100th Anniversary Gold Buffalo Set in 2013?

Some Mint News Blog readers have reported receiving a survey conducted on behalf of the United States Mint which raises the possibility of issuing a 100th Anniversary American Gold Buffalo Set containing proof and reverse proof coins. The survey also raises other possibilities related to the design and numismatic versions offered for the series.

The obverse and reverse designs for the American Gold Buffalo were created by James Earle Fraser and first appeared on the 1913 Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel. The year 2013 will mark the 100th anniversary of the design, which has been used on the 24 karat gold coin series since its introduction in 2006.

The survey mentions that the US Mint is considering the possibility of releasing a special two coin set which would include proof and reverse proof American Gold Buffalo coins. The proof coin would have the same appearance as the traditional proof coin that has been offered annually. The reverse proof coin would feature a frosted background and mirrored design elements, i.e. the reverse of the traditional appearance.

With regards to mintage, the sets “would not be minted to demand but would be minted in quantities sufficient so that most people who currently purchase American Buffalo coins would have the opportunity to buy the set.” A follow up question asks the survey respondent to recommend a mintage level for the set. One version of the survey includes the options 20,000, 35,000, 50,000, open sell window, and mint to demand.

The approximate price for the two coin set is indicated at $4,000 subject to the market price of gold.

If the set becomes a reality, this would be the fifth time that the US Mint has offered a special set incorporating a reverse proof coin. The first time was in 2006 when 20th anniversary sets were issued for the American Gold Eagle and American Silver Eagles. This was followed by the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set in 2007. Most recently the US Mint issued the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set in 2011 and the San Francisco Silver Eagle Set in 2012.

The survey also includes questions about whether the US Mint should consider changing the design of the American Gold Buffalo. As mentioned in this post, the authorizing legislation for the program only requires the use of James Earle Fraser’s Buffalo Nickel design for the first year of issue for the series. For subsequent years, the Secretary of the Treasury has the authority to change both the obverse and reverse designs.

Another question in the survey raises the possibility of producing more options for the American Gold Buffalo coins beyond the individual one ounce proof coin, which currently represents the only annual offering. For a single year in 2008, the US Mint had offered a full range of collectible uncirculated coins as well as fractional proof coins, but these were abruptly canceled. Possibilities suggested in the survey include the return of an uncirculated coin and/or fractional versions.

While there is no guarantee that any of these products will be offered, last year a customer survey had provided the first indications of the San Francisco Silver Eagle Set. The final details of the offering had some slight differences from the details mentioned in the survey. Also several different versions of the survey were distributed, again with slightly different details in each. While no definitive conclusions can be drawn from the most recent survey, it does provide collectors with glimpse of some of the products or changes that the US Mint is considering for the American Gold Buffalo.

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  1. SmallPotatos says

    I like the idea of creating the coins, but i worried about the meeting ‘demand’ part……

  2. Larry says

    I would hope they offer just the reverse proof. $4000.00 is a lot of money. I would rather they do a gold reverse proof, and a silver dollar buffalo reverse proof. Now that would be an interesting set, and much more affordable.

  3. SmallPotatos says

    I just finished the survey. Here is the question:

    The American Buffalo 24K Gold Coin’s obverse and reverse designs feature images by noted American sculptor James Earle Fraser. The designs were originally featured on the popular “Indian Head,” or “Buffalo Nickel” which was introduced in 1913 to showcase the native beauty of the American West.

    2013 is the 100th Anniversary of the James Earle Fraser design on the American Buffalo 24K Gold Coin. In celebration, the United States Mint is considering introducing an American Buffalo reverse proof coin, minted to demand, that replaces the standard American Buffalo proof coin. (A reverse proof coin consists of reversing the mirror-like background finish of a traditional proof coin, and applying it to the design elements of the coin to achieve a unique contrast.)

    The price of this 100th Anniversary American Buffalo reverse proof coin will be approximately $2,000.

    Note: Pricing for gold coin products is tied to the market price for an ounce of gold and can vary dependent upon changes in the market value (based on the London Fix).

    Q5a. How likely will you be to purchase the 100th Anniversary American Buffalo reverse proof coin if it is offered in 2013? (Please remember that the standard American Buffalo proof coin would not be available.) ”

    Not Likely = 1——–Extremely Likely = 6

  4. SmallPotatos says

    Following question:

    “Q6a. How many of the 100th Anniversary American Buffalo reverse proof coins would you be likely to purchase if it is offered in 2013? “

  5. Gary says

    I would like a 3 coin 1/2 oz set. Proof , rev proof , burnished. Or even a 4 coin 1/4 set so there is a similarity in size with original nickel

  6. SmallPotatos says

    “Q7a. If the 100th Anniversary American Buffalo reverse proof coin replaces the standard American Buffalo proof coin for 2013, how satisfied would you be with the options available for the year? “

  7. SmallPotatos says

    I indicated a response of 1 “Not Satisfied” to Question Q7a.
    so Q8a is this: “Please explain why you provided a rating of 1 in the previous question.”

    to which i responded “The reverse Proof should be meinted to demand, but only on special ocaasions. to do otherwise would lessen its desireability, in my humble opinion.”

  8. SmallPotatos says

    Q9a. In your opinion, would an American Buffalo reverse proof coin that replaces the standard proof coin in 2013 detract from the American Buffalo series (or your collection) or enhance it? \
    It would detract from the series / my collection

    It would enhance the series / my collection

    I feel neutral about it

    Q10a Would this make you more or less likely to continue collecting the American Buffalo series?

    It would make me more likely to collect the series

    It would make me less likely to collect the series

    I feel neutral about it

    I do not currently collect this series

  9. Phil says

    Here’s what I would like to see (all of these available at one time):
    1) A reverse proof gold 1 oz buffalo available to purchase by itself
    2) An actual buffalo nickel set for 2013, with unc, proof, and reverse proof (much more affordable for those with limited pocketbooks!), and maybe even have one produced for circulation for 2013 only, instead of the Jefferson nickel.
    We’ve already had a silver buffalo in 2001 & don’t want to see that diluted.

  10. Mint News Blog says

    I believe they could legally make a UHR Gold Buffalo, but they don’t appear to be considering it.

  11. SmallPotatos says

    I hope everyone is ok with the posts. Michael, i have no problem if you feel the need to remove them, as they are lengthy.

  12. In The Middle says

    I think it would be a slam dunk; though a seperate Rev. Gold, and Rev Silver Buffalo would be an much better set

  13. DCDave says

    $4000 seems obnoxious. I think a $2000 reverse proof would be nice, but pushing it financially for most.

  14. simon says

    I had called earlier for a type-1 nickel reissue with edge lettering, marking the buffalo nickel design centennial, as a special insert in the set. All-in-all I congratulate the USMint on this offering, and all recent offerings, specifically the 5 Oz ATBs which I favor greatly.

  15. Jeff in TX. says

    Hay , as long as the Mint doesn’t put a silver eagle in the set making it another hard to get set. Could put the reverse proof 2012 silver eagle in this. Since the Mint has they already. No melting its a win win.

  16. CW says

    Leave out the regular proof; the set is far too expensive with it. Strongly consider fractionals, given the price of gold and the state of the economy. Every set gets a special proof Buffalo in nickel for kicks.

  17. ClevelandRocks says

    They could make it $6K and include the 2011 proof buffalo too since they never want to stop selling those.

  18. Natatack says

    Hope they don’t make 50,000 I think that maybe too many. The 2006 reverse proof gold eagle sells for about $2300 ungraded and that is with a mintage of less than 10,000. The PF 70 is higher at $3500.
    Anyone at the mint ever thought of producing a 100 year Anniversay buffalo nickel out of nickel? I think a buffalo nickel in the original size and metal content would go a long way to boost interest in the hobby. I don’t think very many young collectors will be setting aside $4000 for next year to buy a gold two coin set. A mini nickel set would be nice like others have suggested like proof type 1, type 2, reverse proof, high relief all to be had for less than $50-75.
    I think there is room for both the gold for the serious collector and investors and for the nickel for the collectors and those who want to be collectors that don’t want to spend an arm an a leg for it.

  19. Levi says

    I’m OK with the Reverse Proof and Proof two coin set as long as the mint mark on the proof coin is unique to the set. They could have S mint marks.

  20. says

    “Anyone at the mint ever thought of producing a 100 year Anniversay buffalo nickel out of nickel? I think a buffalo nickel in the original size and metal content would go a long way to boost interest in the hobby.

    Since 1883, the nickel has been the same size (5 grams, 21.2 mm in diameter) and metal content (75% copper & 25% nickel)….war years 1942-45 excluded as to metal content.

  21. says

    I’d love to see a stand along 1 oz reverse proof gold buffalo with a limited mintage of no more than 25,000.

    Or, as Gary suggested, a 3 coin 1/2 oz set with proof, reverse proof and burnished…in a nice hardwood holder like the 2008 8-8-08 Double Prosperiy set.

    I also like the idea of circulating buffalo nickels…of course this was done in 2005 with the “Westward Journey” series…but the buffalo was not the same as the 1913-38 nickels.

    Whatever the Mint does, my last preference would be for a two-coin Buffalo gold set(1 oz rev. pf, 1 oz reg….or any combination of other options) that is “minted to demand”. Minted to demand sucks IMO and that would probably deter me from any interest. A reverse proof buffalo 1 oz gold coin with a mintage of 25,000 and a household limit of 1, is what I’d like. I really enjoy the thrill of the chase….and well, that “minted to demand”…that dog don’t hunt.

  22. guama says

    I like the vintage nickel design versus the westward journey. I am in for that. The two coin set in gold is out of my budget.

  23. posterhunter says

    Are you guys crazy? Two full ounces of gold is going to be extremely expensive to buy and the mint is already seeing declining sales of gold. Now they want to do a two ounce set?

    The mint didn’t even do that with the reverse platinum set, they did 1/2 ounce coins.

    I love the gold buffalo coins too as I have a lot of the 2008 coins, but two full ounces? And they expect us to also buy all the spouse coins, the 1 ounce w eagle gold coin, the proof ounce and all the other expensive coins. Like money grows on trees.

  24. Gary says

    How about just a 1/10 ounce reverse proof buffalo?? Something for the little guys! Or at least this little guy!! ha

  25. Gary says

    Have to wait for 2037 for a 3 Legged Buffalo 100th Anniversary! Cool Idea…but not likely! I doubt the US Mint will commemorate a mistake!

  26. bigdawg says

    yea ,hell yes why don’t they make a 5 coin set lets make it 10,000 dolars or better yet make a 10 coinset and make it 20,000 dollars .coin collecting from the mint sure is not about the hobby and kids no more ,as long as people like you keep pouring that type of money into the mint,they will always keep coming out with more and more things.I havw been collecting for over 60 years if i pay that type of money i’am going to buy something old and has a great numismatic value. i can tell my grandson this is a $20 st gaudens gold piece,this is a piece of crap the us mint created to take my money in 2013

  27. vaughnster says

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Mint comes out with a totally new and exciting coin instead of tweaking current designs? I was really excited about the prospects of a palladium coin but beginning to wonder if that will ever happen.

  28. Louis says

    A new design or a reverse proof only would work for, though I would prefer a fractional set to make it more affordable. Two one-ounce coins is definitely too much and the mintage sounds like it will be high, if they actually sell them all.

    It is true the Mint issues a large number of high-cost coins, but there is basically something for everyone, and there is no need to try to keep up with coins you can’t afford. Better to pick a series or couple of them that you like and can afford, and try to build a complete set of those.

  29. William says

    It would be interesting to see a different image of an Indian, perhaps a 1913
    Bela Lyon Pratt design would create more mojo (1908-1929) in gold , possibly a half ounce gold coin.

    The Liberty Chief

  30. grampa dave says

    I’m out.. Can’t even begin to afford gold, much less a one once $2000 coin. I think a small Buffallo nickle set would be more in my price range. Besides 2013 is also the 50 years anniversary of the Kennedy half dollar. And I haven’t seen or herd of any special issues. Th e mint might make some nice silver sets for this event also.

  31. Mint News Blog says

    They would have the authority to issue a reverse proof (or even possibly a high relief proof) GOLD Buffalo. I do not believe they have authority to mint a reverse proof SILVER Buffalo.

    Likewise, they wouldn’t have the authority to change the design of the nickel, or issue a special nickel with a different design.

    Other world mints have much more broad authority over numismatic products. The US Mint only has the authority specifically granted by Congress.

  32. Harry Baskins says

    I would like a 5 ounce silver Buffalo nickel for the 100th anniversary available in proof and uncirculated.

  33. says

    I had actually thought I didn’t receive the Mint survey, but I went back and checked an email account that I’ve been slacking on cleaning out. My survey was from 17 OCT and actually asked about fractionals as well. 20 questions I believe, many of them related to Gold Buffaloes.

  34. posterhunter says

    The standard proof and unc buffalo coins are not selling that good today, they have declining sales. Since they seem to want high sales of whatever product they sell, then there is only one product available that would accomplish that goal.

    That is a UHR gold buffalo coin.

    Everybody that bought the Saint UHR would probably buy a buffalo UHR and they would make a great set. If they really got the ball rolling they may even sell 100,000 coins like they did with the Saint, just don’t go overboard. You could even use thousands of those leftover boxes you probably have stacked up in the warehouse from the earlier Saint, lol.

    But if they think they are going to do a two coin 1 ounce set for 4k and sell 50,000 it ain’t gonna happen, not ever, not at that price. We already have those coins in the market and it is not something special anymore. They are already selling bullion gold buffalo ounces, and they are already selling proof gold buffalo ounces.

    The only two coins different are a reverse proof and a UHR. I think the market prices on the Saint UHR compared to the Saint reverse proof coins shows the UHR is hands down the winner. They will sell a ton of those.

  35. Louis says

    DCD: I left out the word silver, I was only referring to that option in RP. Of course, they have auth. to issue a RP gold, or they would not be doing a survey about it. I think this whole RP thing is being overdone anyway.

  36. saucexx says

    It’s all academic for me. $4K for a two coin gold set is not in my cards. I’m somewhat surprised it’s even being discussed.

  37. ABC says

    I am in favor of the 2-coin set at $4000 per set. This would limit the number of sets sold and thus making it more rare.

  38. Samuel says

    ABC, “This would limit the number of sets sold”, BUT, the mint will sell them for many years!

  39. says

    Yes, there would have to be separate authorization for a RP (or silver) Buffalo because PL 106-375 was in commemoration of the National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institution. And PL 109-145 only stipulated gold Buffaloes.

    I’d have to do some more research over the past year’s PLs, but I doubt Treasury authority has changed so dramatically that it has authority to change non-minor coinage so dramatically.

  40. says

    Funny thing, they *could* have changed the design of any minor coinage every 25 years, due to PL 51-331 (Act of 26 SEPT 1890). But PL 108-15, sponsored by Eric Cantor (the Representative of the CD containing Monticello), put the kibosh on nickel design changes. Incidentally, the same Act instituted the CCAC.

  41. Mercury says

    Here we go again. Gluttons for punishment. The statement “last year a customer survey had provided the first indications of the San Francisco Silver Eagle Set”…. Should be a clue. Hint: It wasn’t that long ago.

  42. Mercury says

    No way am I getting tangled up in this Mint Web again. They know better than to send that survey to me. No way in “double tooth picks” am I going there again. All I can say is beware of the Mints double talk… “would not be minted to demand but would be minted in quantities sufficient so that most people who currently purchase American Buffalo coins would have the opportunity to buy the set.”

  43. posterhunter says

    I think I have a solution for the mint, they need to issue a mint credit card and allow everyone to buy on credit for the multi-thousand dollar issues they keep producing if they want to sustain sales.

    I can just see the ad, open a mint credit card and get 2% off this purchase! Hurry! Hurry! You have to buy an item of $1000 or higher and accept 24.9% interest.

    You will get first crack on newly issues coins!
    No credit check required!
    Hurry! Hurry!

  44. charles says

    wow…overdoing the rp?….I don’t think so. There has only been one rp gold coin and it would be a first for the buffalo. What IS overdone is the same ‘ol regular proofs every year…yawn…boring…so again, gold rp overdone?

  45. says


    I think he was referring to the notion of a RP, regardless of PM content…that is, whether it’s gold, silver, or platinum.

    I agree with your comment about proofs though — and just about anything else the Mint has been releasing — for several years now. Too much of a good thing and all that. For instance, the State Quarters idea really kicked into high gear a new generation of type collectors. Heck, I just gave my officemate some States for his wife, and she never collected a dang thing in her life before them! But the National Park quarters are quite frankly a flop. It’s just firehosing people who already have too many stimuli to choose from.

    The first and maybe even the second RP was cool, but this is becoming annual now. It’s firehosing again. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have its followers because it would. However, if we’re going to be unoriginal then let’s go for something a little less predictable like a UHR. Just MHO though.

    I’d like to see U.S. coinage become less controlled like it was 100+ years ago, where Congress just basically said, “Include an eagle, E Pluribus Unum, and Liberty”, here’s what the grains and composition are, and be done with it. Let the artists create the art and quit trying to dredge up old designs unless it’s on the denomination it was originally designed for.

  46. joe says

    The buffalo is my favorite coin by far, and I really like the idea of a 100th anniversary set!

    An RP would be a special release for the buffalo since it has never been done for that particular coin. That said, I would LOVE to see a UHR of the buffalo. But we are getting ahead of ourselves… This is an election year and I believe gold prices are being artificially held down (along with oil, unemployment figures, etc.). Furthermore, I also believe the stock market is artificially high now as well. After the election we will see where things go when a lame duck president (or a 2nd term president) no longer cares. I expect gold prices to jump and make almost any offering that includes gold unaffordable. Perhaps palladium might be a good alternative…


  47. Gary says

    I got it now. I would like 1/4 oz size 4 coin set. One each burnished, proof, reverse, and a palladium example which I think would give the original nickel feel

  48. rpw says

    I’d hate to spend $4K on gold considering that gold prices may be coming down in the next few years. I think as the economy finally starts to gain some ground, we’ll see gold prices drop drastically. That would really SUCK if you spent 4K on two coins. I certainly hope that is not the case but eventually – the dollar will have to rebound and that will be bad for gold. This economy won’t stay terrible forever! JMHO

  49. G says

    maybe a 3 coin set with two 2011 Buffalos and one 2013 Buffalo for $6000, commemorating that there will be twice as many 2011 Buffalos sold in 2013 as there were in 2011?

  50. says

    “This economy won’t stay terrible forever! JMHO”

    The Nikkei is going on 20+ years since its peak in 1989 or so and the Japanese economy has been in the doldrums due to government intervention ever since. It is now exacerbated due to the savings rate of the average citizen being hammered by ever-increasing numbers of retirees. Japan has a debt/GDP over 200% due to all of this.

    Unless our own govt. gets out of the way of what needs to be a purging of malinvestment, the same will happen here. Especially given the burden the Boomers are going to place on the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security systems.

    Long term, I would not bet against gold or any other tangible, movable asset.

  51. says

    At $4,000 a set and gold a risky asset it’ll make a great Christmas gift for the 1%ers to give each other. Who else could afford them, I ask? With a mintage in the tens of thousands very likely it will probably (in the long run) have value only for it’s bullion plus a little bit premium. Something like this is only affordable to those who are interested in buying complete annual proof sets of precious metal coins.

  52. natatack says

    I’m out, too rich for me, maybe if it were availible individually. I see some upside increases for this issue initially but will most likely settle down to a modest level after the dust settles unless it is a Hi relief, where I think it will do better, than just a RP.

  53. Steve says

    I would love to see the reverse proof buffalo.
    I’d also love to see a 50th anniversary gold Kennedy half dollar in 2014.

  54. N2AuAgPt says

    I received the Mint’s survey, too, and am excited about the possibility of a special version – RP, UHR, whatever – in 2013. Personally, I would like to see an RP UHR, assuming it’s technically possible. Skip the regular Proof for 2013. This is BY FAR the most beautiful coin issued by the USM and is more attractive to international buyers because it is 24 kt gold, not 22 kt as is the Gold Eagle. The RP UHR would have a uniqueness that should sell very well.

    While the questions about the possibility of an RP, etc., have been the subject of most of the questions above, the possibility of fractionals is what really excited me, as well as the use of different designs. The latter excited me because I can’t see the USM’s artists creating a better design than the original, and hope they’ll leave well enough alone. The fractionals could be done, as suggested above, in a burnished, proof and RP as was done for the 2011 Silver Eagle coins. Do each in a half ounce size large enough for the design to be highlighted in each size, but affordable enough for many collectors to buy.

    On the subject of mintage, anything under 25,000 would be a good target. The price will limit the number sold, so I’m not to concerned about what the actual number is, as it will be low enough for the set to retain its value.

    And for the persons who commented above about gold falling in value over the next few years, what have you been smoking? As long as the Fed, BoE, BoJ, ECB and others try to print their way out of the global Depression, a fall in gold or other tangible assets with scarcity is extremely unlikely.

  55. Ethan says

    Now what I want to see is a 5 once reverse proof buffalo because remember this is the 100th anniversary here and you have to do something big to celebrate it.

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