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The New Reverse Proof Gold American Buffalo Is Setting Records

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This year, coin collectors are celebrating the release of the American Buffalo one-ounce gold reverse proof coin. Struck in 99.99% fine, 24-karat gold at the United States Mint at West Point, this beautiful coin has a style all its own. Instead of the traditional proof style — with a shiny background and frosted buffalo and Native American head — the reverse proof coin has a frosted background and shiny design elements. A reverse proof Gold Buffalo has never before been issued by the U.S. Mint, so this is something that collectors are pretty excited about.

Since the U.S. Mint opened a four-week ordering window for the coin, sales have eclipsed the numbers for the regular, annually issued proof gold American Buffalo. Within the first 30 minutes of availability, collectors ordered 12,630 coins, which was more than the annual sales of the last regular proof version of the coin. And as of August 13, the Mint reported that 24,883 American Buffalo one-ounce gold reverse proof coins had been ordered.

Issued in honor of the 100th anniversary of the original Indian Head or Buffalo nickel, this gold coin is based on James Earle Fraser’s original designs, which appeared from 1913 to 1938. Fraser was a student of the legendary sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, as well as a famous sculptor in his own right — most famous for his iconic sculpture End of the Trail. On Fraser’s famous nickel, the obverse depicts the profile of an American Indian man, while the reverse depicts an American buffalo, also known as a bison.

When asked about the inspiration for the design, Fraser stated that the profile was a composite of several American Indian men, including Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne and Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux. The bison on the reverse side is believed to have been based on an American buffalo named Black Diamond that lived at the Central Park Zoo in New York, where Fraser lived for more than a decade.

Although Fraser’s design was retired in 1938 in favor of the Jefferson nickel, the Buffalo or Indian Head design was revived in 2001 for the commemorative American Buffalo silver dollar. The 24-karat American Buffalo gold coins have been minted annually since 2006 in a bullion version intended for investors as well as a regular proof version for coin collectors. They are the first 99.99% pure gold coins ever produced by the U.S. Mint.

And while collectors are snapping up these reverse proof gold American Buffalos, they’re already anticipating the release of the next precious metal coin from the U.S. Mint: a five-ounce silver quarter depicting Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the American national anthem. If you’re interested in learning more about collecting coins, or want to see how much your coin collection might be worth, come see the experts at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins in West Seattle, Bellevue and Lynnwood. We’re avid collectors ourselves who love to talk about the history of coins and coin collecting.

West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins specialize in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business that was first established in 1979 and is now located in West Seattle, Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell gold, silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us first for a free evaluation.

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