AMERICAN GOLD BUFFALO COINS
The American Gold Buffalo coins are 24 karat gold bullion coins issued by the United States Mint. The coin was authorized by America’s Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, allowing the minting of the coin to be used for investment purposes, and is also allowed by the IRS to be included in a gold ira.
The obverse of the American Gold Buffalo Coin is similar to that of both preceding and succeeding coins of the “Buffalo series” in that it features a portrait of an American Indian in profile. However, this design has been modified to bring out finer details, with sharper lines and texturing on the feathers not found on other designs in the series. Furthermore, unlike previous designs, two inscriptions appear on this one:
LIBERTY above and below IN GOD WE TRUST to the right
The ‘tails’ side of the coin features a close-up portrait of a buffalo with a rising sun in the background. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM appears at the top rim, while 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD is inscribed above the buffalo’s head, and 24 KARAT for investment purposes is inscribed below it. Also, bear in mind that this coin series was designed by James Earle Fraser, whose previous work includes designing both Buffalo Nickels and Buffalo Quarter Eagles (which are no longer produced). The coin draws its name from James Earle Fraser’s depiction of an American Buffalo on the reverse side, which is similar to his design for the Indian Head nickel (which also has a buffalo on it). Like previous issues in this series, only proof versions were initially struck for sale to collectors. The United States Mint began striking these coins in February 2006 and began selling them on March 27, 2006. They are struck at one mint facility, located in West Point, New York .
In addition to being struck from regular bullion blanks, American Gold Buffalo Coins are also struck from proof blanks and specially-treated “Burnished Uncirculated” blanks. The Burnished Uncirculated versions have a visual contrast between highly polished die surfaces and frosted devices which give them a unique appearance.
The American Gold Buffalo was introduced in 2006 by the United States Mint, completing the “Buffalo Series”. It is an official gold bullion coin of the United States and has a legal tender face value of $50 (USD). However, their actual value as determined by prevailing market prices is much higher than that figure. They were authorized by America’s Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. This act authorized the minting of up to 50,000 $50 gold pieces per year for the first five years, with provisions for additional years based on market demand. At the time the act was passed the spot price of gold was $455/oz, so it made sense to limit production at that level.
American Gold Buffalos are composed of 24 karats (99.9%) fine gold, making the American Gold Buffalo allowable for investing in a gold IRA (the same standard used for Krugerrands). Since the Gold Buffalo is an official U.S. Mint product it includes a face value of $50 (USD) and is considered legal tender. By law, these coins can be exchanged at any United States Mint facility at their melt value (based on the market price of the metal), making them a convenient way to invest in pure gold without worrying about its selling price. However, there is a premium above and beyond this melt value which varies depending on the availability of gold bullion and overall demand for such coins at any given time.
Each coin has been assigned a unique identifying number by the mint: “Z” is the first letter of the word “zollar” in German, which is where these coins were first struck. The number on each coin matches its order of mintage. For instance, the very first Gold Buffalo coin produced by the United States Mint is numbered “Z1”. Each proof coin also features a ‘W’ mint mark indicating it was struck at the US Mint’s facility in West Point , New York . This does not appear on coins intended for circulation.
The price of gold has gone up significantly since 2006 when they were released, so some retail businesses have taken advantage of its popularity to attract customers by offering them at more than face value. These can be purchased directly from either online dealers or local coin shops.
American Gold Buffalo Coins are available in various sizes: 1 oz., ½ oz., ¼ oz., and 1/10th oz. Other weights that may be purchased include 5 ounces and 10 ounces. It is considered good practice when investing in bullion coins to buy from reputable mints or well-known dealers only, as there have been counterfeit versions of this coin created. In 2014, about 30 fake American Gold Buffalos were seized by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers at an auction house located in Vancouver, British Columbia.