Proof and Reverse Proof 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Coin Images

by Mike Unser on May 22, 2013 · 34 comments

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.

Proof and Reverse Proof 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Coin Images - Obverses

Proof and Reverse Proof 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Coin Images – Obverses

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.

Proof and Reverse Proof 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Coin Images - Reverses

Proof and Reverse Proof 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Coin Images – Reverses

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.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe#2 May 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Wow, The reverse proof buffalo is A-W-E-S-O-M-E in my opinion. Great job U.S. Mint..:)

Griffin May 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I wish I could afford to buy at least one of these beautiful coins. But alas, paying the bills must come first, and that leaves “zippy do da” for my coin collection. *sigh*

RonnieBGood May 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm

This will provide a challenge to purchase one (much less both) even with an above average budget.

What makes this an even tougher choice this year is with falling Gold prices. The price drop will make this year’s purchase more affordable. However, this in turn will cause a drop in the resale price of gold coins (over the next two years) as the economy improves. One may be stuck with a loss if you are forced to sell your coins within a declining market (price) for physical Gold.

jim May 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Yeah, even one is too rich for my blood. I’ll be looking at eBay later on to see if I can get one cheaper in another couple years. Since the reverse proof will be minted to collector demand I don’t expect this coin to have a low mintage.

Joe#2 May 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Was possibly thinking about picking up a 2013-w proof and a reverse proof ( when they are released ), But besides the price staying at 1790.00 because gold shot up briefly and then came right down, I decided to pass, Not just because of the price, But of the problems even with .9999 fine gold, I have heard and seen people have problems with some of these coins developing red spots or blotches and in some cases carbon/copper spots even with the pure gold. It’s possible it can be from the mints machines some droplets of oil and then when the coins cool the oil can spread. I don’t know exactly the process, But if i’m going to spend this type of money, I want perfection, And the mint only gives a 7 day warranty. Usually this problem happens down the line. I have seen some peoples post i believe it was coin talk. I wanted to get the reverse proofs as well, But, I will pass altogether.

Victor May 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm

No matter what, I’m going to get both, First of all, if you collect the reverse proofs, you have to have this one. If you collect Gold Buffalos you must have this one. So, you got to have them. Wow, there goes the budget.

thePhelps May 23, 2013 at 1:56 am

Victor…I only wish I had a Gold coin budget…

Kahoola May 23, 2013 at 5:59 am

Joe#2, bought some first spouse coins that had red spots. My understanding is that these are “rose spots” where silver alloy was not completely mixed and my guess is that the silver makes the spot less yellow, or oxidizes or somehow becomes discolored. Why there should be silver in a .999 gold coin eludes me. It does not pay to keep them in the box for possible first strike grading, you really need to open the shipping box and check them out. Send them back if you find spots.

Joe#2 May 23, 2013 at 8:20 am

Kahoola, I understand. The problem is this problem happens down the road. The only gold i haven’t seen any problems is,Is with the Perth mint. The U.S. Mint and the Canadian mint as well as the gold Pandas i have seen issues with. If you’re familiar with the Canadian wildlife series that they had, They had issues with milk spots.I guess it’s just a crap shoot if you’ll have issues with the gold buffalos or not. I was anxious to pick these up but why spend a fortune to possibly have issues down the line and the mint won’t stand behind it. My opinion.

Joe#2 May 23, 2013 at 8:33 am

Folks, I just would like you to check this out and let me know your thoughts. I know some people where these spots wouldn’t bother them at all, And some people that would bother them a lot, Like me. I thought before you spend big money on these, You should be aware of what could happen. go to this link below.

Victor May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am

@thePhelps, I don’t. 🙂 I’m just not going to eat, wash or shop for a year. 😉

Joe#2 May 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

I just called the U.S. Mint , ( spoke to a supervisor )and they told me if your buffalo ( after the 30 days ) should have those red or black spots,they will do nothing about it. Just wanted to let the folks know the ones that are buying it to be aware. Usually these problems do happen down the road.
Good luck.

Joe#2 May 23, 2013 at 10:45 am

correction… It should say after 7 DAYS, Not 30 like it use to be..

Kahoola May 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Sent in two identical first spouses to NGC. One had a rose spot. The rose spot spouse came back at MS69. The no spot one came back MS70. It can make a difference in grades apparently.

vpd May 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I agree with Victor, I want them both. Have to keep the collection going and the herd growing.

Victor May 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I just ordered the Proof. It’s in stock, so it should be here in a couple of days. I’ll let you know how nice it is.

Vpd May 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Victor

jim May 24, 2013 at 1:16 am

I know this discussion is all about gold and spots but older silver coins like Eisenhower’s have been known to have some discoloration and it seems to me that this was prized in some way. But then again this not spots but more of a shading that colors the coins.
I do understand the concern about the spots especially for the money being spent for one of these coins. Luckily (?) I can’t afford to buy one of these so I’m waiting for the price of gold to go down to where I can, and by that time hopefully any spots will have shown up on secondary market coins.
Wonder what the graders do if a coin is graded 70 and then later on it gets spots – still a 70? It’s a shame they don’t tell you why a graded coin got a 69 instead of a 70, or 68 instead of 69, etc.

Joe#2 May 24, 2013 at 8:38 am

As far as i’m concerned to have proof coins graded makes no sense to me. If a gorgeous coin comes straight from a reputable mint, that should be good enough. Maybe it’s “old school” But the good ol hobby or collecting of coins in my opinion is not fun anymore. Everything is to fancy and dang expensive. To have a coin graded for authenticity in some cases is fine. The first strike and early release “thing” to me, is BS.

jim May 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Joe#2 – they’re constructs made up by the graders to drum up business. There’s no way to tell when a coin was minted, especially when they make and ship so many of them so soon after issue date. The mint probably goes through thousands of dies when minting a particular coin. Where does first strike fit in then? Early release means date of arrival (to me) so has no relevance to the condition of the coin(s) involved – they’re just as perfect as any of the other coins. And yet suckers buy into this rating game and label color, etc. like it actually means something. Nobody’s convinced me (or even tried) that it does yet.

Joe#2 May 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Jim, You’re 100% correct. I’m glad someone else sees it my way.

vpd May 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm


I agree with you as well. What is so sad is that this tricky is allowed to continue.

Victor May 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Last year, NGC came out with a “special” 25th anniversary black holder. They were touting a $10 fee to re-slab from the old holders to the new ones. I posted a comment, “Who cares.” They responded, “We do.” Well, there you go, never mind the initial fee, just pay the postage, insurance and another $10 and you too can waste even more money. I do own graded coins. However, I buy them already graded. No way am I going to waste my money, relying on a grade I know should be a 70 and have it come back, anything, but. The 5oz coins will never be graded. I like them, in their capsules, straight from the Mint.

Joe#2 May 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm

If people here could help people with ideas where they store their coin collections whether they are numismatic or bullion coins. This way we can help each other with ideas to protect our coins against humidity, moisture, salt in the air and other elements in the air. Some people say the acid free/linen free cardboard boxes are good, ( but can they break down after a length of time )? Some say metal boxes? (Humidity and moisture will still get in those metal boxes.) who knows. Just remember, If your coin(s) are not stored well even if graded by any grading company, After awhile the elements will destroy ( in most cases in my opinion ) the grade in which they got. the holders are not airtight which some people think they are. Sorry to get off topic, But i feel you spend quite a bit of $$ on your collection, that this is extremely important.

RonnieBGood May 26, 2013 at 11:53 am

I received a letter from the Mint last year on the Spouse coins. They were having production problems, especially with the uncirculated coins. It was an apology letter but their only offered solution was to stop production. With mintages as low as the Spouse coins have they do not want to spend the time/money to fix the issues with contaminated dies. It only went well for those that got Coins before the Mint ceased production.

How well do think that would go over in the real world: i.e. “Sorry Boss we are having Production Problems”. “That’s Okay RBG, just shut down production.”

Joe#2 May 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

unreal.. Here i wanted to purchase the reg 1 ounce buffalo and the reverse proof coming out, And i’m not because the chance of spotting and whatever, And our own U.S. Mint wont stand behind it past 7 days, When these problems most likely happen down the road..

jim May 27, 2013 at 1:49 am

Shutting down production was a decision made for Dep Dir (Mr Incompetent) Peterson who is loathe to communicate to his superiors or the public his ineptness at running the US Mint – and – hides his head in the sand hoping his problems will go away. In this case they didn’t and finally he (or probably somebody else) was forced to take the drastic action to get the mint back on track. It’s been 8 months since a nomination has been made for a new mint director and yet Congress continues to sit on it’s collective thumbs. Blame Congress or Obama or whoever, we continue to be stuck with Mr Incompetent Peterson.

magerlee May 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

It is awful that some people have had problems with some of the buffalos. I have been fortunate in that I have a collection of all the gold Buffalos in proof form and none of the spots you have spoken of. The first one I bought was the 2006 ungraded at a coin shop in phoenix for about $1100, I was kind of inexperienced and didn’t notice a small chink in the indians cheek. It always bothered me and so I sold it for a nice profit when gold was up for $1950. The rest of my collection is mixed graded and ungraded some NGC some PCGS. Some are first strike/early release, which I agree are bull crap listings but I got them for a good price. All the graded ones I have are PF-69 and none graded or not have any spots. I stored them in an air conditioned enviorment, a hot car and a safe deposit box at different times and nothing has affected their luster. I did have a PF-69 NGC 1993 James Madison bill of rights coin that had some very strong toning, I sold it to a guy that loved the toning (I didn’t) I since replaced it with an MS/PF 69 set of the same coin with no toning, go figure. Anyway I would love to have both proofs this year but I don’t know if the budget will allow. If I have to choose one through hell or high water it will be the Reverse because other than the mint mark all the other years look the same (minus the fractionals from 2008 and the silver from 2001)

rob May 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Joe#2 you are absolutely right, a proof from a reputable mint is a proof – I see no reason at all to go have it “graded” by some third party. Over the past 30 years of collecting coins, a lot of them proofs – I have never shipped one, nor will I ever ship one to one of these “graders”. Shoot, how do you really know if you received the same coin back?? Nothing out there runs with 100% accuracy… and I’m to have faith that these “graders” do? Ha!
I will definitely get both Buffalo proofs – like vpd and Victor – I’ve gotta keep the collection going and the herd growing. Besides, the Buffalo coin is the most exciting thing the US Mint has ever offered – I love the ATB series too! Other than than those two programs the Mint has been really blah.
Over the past two years I have been looking elsewhere – I would never of dreamed of doing that 3, 5, 10 years ago!! But with anything new being delayed, series being cut short with no warning or explanation – I’ve had to look elsewhere. I have achieved the Master’s Club level with the Royal Canadian Mint – now the Canadians have got it together!! I have made some really nice additions to my collection with purchases from La Monnaie de Paris, ICMC and The Royal Mint as well.
With that said…. No coin, in my opinion, compares to our American Buffalo!

jim May 28, 2013 at 1:20 am

I see the Canadian Mint as more of a boutique kind of mint as far as the collectables go anyway. Didn’t stop me from collecting the 18K gold hologram zodiac series though.

Peter July 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

Ok I am gonna open a hornets nest but I want other collector feedback
I am hoping to get a reverse proof buffalo if the price is right
But what strives me crazy are idiot dealers who argue that early release and first release are different
The advertise there is only 20 early releases and there are 60 first releases coins so the er label is rarer Just to give a example
There are both the same classification are The total of them together should be the mount of those graded the first 30 days
Are collectors idiots these days
Wanted to hear from other collectors
I am primarily a comic book guy and see the newbies pay 200 for a Stan lee signed certified book and pass by the old books that have a lot more real value wi the me stan sig

Victor July 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Regardless of price, buy one! Forget about grading it, or if you must have a graded coin, buy the grade you want from a reputable dealer. EBay has many. Except for silver commemoratives, which I buy one each from the mint, and one each MS-70 and PF-70, from a dealer I know is selling at rock bottom, I buy whatever gold I buy, from the Mint and I leave them in the original holders with all the CA’s. I have the three piece Gold set with the only reverse proof coin. Someone said to have it certified. Why? It’s the three coin Gold set and if someone wants to buy it, the price of a three coin Gold set is the price of a three coin gold set. FS, FR, “special Label”, Star, Eagle, outhouse, babbling brook! Who gives a damn. MS and PF are the only labels that mean anything. It’s just for you, to determine what you want to spend. OGP, or graded, 60 or 70. When they were minted, means nothing!

Peter July 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Who’s the best for prices? I usually use gainesville or moderncoinmart I know there’s probably better guys but they seem pretty good

Victor July 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I do business with MCM, and except for the 2011 5 coin Silver Eagle set, in Pf-70 and MS-70, for which I “pre ordered” for $2,995, I’ve always gotten a good deal. Hell, no one really knew what they were going to sell for, so I took a shot. Two weeks later, they were selling for $1,400 for the 70’s. But, I still have 5 sets, Un Opened direct from the mint. Maybe I’ll be able to make a buck or three, some day. Others that I use, was APMEX, no longer because they collect tax on money! They lost my business. I like Gainesville, Gold2Keep, Mint Products, First Modern Coins, and some others on EBay. I get notices in e-mail when my favorite sellers have something I need or want and the price is always, the best. And, no shipping and no tax.

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