Collectors awaiting the release of the 2010 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin will not have to wait much longer. According to the United States Mint, sales for the one ounce .9999 fine, 24-karat gold piece will commence on June 3, 2010.
The US Mint has been striking the one ounce proof Buffalo since 2006, and offered fractional sizes in 2008. Unfortunately, the smaller versions lasted less than one year as the Mint canceled them as part of their portfolio trimming announced in November 2008.
The Buffalos have experienced roller-coaster availably with demand for gold coins taking off in 2008, leaving supply shortages. The Mint suspended sales several times as a result.
The collector proofs were not available for most of 2009. Sales eventually opened on October 29, 2009. They were robust with 19,468 sold in the first four days. The Mint declared a sellout on March 29, 2010, with the latest sales figures at 49,388.
Their demand is not only driven by their pure precious metal content, their mintages and their proof condition, but also by fascination in their designs. Both the obverse and reverse are based on what many consider to be one of the most beautiful coins ever produced by the Mint, the 1913-1938 circulating nickel. That coin is commonly referred to as the "Indian Head Nickel" or the "Buffalo Nickel."
Designed by James Earle Fraser, the obverse portrays a Native American which many believe to be a a composite of three Indian chiefs. The reverse shows an image of an American buffalo, also known as a bison, standing on a mound of dirt.
The US Mint also strikes bullion versions of gold Buffalo. The 2010-dated bullion coins launched on April 29, 2010. Their sales have been bullish. The Mint’s network of authorized buyers — who resell them for a slight premium above the spot price of the gold they contain — ordered 48,500 alone on the first day.
Unlike their bullion counterparts, the $50 Buffalo gold proofs are sold directly to the public by the Mint. An initial price is yet to be determined. It will be based on the Mint’s pricing matrix for numismatic gold coins which is tied to an average of the London gold fix.
The Mint’s current threshold range for gold is between $1,150.00 and $1,199.99. The 2010 Buffalo Gold Proof will be priced at $1,460.00 should the gold fix average remain within the same level prior to their launch.