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A Historical Overview of the American Gold Buffalo. From silver to gold!
In 2006, the United States Mint released the American Buffalo Gold Coin, its first 24-karat denomination, under Public Law 109-145. Better known as The Presidential $1 Coin Act. Created to compete with foreign 24-karat gold bullion coins. 24-karat gold sales comprised of about 60% of the world gold market at the time of inception of the American Gold Buffalo coin. Investors preferred 99.99% pure gold over the 91.67% pure gold as seen in the American Gold Eagle. Thus, investors were purchasing foreign coins instead of American coins. Hence, the birth of this miraculously marvelous 24-karat pure gold coin! One of the purest of gold coins is any coin minted with 99.99% gold.
The U.S. Mint struck its first .9999 24-karat gold coin with the American Buffalo Gold Coin. Designed by James Earle Fraser, a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Chosen by President Theodore Roosevelt, Saint-Gaudens, was to redesign the nation’s coinage at the beginning of the 20th Century. Saint-Gaudens designed the double eagle. From 1907 – 1933 the U.S. Mint struck the double eagle. Before the infamous Gold Reserve Act of 1934 which resulted in the melting of millions of coins! Augustus passed away before completing all of the coin redesigns. Then Fraser’s designs caught the attention of the U.S. Mint.
Fraser’s design was to be struck in 1912 on a one-cent piece. But his design was very liked and supported by the Mint Director, Abram Andrews. It also gained popularity with the next Mint Director, George Roberts. So much so that it was struck on the five-cent piece instead! Then dubbed the Buffalo Nickel.
The 5¢ Face Value: A Rags to Riches Story
This five-cent piece was a copper-nickel that was struck by the U.S. Mint from 1913-1938. It was part of a drive to beautify American coinage. However, these coins proved to strike indistinctly. The U.S. Mint assured manufacturers that there would be no change in the size, shape, or weight of the nickel. The Hobbs Manufacturing Company, which manufactured a machine to detect counterfeit nickels, was not satisfied with the assurance. Even despite multiple attempts by the U.S. Mint to adjust the design – including accidentally removing one of the Buffalo’s legs – it was still hard to strike this coin. It was subject to wear. The date, and in some cases the “five-cent” marking, was easily worn away in circulation. However, despite this, and the objections of the manufacturing company, the U.S. Mint still struck the Buffalo Nickel until 1938.
In 1938, the Buffalo Nickel was replaced with the Jefferson Nickel. This was after the expiration of the minimum 25-year period during which the design could not be replaced without congressional authorization.
Yet, Fraser’s Indian Head nickel design is still regarded as among the best designs of any U.S. coins. The Buffalo Nickel design has been used on other coins, such as the 2001 $1 Smithsonian Commemorative Coin, and the American Buffalo series. Including the American Gold Buffalo.
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The American Gold Buffalo coin has gained significant value since its original minting. With a face value of $50, in 2006, the original minting price of the American Gold Buffalo was $800.00. By 2009, it was $1,410.00. Rising again in 2011 to $2,010.00 and now, in 2020 – $2,465.00!
In 2008, the mint experimented with fractional sizes of the American Gold Buffalo. Thus far, it has been the only year they have done so. Fractional sizes it was offered in include ½ ounce, ¼ ounce, and 1⁄10 ounce. After the ½ ounce coin sold out so quickly, the Mint introduced a double coin proof set.
The double coin proof set included the ½ ounce Uncirculated American Gold Eagle and the ½ ounce Uncirculated American Gold Buffalo. This proof set was dubbed the Double Prosperity Set and set for sale on 8/8/2008. 08/08/08 only occurs once every 100 years. It contains the number “8” three times. 888 is associated with prosperity in many Asian cultures. Thus, creating a staggering entrance premium!
Initially, the coin set sold for $1,228.88, well above premium for the combined prices of the two coins! Eventually, that price was dropped several times, to adjust for the fluctuation in gold spot prices and the subprime mortgage crisis of the late 2000’s.
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The design of the American Gold Buffalo is still that of the original Buffalo Nickel. On the obverse side (front) the design represents three chiefs from different American Indian tribes, Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons. They are stated to have posed as models for him to sketch. It also has “Liberty
written on the top right side and on the lower left side, it has the date and “F” for Fraser.
On the reverse side is a buffalo with “E pluribus unum” written on in the top right side– just like that of the nickel. E pluribus unum is Latin for “Out of many, one.” The meaning of the phrase originates from the concept that out of the union of the original Thirteen Colonies emerged a new single nation. It was once considered the de facto motto of the United States. De facto means it existed without official or lawful consent. Until Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as its official motto in 1956. “In God We Trust” is also written on the American Gold Buffalo Coin on the bottom left side in addition to the original “E pluribus unum.”
Bullion to Proof: Buy / Sell American Gold Buffalo Coins
The American Gold Buffalo Coin is minted at all of the U.S. Mints. However, the American Buffalo Gold Bullion coins are not minted at the West Point Mint. Therefore, they do not bare a mint stamp. I.e. “W” for West Point, “P” for Philadelphia, “D” for Denver, or “S” for San Francisco.
In addition to American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins, the Mint also produces American Buffalo Gold Proof Coins for collectors. The term “proof” refers to a specialized minting process that begins by manually feeding burnished coin blanks into presses fitted with special dies. Each coin is struck multiple times so the softly frosted, and highly detailed, images seem to float above the field. An official Certificate of Authenticity accompanies each coin. These proof coins are ONLY minted at the West Point Mint and are stamped with a “W.”
These $50 gold coins are available for those seeking a simple and tangible way to own AND invest in 24-karat gold in the form of legal tender coins. The U.S. Government guarantees the content and purity of the American Gold Buffalo.
Vermillion Enterprises will buy American Gold Buffalo Coins from you. Bring yours in today for a hassle free valuation. Sell your American Gold Buffalo coins here!
If you live in or near Spring Hill FL, Lutz FL, New Port Richey FL, Hudson FL, Crystal River FL, Inverness FL, Brooksville FL or surrounding location. Stop in at Vermillion Enterprises for some amazing gold numismatic prices today. Whether you buy or sell, Vermillion Enterprises will treat you well!