The 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo Coins will go on sale at the US Mint today, May 19, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. This release comes less than two weeks after the sell out of the 2010-dated version, making for only a small gap in availability for the popular 24 karat gold proof coins.
After a few years or cancellations, delays, and general uncertainty, the US Mint has managed to catch up with their numismatic gold offerings and get things on a normalized schedule. By contrast, the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo had not been released until October 29. The 2010 coin showed improvement with a release date of June 3.
The American Gold Buffalo features James Earle Fraser’s design for the 1913 Type I Buffalo Nickel. The profile of a Native American believed to be based on three real life chiefs appears on the obverse. The reverse features an American Bison or Buffalo on a raised mound. This is believed to have been modeled after Black Diamond of the New York Zoological Gardens.
The classic design was resurrected for use on the 24 karat gold bullion program introduced in 2006. For each year, the US Mint has also made available collectible proof version of the coin. For 2008, the offerings were expanded to include uncirculated coins and fractional coins, but the extra versions were ultimately discontinued.
It’s interesting to note that Public Law 109-145, which authorized the American Gold Buffalo specifies that Fraser’s obverse and reverse designs for the Buffalo Nickel must be used only for the initial year of release. After the initial one year period, the Secretary of the Treasury has the option of changing the obverse or reverse design. So far this option has not been utilized.
The 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo Coins each contain one troy ounce of .9999 fine (24 karat) gold. The coins are presented in a hardwood box with matte finish and faux leather insert. There has been no maximum mintage level established and there are no household ordering limits in effect.
Each coin is priced at $1,760.00 for the start of sales. These coins are covered under the US Mint’s flexible pricing policy for certain gold and platinum numismatic coins. As such, the price may be adjusted as frequently as weekly in response to changes in precious metals prices.