Making its entrance today is the 2013-W $50 American Gold Buffalo Proof Coin. The United States Mint released the 24-karat, 99.99% pure gold coin for $1,790.00.
Don’t fixate on that price. It can change every Wednesday based on an average of London gold fixings. Actually, starting sales for the American Gold Buffalo could suffer as it just missed debuting $50 lower at $1,740.00. More than a few prospective buyers may wait on the sidelines, enjoy the extended holiday weekend, and hope for a price drop on Wednesday, May 29.
Coin Designs and Specifications
Released annually in bullion and proof formats since 2006, the one-ounce American Gold Buffalo features popular designs that are 100 years old. Prominent sculptor James Earle Fraser crafted them for the 1913 Buffalo nickel.
Reprised for modern use, obverses or head sides of the gold piece feature a portrait of a Native American believed to be based on three different American Indians. Reverses or tails sides depict an American Buffalo, or bison, likely modeled after Black Diamond of the Central Park Zoo.
Surrounding obverse inscriptions include ‘LIBERTY,’ ‘2013,’ the initial ‘F’ for James Earle Fraser, and the ‘W’ mint mark denoting the proof coin’s production at the West Point Mint.
Reverse inscriptions read ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,’ ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM,’ ‘IN GOD WE TRUST,’ its legal tender face value of ‘$50’ and the weight and fineness ‘1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD.’ These coins have a reeded edge so there are no edge letterings.
American Gold Buffalo coins have a diameter of 1.287 inches, a thickness of 0.116 inches, and weight of 1.000 troy ounces. Their weight and purity assures that every coin has a melt value equal to the current price of an ounce of gold. On release day, the London Fix for gold ended at $1,380.50 an ounce. That places the coin’s premium above melt at a higher than normal $409.50, which again highlights how missing out on the lower price could pressure early sales.
On the flip side, the proof coin debuts at a price point that hasn’t been seen since 2011.
2006 – 2013-W $50 Proof Gold Buffalo Release Prices
|2013 (released on May 23)||$1,790.00|
|2012 (released March 15)||$1,960.00|
|2011 (released May 19)||$1,760.00|
|2010 (released June 3)||$1,510.00|
|2009 (released October 29)||$1,360.00|
|2008 (released July 22)||$1,199.95|
|2007 (released May 23)||$825.95|
|2006 (released June 22)||$800.00|
Three Different American Gold Buffalo Coins in 2013
In a typical release year, there are two different types of American Buffalo Gold Coins — a bullion version intended for investors and the standard proof version for coin collectors. Since this year is not typical as it’s the centennial of Frazer’s design, the U.S. Mint will offer a special reverse proof later in the year.
This is yet another factor that could affect overall sales, as the two coins will compete for a limited amount of collector money. A CoinNews.net article published on Wednesday offers side-by-side photos of the proof and upcoming reverse proof.
Ordering Details, Mintages and Limits
Orders for the 2013-W $50 Proof American Gold Buffalo may be placed on the United States Mint product page for the coin, located here, or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
These coins are produced to meet collector demand, meaning there are no stated mintage limits. There are also no household ordering limits.
Coins ship in a hardwood box with a matte finish and faux leather inset. They are accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.
Sales of Past Proof Coins
Below is a table of prior mintages and sales for the proof coin. Year 2011 and 2012 are unaudited sales totals.
2006 – 2012 Proof American Gold Buffalo Mintages / Sales
|Year||1/10 oz||1/4 oz||1/2 oz||1 oz|