The History of the Gold American Buffalo Coin

The Gold American Buffalo Coin, one of the most popular products produced by the U.S. Mint, has only been around since 2006. But that doesn’t mean the nation’s first-ever 24-karat gold coin doesn’t have a rich history.

The Gold America Buffalo Coin was introduced under the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. The goal of the act was “to revitalize the design of United States coins and return circulating coinage to its position as an object of aesthetic beauty in its own right.”

Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005

Under Title II of the act, the U.S. Mint began striking and issuing the one-ounce, 24-karat Gold American Buffalo Coin with a face value of $50. With a mintage limit of 300,000 coins, the Gold American Buffalo Coin became the first 24-karat gold coin produced by the United States made available to the public.

The coin was created to specifically compete with 24-karat gold coins that were dominating the foreign bullion market. Before its issue in 2006, the only option for collectors and investors had been the Gold American Eagle, which is only 91.67% gold.

The American Buffalo was an immediate hit, causing its value to skyrocket in a very short period of time. In fact, the coin is still in high demand every year it is minted.

The Gold American Buffalo Design

The Gold American Buffalo Coin was based on the Buffalo nickel, a copper-nickel five-cent piece that was struck and issued by the Mint from 1913 to 1938. It was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser, whose most famous works include End of the Trail sculpture and the Buffalo nickel.

The front of the coin features the profile of a Native American man. It also includes the inscription of the year minted, and the word “LIBERTY.” The Native American on the coin is not a known person, but is described instead as having been inspired by several different Native American figures.

The reverse side, meanwhile, features a buffalo standing on a mound with its head and tail “pressing” against the edges of the coin. According to the U.S. Mint, the Buffalo is recalling the “pioneering spirit of the Nation’s westward expansion.”

Fraser claimed that the bison on the coin was actually an American bison from the Bronx Zoo named Black Diamond. His account, however, has been disputed. For one, Black Diamond was housed at the Central Park Zoo at the time. Some experts also point out that the placement of Black Diamond’s horns differed from the ones on the bison featured on the coin.

The Gold American Buffalo Coins, which are minted at the West Point, New York Mint, is still considered one of the most beautiful coins ever produced by the U.S. Mint. You can check the price of our Gold American Buffalo Coin here.

Manhattan Gold & Silver Update

We will be opening back up on May 18th, 2020 with limited hours from 11:00am – 2:00pm. The easiest method for metal processing is to either mail, or drop off/curbside service. Customers will not be allowed in the exchange at this time. 

If you have any questions you can still contact us at 212-398-1454 and sign up for our newsletter for further announcements.

Most importantly, please stay safe! 

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