☆ Gold Buffalo Coins, value for US investors.

Reading Time: 13 minutes

First offered in 2006 the American Gold Buffalo Coin is a stunning example of a 24-karat gold bullion coin. The 2006 run was around $800.00 per coin compared with the 2009 proof coin which ran at approximately $1400.00 per coin. The limited nature and therefore scarcity of the runs help to boost and maintain the coins value. Despite the inherent beauty of the Gold Buffalo coin, enthusiasts have become increasingly aware of certain quality control (QC) issues and the absence of security features in coins minted by the US Mint. Notably, a prevalent concern among collectors is the lack of uniformity in edge thickness—a characteristic that seems to be notably common among Gold Buffalos.

  • Content: Gold, 1.0000 troy ounce (31.1035g)
  • Weight: 1.0001 troy ounce (31.108g)
  • Diameter: 1.287in. (32.70mm)
  • Thickness: 0.116in. (2.95mm)

Weights, diameter and measures for the Buffalo Gold Coins provided below:

Fractional sizesDiameterThicknessWeight
$5 (1/10 oz.)16.5 mm (0.650 in.)1.19 mm (0.047 in.)0.10 Troy oz. (3.11 g, 0.109 oz.)
$10 (1/4 oz.)22.0 mm (0.866 in.)1.83 mm (0.072 in.)0.25 Troy oz. (7.776 g, 0.274 oz.)
$25 (1/2 oz.)27.0 mm (1.063 in.)2.24 mm (0.088 in.)0.503 Troy oz. (15.552 g, 0.5485 oz.)

The design of the American Buffalo gold bullion coin.

The design is a modified version of James Earle Fraser’s design of the Buffalo nickel (Type 1), issued in early 1913. After the mound was removed, the Type 2 variation continued to be minted for the rest of 1913 and every year until 1938 (except 1922, 1932, and 1933, when no nickels were struck). The obverse depicts a Native American man, who Fraser said he based on a mixture of features from three American Indian men (John Big Tree, Iron Tail and Two Moons) from three different tribes that posed for him to be sketched. On the reverse stands an American bison on a mound of dirt, commonly referred to as a buffalo. The animal on the reverse is believed by most to be a bison named “Black Diamond” that lived in New York City’s Central Park Zoo during the 1910s. It is said that Fraser had to have someone distract the Buffalo while he sneaked up beside it to draw it. Otherwise, the buffalo would stare at him and Fraser wouldn’t get the profile he wanted.[citation needed] Fraser’s nickel design is generally considered to be among the best designs of any U.S. coin.

On the American Buffalo coin, the mound area of the reverse with the words “FIVE CENTS” has been changed to read “$50 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD”. Also, the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”, appearing on all U.S. gold coins since 1908, can be seen on the reverse to the left of and beneath the buffalo’s head

Distribution of the American Buffalo gold bullion coin.

All U.S. bullion coins, including the American Buffalo gold, are currently being struck at the West Point Mint in New York. According to the U.S. Mint website, only the proof version of the Buffalo gold coin bears the mint mark “W” on the obverse; the bullion version does not have the “W” mark.

The coin was created in order to compete with foreign 24-karat gold bullion coins. Since investors usually prefer 99.99% pure gold over the 91.67% gold used in the American Gold Eagle, many were choosing non-US coins, such as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, to meet their bullion needs. With the American Buffalo coin, the U.S. government hopes to increase the amount of U.S. gold sales and cash in on the 24-karat sales, which makes up about 60% of the world gold market.

Invest In Buffalo Gold Coin Proofs.

The American Buffalo (or gold buffalo) is a 24-karat gold bullion coin that was authorized and first offered in 2006. The design of the coin features a slightly altered version of James Earle Fraser’s Indian Head Nickel design of 1913. The design was chosen for its popularity in conjunction with the honorific depiction of Native Americans and the all important buffalo.

This one ounce coin has a face value of $50.00 but is valued much higher. When introduced, the 2006 run was approximately $800.00 a coin. The 2009 proof coin ran in the neighborhood of approximately $1400.00. The beautiful quality and limited nature of their production helped to boost up the value of the gold buffalo. Though they were initially offered as a 1 ounce piece, the Treasury has indicated they will be struck in fractional denominations. A half-ounce piece is scheduled to be released.

Purchasing Gold Buffalo coins should be approached with the same caution as any other type of investment. The website for the United States Mint provides a tool where you can simply select your state to find a list of local dealers of gold coins. A browser can also easily check the going rate of different gold coins as valued on going prices at the moment. Local coin dealers may also be available through traditional search means such as a phonebook or web search. Be sure to check multiple locations for multiple prices before committing.

You want to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company. If something seems too good to be true, it is. Be wary of buying coins off of auction sites or businesses that do not have a firm established history. Common sense will go a long way here. It is not wise nor suggested to buy a gold coin from an auctioneer with 4 feedback that has had his account for a week. Regardless of the protections put in place by these types of sites, it will take time and effort to recoup anything lost or contest the validity of the purchase. That is time you do not need to waste with a little preparation.

One final note about protecting your investment is the commercials you will see offering these types of coins for as little as $20.00. They clearly state in the commercial that these offerings are replicas and are gold plated. An original Gold Buffalo is 99.99% gold, hence the very different prices. These replicas are easy to spot. The best indicator is simply to look at the face of the coin. The replicas do not and are not permitted to have the “$50.00” value printed on them as they are not considered a valid currency. They might be great for a gift for a youngster to get them interested in gold or numismatics. When it comes to an investment into your portfolio and future; you want to ensure you are getting the genuine article struck from the West Point Mint of New York.

American Gold Bufalo Vs the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. Which one is  your choice?

When comparing the American Gold Buffalo to the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf as investment choices, it becomes more of a subjective decision, akin to comparing apples and oranges. Both coins boast a purity level of 99.99% and are crafted from 24-karat gold, making them solid investment options with exquisite designs.

On the Canadian side, the latest Maple Leaf coins come equipped with advanced security features, including Bullion DNA Anti-Counterfeiting Technology, enabling sellers to authenticate the coins at the point of sale. Additional security measures, such as micro-detailing, contribute to the coin’s integrity. These features, coupled with frequent buying and trading, often result in a market value surpassing the face value—a trend similarly observed with its American counterpart.

The American Buffalo Gold coin, backed by the U.S. Mint, is also highly sought after. While requiring careful handling due to its softer alloy compared to the American Gold Eagle, it is a clear collectible with an exquisite design. Notably, the American Gold Buffalo boasts a larger radius than the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf for a comparable weight.

Gold Maple Leafs are selling much cheaper than American Buffalo.

The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf stands out as the preferred choice. Unlike the American Buffalo, which is predominantly available in one full troy ounce, excluding the year 2008, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf provides a diverse range of fractional options. Opting for the Maple Leaf offers distinct advantages, including lower premiums and enhanced security features.

While investors in the United States may find the American Gold Buffalo more enticing, the inverse holds true for Canadians favoring the Gold Maple Leaf. From a cost perspective, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf often boasts a more economical premium. Notably, in various instances, the premium prices on Gold Maple Leafs are consistently lower. A comparative analysis of premiums across three prominent online dealers revealed that, on average, the price for Maple Leafs was $26 less than the Gold Buffalo for the one-ounce coin. Though this may appear to be a marginal 1.26% difference, the cumulative savings can be substantial in larger purchases. For instance, a bulk purchase of 1,000 coins at this rate would result in a substantial saving of $26,000.

Moreover, the pricing dynamics for Maple Leafs can vary based on location. Proximity to the Canadian border often correlates with higher premiums on Maples. This phenomenon is attributed to the Canadian Mint selling Maple Leaf coins to wholesalers at a lower premium compared to the U.S. Mint’s pricing for Eagle coins. This cost difference permeates through dealers to end-users, influencing the final purchase price.

Buffalo coin looks cool, but the minting is kinda sloppy.

Despite the undeniable beauty of the Buffalo coin, concerns have arisen regarding the quality control (QC) practices of the US Mint, particularly in the last two years. Numerous complaints highlight issues such as red spots, which appear to be relatively common on Gold Buffalos. Some attribute these quality challenges to the leadership at the US Mint, suggesting that a political appointment rather than a qualified individual may be at the helm.

A noteworthy observation pertains to the precision of coin striking. While the US Mint was historically known for its high tolerances, there seems to be a departure from this standard in recent times. This departure is evident in the Buffalo coins, notorious for their unevenness. Even stacking five or more Gold Buffalos exposes an issue of imbalance and uneven edges, a characteristic that remains unaddressed in the 2023 and 2024 coin releases.

This uneven stacking problem has become a common concern among Buffalo owners, who often find it challenging to locate coins with entirely uniform edges. Despite the acknowledged beauty of the Buffalo coin, these persistent quality issues have left some collectors and investors disappointed in the consistency and precision of the minting process.

What are those Red spot stains on gold Buffalo coins?

Some gold Buffalo bullion coins seem to exhibit red spots, often referred to as “copper spots.” These spots result from high concentrations of copper in localized areas. It’s interesting to note that even in gold labeled as 24k, which is considered the purest form, there can be around 0.01% impurities, primarily concentrated copper, causing these visible spots. This revelation challenges the assumption that certain coins like maples are purer than others, as even they are susceptible to these copper spots.

Rust spots on gold coins are not caused by the gold itself, as gold does not rust or tarnish due to its non-reactive nature. Instead, these spots are almost always caused by the presence of other metals, such as copper or silver, in the gold alloy. When a faint trace of these metals adheres to the surface of the coin or bar, it can lead to the development of red or brown spots over time. These impurities can be fixed into the coin during the striking process, and they may not be obvious to the naked eye initially The presence of these spots does not damage the gold itself, and the coin or bar remains a solid bullion investment. Attempting to clean the spots is not recommended, as any type of cleaning can be abrasive and may reduce the grade of the coin. Therefore, it is advisable to leave the coin as is if it shows spotting imperfections.

One little Rust dots on a Gold Buffalo

Heavily stained gold buffalo.

The issue here revolves around the presence of copper spots on supposedly pure gold coins, specifically the .999 pure gold OP coin. Normally, coins of this caliber shouldn’t display any copper spots, as they’re meant to be pristine in their composition. However, these spots are a known occurrence even in genuine coins and are commonly associated with impurities in the metal alloy, reacting with the atmosphere and manifesting as these copper-colored spots.

Source image : cointalk.com

There are two main types of these spots. The first is a surface spot that can be removed without leaving any trace behind. The second is more complex, forming a reaction patch around a tiny black piece of debris that’s been embedded into the coin. The color spectrum also expands beyond copper tones, sometimes presenting as purple or blue, all linked to the presence of impurities.

These imperfections, while somewhat common, often cause concern among collectors or buyers. Yet, it’s important to note that these blemishes don’t originate from the mint itself; they occur due to handling or exposure after minting. Consequently, ungraded coins like these, which have been handled and are not encapsulated, may exhibit such imperfections. As for the value, the current market value, considering the unusual premiums, is around $1944.76. This discrepancy in value owes itself to these imperfections and the handling history of the coin.

The cause of these spots is attributed to impurities within the metal alloy. In a .9999 fine gold coin, these spots represent a concentration of the 1 part in 10,000 that isn’t uniform in the alloying process. The failure in the alloying process leads to this concentration of impurities on the surface, indicating an error in the metallurgy.

Regarding the theories surrounding their occurrence, there’s speculation that the exposure to contaminants, including copper, happens during the preparation of the blank before striking or during the striking process itself. The minting process inadvertently presses these contaminants into the blank, resulting in these spots that tend to expand over time.

While attempts to remove these spots might be made using mild solutions like coin dips, caution is advised, especially with 24K soft gold, as abrasive substances could damage the coin irreversibly. Despite these imperfections, the authenticity of the coin remains almost certain, but buyers and collectors should be aware of these blemishes commonly found on ungraded Attempts to remove these spots often involve using mild acids like a “coin dip,” which shouldn’t harm the purity of the gold. However, while these spots might diminish or disappear temporarily, they could reappear later. It’s crucial not to rub the gold but only to immerse it in the solution.

Upon microscopic examination, it’s been observed that these spots emerge from foreign particles lodged into the surface of the coin during minting, suggesting that the minting environment might not be entirely clean. This doesn’t necessarily mean the entire gold bar or coin lacks purity; rather, it’s the surface contamination that results in these spots. The colors of these spots seem to arise due to thin layers of material causing interference effects with the reflective gold underneath.

The sporadic appearance of these spots across batches of coins or bars further supports the theory of external debris or dust affecting some but not all specimens. Even renowned coins like gold libertads are known to occasionally exhibit copper spots.

Some remedies, like using baking soda and boiling water, have been suggested to remove these spots, especially if they significantly bother collectors or investors. Placing the affected gold on tin foil in a pan, adding baking soda, pouring boiling water, and waiting a few minutes might make the copper spots disappear. However, these methods should be ap

Precious Metals in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

The Gold Buffalo and the Maple Leaf, both comprising .9999 fine gold, meet the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) criteria for IRA eligibility. This designation positions them as appealing options for individuals seeking to diversify their portfolios and enhance retirement preparedness. In the context of a precious metals IRA, the gold is not physically possessed by the account holder but is instead held by a custodian. Therefore, the physical appearance of the coin may hold lesser significance. In this scenario, it is advisable to fund your IRA with the most advantageous purchase, and it might be beneficial to incorporate a variety of products within your IRA for a well-rounded approach to retirement investing.

Thickness Discrepancies in Gold Buffalo Coins: A Common Phenomenon?

Uneven and non-uniform edge thickness. Is this a well-known occurrence, or are collectors encountering an unusual anomaly?

This phenomenon is not a new discovery. Since 2016, coin enthusiasts have been observing what is colloquially referred to as “finning” in 24k coins from the US Mint, including the beloved Gold Buffalo series. This term describes the presence of irregularities in the rim edge metal, resulting in a non-uniform thickness along the edges.

The soft composition of Buffalo gold coins seems to make them particularly susceptible to this “finning” effect. When attempting to measure the coin thickness using micrometers, collectors have reported distortions in the readings due to the uneven distribution of metal along the rim. It’s worth noting that a significant proportion of Gold Buffalo coins are affected by this characteristic, making it a common occurrence among these prized collectibles.

These coins wouldn’t even rest evenly on a flat surface – a clear indication of poor quality control.

While some may view these variations in edge thickness as a unique feature, others might be concerned about the impact on the coin’s overall aesthetics and value. As collectors continue to share their experiences and observations, the discussion surrounding the “finning” phenomenon adds an intriguing layer to the multifaceted world of coin collecting.

Despite the inherent beauty of the Gold Buffalo coin, enthusiasts have become increasingly aware of certain quality control (QC) issues and the absence of security features in coins minted by the US Mint. Notably, a prevalent concern among collectors is the lack of uniformity in edge thickness—a characteristic that seems to be notably common among Gold Buffalos.

Owning six Gold Buffalos, i ccould highlights the near-universal nature of this feature, suggesting that finding a coin with a completely uniform edge is a rare occurrence. The uneven edge thickness is emphasized as the norm rather than an exception, prompting a closer examination of a Gold Buffalo that appears to exhibit an off-center error.

Did you Got A Crooked Gold Buffalo?! video by 2 is 1.

In the comments section, viewers share their experiences and opinions on the Gold Buffalo, with some expressing disappointment in the U.S. Mint’s quality control, while others appreciate the unique and authentic nature of the coins’ flaws. The discussion touches on the rugged appearance of the Buffalo and the desire for enhanced security features on U.S. Mint coins. The narrator demonstrates the uneven rim issue observed in Gold Buffalos, emphasizing that such imperfections are unintentional and not consistent across all coins. Several examples are showcased, exhibiting unevenness in rim depth, thinning, and signs of shaving on the rim, raising questions about the U.S. Mint’s quality control practices.

The visual evidence presented in the accompanying image vividly portrays the perceived irregularity in the coin’s edge. Notably, the left side of the coin appears higher than the right, contributing to an off-center appearance. The coin’s profile further underscores this disparity, revealing one side as thicker than the other.

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