The American Gold Buffalo coin, also called the Gold Buffalo, is the first 24 karat gold coin produced by the U.S. Mint. Production on the coin began in 2006, and has been issued annually since. The coin was put in place by the U.S. Government following the passage of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, and was created to compete against other 24 karat gold coins produced at mints around the world. Sales of American Gold Buffalo coins were temporarily paused in 2008, as the Mint could not keep up with the demand for the coins. The American Gold Buffalo coin is quite popular amongst investors and collectors for its gold content, purity, design, and value.
American Gold Buffalo Coin – 1 oz. 2015 and 1 oz. Common Date
American Gold Buffalo coins elevated the purity standard for U.S. gold coins, and added a new level of sophistication to the U.S. Mint’s gold coin offering. The gold used in the coins is 24 karat, with a fineness level of .9999, which equates to 99.99% pure gold. The purity of the American Gold Buffalo coins is over 8% higher than that of other U.S. gold coins, such as the American Gold Eagle. This truly is as good as it gets in terms of high quality, pure gold in a coin. In addition, the gold used to make the coins must be mined within the United States, so not only is the gold very pure, it is also local. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf has been known for decades for its purity level, but the American Gold Buffalo has given it some competition in recent years as one of the most sought out and one of the purest gold coins in the world.
In addition to purity, many people purchase American Gold Buffalo coins for the appealing and historically significant design. The design is modeled after the Indian Head nickel coin, originally issued in 1913, and designed by James Earl Fraser. This design is regarded by the gold and silver coin world as one of the best coin designs ever. The obverse (front) side of the coin showcases a Native American man’s head. Fraser said that the man was created from three Native American chiefs who served as models for the design: Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons, each from a different Native America tribe. On the top right side of the obverse side is the word “LIBERTY,” and on the bottom left side is the year (“2015”) and the letter “F” for Fraser. The proof versions of American Gold Buffalo coins also have the mintmark (“W” for the West Point location) on the bottom left; the bullion versions do not.
The reverse (back) side is where the American Gold Buffalo coin gets its name. Featured on this side is an image of an American Bison standing on top of a mound of dirt. “Buffalo” is another name for the American Bison. It is said that the buffalo used to create this image was a real American Bison named Black Diamond. During the 1910s, Black Diamond lived in the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Rumor has it that Fraser would have help from someone else to distract the buffalo, while he positioned himself strategically to sketch the animal’s side profile shown on the coin.
Several words are inscribed on the reverse side of the American Gold Buffalo. Written across the top is “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and under that, above the buffalo’s lower back, is the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” a Latin phrase for “Out of Many, One.” The face value (“$50”) is written along the bottom, as is the phrase, “1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD,” which indicate the coin’s weight and gold content. Like all coins produced by the U.S. since 1908, “IN GOD WE TRUST” is also inscribed on the back of the coin.
The design of the 2015 American Gold Buffalo coin has not changed from any of the previous years’ designs.
American Gold Buffalo Specifications
The 1 oz. denomination of the American Gold Buffalo coin was the original size, and is still the most popular today. Later in the series, the U.S. Mint began producing smaller fractional denominations. 1 oz. American Gold Buffalo coins contain one troy ounce of fine gold. They have a mass of just over 31 grams, a diameter of 32.7 mm, and a thickness of 2.95 mm. Each American Gold Buffalo coin is guaranteed by the U.S. Mint to contain the gold content of .9999 fineness. The 1 oz. American Gold Buffalo coin has a face value of $50, but an actual value much higher than that.
When you talk about value for the American Gold Buffalo coin, you need to take into consideration the coin’s gold content and purity. We have established that this coin contains one ounce of very fine, high quality gold. Given gold’s value per ounce (which changes constantly), the actual value of the 1 oz. American Gold Buffalo coin is much greater than its face value of $50. To determine the approximate value of your 1 oz. American Gold Buffalo coin, simply find the most current spot price per ounce of gold. Other variances will affect the value, but this gives you a good idea.
American Gold Buffalo coins are relatively rare compared to other 1 oz. gold coins. Thus, the rarity and pure gold content of American Gold Buffalo coins helps increase their overall value.
The value of the 1 oz. American Gold Buffalo proof coin grew 251% in just five years, from $800 in 2006 to $2,010 in 2011.
Common date coins are specific issues of a coin series that are readily available, at least in comparison to the rest of the series. Mintage volume has fluctuated since the American Gold Buffalo coin program launched. 2006 saw the most bullion coins produced, with over 337,000 coins in that issue. 2012 saw the lowest amount produced, with just 100,000 coins in that issue. While the 2006 issue yielded higher coin volume, it was also the first year of the coin’s production, and more time has passed between then and other more recent issues. Thus, it is often easier to find a more current issue of American Gold Buffalo coins.