buffalo’s head on the left is “In God We Trust.” The face value, weight, and purity is at the bottom.
- Individual coins come in protective plastic flips.
- The weight, content, and purity is guaranteed by the United States Government.
This series represented the first .9999 fine 24 karat gold coins ever produced by the United States Mint. Each coin contains its stated weight in pure gold. As with other bullion programs, the weight, content, and purity is guaranteed by the United States Government. The new coins were created in part to compete with 24 karat gold bullion offerings from other World mints, such as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and Chinese Gold Panda.
The Gold Buffalo coins were first available on June 20, 2006 through the U.S. Mint’s network of authorized purchasers. These large-scale bullion dealers purchase directly from the Mint and then resell to other dealers and the public. According to law, they are also responsible for creating a two-way market to ensure liquidity. The 1 oz bullion coins have been produced yearly from 2006 to present. Pricing is typically based on the market price (spot) of gold, plus a markup. Premiums may be paid for higher grade coins rated by established third-party grading companies.
Since 2006, the U.S. Mint has offered a proof version of the American Gold Buffalo for collectors. These coins are minted using a special process, which creates a high-quality finish with cameo contrast. Raised elements of the coin design appear frosted, while background fields are mirrored. For 2006 and 2007, the 1 oz Proof Gold Buffalo was the only version of the coin produced for collectors.
For 2008, the Mint expanded their offerings to include collectible uncirculated, burnished versions of the coins. These were struck on specially burnished blanks and carried the “W” mint mark. The coins were offered in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. A four-coin fractional set was also available. That same year, the proof offerings were also expanded to include fractional weight coins and a multi-coin set.
Despite a favorable response from collectors, the U.S. Mint announced the discontinuation of the fractional proof and collectible uncirculated coins after 2008. In the following years, the standard collector offering has been the 1 oz proof version. In 2013, a special reverse proof version of the coin was offered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of James Earle Fraser’s design.