The .9999 fine Gold Buffalo is the US Mint’s only pure gold bullion coin. It comes in only one size: 1-oz.
Although the Mint packages 1-oz Gold Eagles twenty coins to a tube, Gold Buffaloes are packaged in sheets of Mylar, making them cumbersome to handle and store. Still, the coin is popular with many investors because it carries the famed Buffalo-Indian Head design that graced the American nickel 1913-1934.
Although Gold Buffalo Coins carry the popular Indian Head/Buffalo design, CMIGS is of the position that other gold bullion coins are more suitable for gold bullion investors. Gold Eagles and Krugerrands, for example, are the two bestselling gold bullion coins in the world, are the most recognizable and provide the greatest liquidity of all gold bullion coins.
The 1-oz Gold Buffalo coins are the only pure (.9999 fine, 24-karat) gold coins produced by the U.S. Mint. Each coin contains exactly one ounce of gold and carries a $50 legal tender value, which, basically, is meaningless because the coin sells for the value of its gold content plus a small premium.
These coins carry the famed Buffalo-Indian Head design that graced the American nickel 1913-1934. The Buffalo-Indian Head design is as much identified with American coinage as is the Walking Liberty that graced the popular Walking Liberty half-dollars1916-1947.
Generally, American Gold Buffalo Coins can be bought at premiums slightly higher than the premiums on the US Mint’s 22-karat Gold Eagles, the world’s best-selling gold bullion coins.
While the Mint produces four sizes of American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins, 1-oz,1/2-oz, 1/4-oz and 1/10-oz, American Gold Buffalo Coins are available in only one size: 1-oz.
Gold Buffalo Coin packaging
Although American Gold Buffalo Coins are aimed at investors who prefer pure gold coins, Gold Buffalo coin packaging is not suitable for investors. The coins are sealed in Mylar sheets approximately 16″ X 12″, twenty coins to a sheet, five horizontally by four vertically. The packaging makes shipping and storage problematic, and the coins often come out of their Mylar packaging.
Additionally, when small investors want less than twenty coins, the coins have to be cut out of the sheets. Actually, minimal handling often results in the coins coming out of the packaging. By contrast, the 1-oz Gold Eagles are packaged twenty coins to a tube, making them easy to ship and store. Gold Eagles, like their 22-karat counterpart, the South African Krugerrand gold coins, are rarely damaged in shipment or when handled.
A “mint box” of Gold Buffalos contains 500 coins and measures 17-1/2″ X 12-1/2″ X 4″. Unlike a Gold Eagle mint box, which is a durable plastic box, an American Gold Buffalo Coin mint box is cardboard.
American Buffalo Gold Coins sales:
American Gold Buffalo Coins are magnificent coins and were a huge success when released in 2006. However, primarily because of their packaging, investor interest in the coins has waned since their introduction. Still, Gold Buffalo Coins enjoy good sales because of telemarketers’ promotions. Investors wanting strictly a gold investment should consider going with Gold Eagles or other low-premium gold bullion coins.
Buffalo Gold Coins enjoyed their best sales their first year, 2006. In only seven months in 2006, the Mint sold 323,000 coins. By comparison, the Mint sold only 201,500 one-ounce Gold Eagles, the world’s best selling gold bullion coins, for all 2006.
However, sales of Gold Buffalo Coins have not reached 2006 levels any year since. In 2007, the Mint sold 167,500 Gold Buffaloes; in 2008, 172,000 and in 2009, 200,000. The early success of the Gold Buffalo coins was because of two factors: the immense popularity of the coin’s design and huge promotions by telemarketers.
Gold Buffalo Coins highly promoted
With the Buffalo-Indian Head design being used on an American coin for the first time in seventy-two years, telemarketers jumped all over the coins. Most of the 2006 coins were sent to grading services where they were “slabbed,” as putting a graded coin in a plastic holder is called. Then the telemarketers promoted, at huge markups, the “slabbed” American Gold Buffalos as First Strike Coins.
Immediately following the coin’s release, telemarketers sold MS69 First Strike Gold Buffalo Coins at hundreds of dollars above the market for bullion coins. The MS70 First Strike Gold Buffalo Coins were hawked at $1500 premiums. Fortunately for investors, the promotions at those prices did not last long because many more Gold Buffalo Coins were slabbed than the telemarketers could sell. Premiums collapsed on slabbed Gold Buffalos as dealers cut prices drastically to recapture their investments.
In September 2006, shortly after the Gold Buffalos were released, we posted an expose of First Strike coins on this site, titled First Strike Coins or Strikeout Coins? We think that the article was one of the major reasons that today First Strike coins are now called Early Release coins, which the telemarketers now promote.
Buying Gold Buffalo Coins
If you would like to discuss the American Buffalo Gold Coins or any aspect of gold investing, call us at 800-528-1380. We take calls 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST. More information about buying and selling gold and silver can be found on our Doing Business With page.
Investors wanting gold bullion coins at still lower prices may find suitable coins on our Gold Specials Page. Further, investors interested silver may find suitable products available on our Silver Specials Page.