Collectors with limited budgets may have to decide on buying just one of the two 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Coins that will be released by the United States Mint this year. This article provides coin images for the two versions to offer comparisons that may help in making a buying decision.
On Thursday, May 23, 2013, the U.S. Mint will release its standard, annually issued 2013-W Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin. At a future yet-to-be announced date, the U.S. Mint will also release a special 2013-W Reverse Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the design appearing on both coins. Never before has the Mint released this type of Buffalo coin.
Just to be clear, the standard version that has been issued annually since 2006 is a proof. The commemorative version for the centennial is a reverse proof.
"Reversing the mirror-like background finish of a traditional proof coin and applying it to the design elements of the coin achieves a magnificent contrast," the United States Mint website describes.
Found on American Buffalo Gold Coins is the heads and tails designs as first created by James Earle Fraser for the original 1913 Type I Buffalo nickel. This includes a heads with a profile of a Native American and a reverse with the image of an American Buffalo.
Since their original release, all Buffalo gold coins have been composed from 24-karat, or 99.99% pure, gold. Because of their gold content, prices for the coins can change weekly. The standard annual proof will launch on the 23rd with a starting price of $1,790. The U.S. Mint has said it will use the same pricing method for when the reverse proof is released. While the totals can change, collectors are looking at a sizable, roughly $3,600 amount to own both coins. That is why some may stick to buying only one of them.