The United States Mint on Thursday, June 3, released the 2010 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin for an opening price of $1,510.00.
The one ounce .9999 fine, 24-karat gold coin marks its fifth year of issue, but this year’s version could experience demand unlike past offerings if recent history is any indication.
The 2009 proof launched on October 29, 2009. Debuting four-day sales roared to 19,468. The US Mint stopped selling the coins on March 29, 2010 around the 50,000 level — the most recent unaudited Mint sales figures have them at 49,388.
More recently and on the bullion side of the equation, American Gold Eagles have been on fire. May was the best month for the series since June 1999. The bullion version of the Buffalo coin was released April 29. 48,500 were sold on the first day alone. Their latest tally is 135,000.
Given the robust sales of gold coins this year, the limited time the 2009 proofs were available, and the lack of knowing how long the 2010 proofs will be on sale, those who want one are expected to buy early.
Pricing will be a factor. Spot gold is hovering around $1,216 an ounce, which means the coins are marked-up nearly $300 above their intrinsic value. Then again, collector proof and uncirculated Mint products have always been priced substantially higher than the value of their precious metals content, unlike bullion coins which are generally sold for a small premium over spot.
The price of the Buffalo proofs can can change once every Wednesday or Thursday based on how gold prices have moved during the prior seven days. If the London gold fix average move outside $1,200.00 – $1,249.99, the Buffalos will move appropriately up or down by $50.
Buffalo gold coin design and order details
Both the obverse and reverse of the Buffalo coin are the same basic design that first appeared on the 1913 circulating nickel, commonly known by most as either the "Indian Head Nickel" or the "Buffalo Nickel." This classic coin is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful ever produced by the US Mint and ran until 1938, when it is discontinued in favor of the Thomas Jefferson design.
The obverse has a portrait of a Native American, said to be a composite of three Indian chiefs. Many have claimed to be one of those three models, but only two were ever verified by the artist James Earle Fraser; Cheyenne Chief Two Moons and Lakota Sioux Chief Iron Tail.
The reverse contains an image of an American buffalo, also known as a bison. It is believed by many to be modeled after the creature named "Black Diamond" who lived in the New York City Zoo.
2010 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin can be ordered directly from the United States Mint Web site product page, located here. Orders may also be placed at the toll-free number 1-800- USA-MINT (872-6468).