2012 Proof Gold Buffalo Sold Out

2012 Gold BuffaloOn Friday, the United States Mint sold out of the 2012 American Gold Buffalo Proof Coin. This continues the parade of 2012 numismatic products that have sold out after a shorter period of availability and with lower sales compared to the 2011 releases.

The 2012 Proof Gold Buffalo originally went on sale March 15, 2012. The one ounce 24 karat gold coins were offered without a stated product limit and initially priced at $1,960. Although the price fluctuated during the offering period, the final price was also $1,960 when the coins sold out on January 18, 2013.

The 2012-dated release was available for about 10 months. This compares an availability period of more than 19 months for the 2011-dated release, which ultimately concluded sales as part of the recent Last Opportunity sale.

At the time of this post, the last reported sales for the 2012 Proof Gold Buffalo are 19,302. (The figure should be updated in tomorrow’s sales report.) This figure is down by about 30% from the prior year and comes close to the lowest mintage for a one ounce proof coin of the series, which was attained in 2008. The final mintages or last reported sales for all proof releases of the series are shown below.

Proof American Gold Buffalo Mintages

Date 1 oz. 1/2 oz. 1/4 oz. 1/10 oz.
2006 246,267
2007 58,998
2008 18,863 12,169 13,125 18,884
2009 49,306
2010 49,263
2011 28,693*
2012 19,302*
*last reported sales

As discussed in previous posts, there has been a clear trend over the past few years towards lower mintages for US Mint numismatic gold coins. In many cases, the mintages have dipped to levels that historically would have made the coins desirable key dates for the respective series. However, the recent low mintages have not carried the same impression as such figures did a decade ago. Many collectors seem to be bracing for even lower figures in coming years and are unwilling to pay premiums for this year’s low mintage coin, which might be undercut by next year’s low mintage coin.

There have been some notable exceptions to this, such as the 2012-W Uncirculated Lucy Hayes & Lucretia Garfield Gold Coins and the 2012-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle. In these case the key differences were the extremely short duration of sales and more unexpected nature of the sell out, which may have prevented some of the speculative buying or position building that occurs for the more telegraphed sell outs. Also, the mintage level was significantly below the prior low, which creates more excitement than a marginally lower figure.

In the case of the 2012 Proof Gold Buffalo, the period of availability did last through the close of the calendar year, and the last reported sales indicate a mintage level still above the 2008 key.

One factor working in favor of the 2012 proof coin is the potential issue of a 100th Anniversary Gold Buffalo Set. Although the product has not been confirmed, it might contain a one ounce proof coin and one ounce reverse proof coin. The one ounce proof is also scheduled for individual release. If both the anniversary set and individual proof are offered, the overall mintage of the 2013 Proof Gold Buffalo would likely far surpass the mintage of the 2012 proof. At least for one more year, this would preserve the status of both the 2008 and 2012 issues as the low mintage coins within the overall series.

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  1. JM says

    These buffaloes will do well as many more proof Buffaloes will be sold next year as they will be offered in the special two coin sets. I think 2013 will mark a low in sales for a lot of coins as the mint probably feels like they left money on the table. It would make sense for them to increase production of everything by 15% to 20% due to the quick sellouts. That said, I think this is likely a repeat of 2008 and people will make money on a lot of different coins from the mint this year.

  2. Wylson says

    “It would make sense for them to increase production of everything by 15% to 20% due to the quick sellouts.”

    Doubt, it people are tapped out. The economy is muddling along. Who will the flippers sell to when the flippees are out of money?

  3. Dan says

    I have followed the topics and discussions here for some time, and it seems their are many opinions as to the present sales, or lack of sales on many numismatic offerings. Their is the economy, number of offerings, collectors and being ” tapped out ” which is a combination of the two previous combined and just the price of precious metals in general. . In addition there are those that hate the 5 ouncers, hate the first spouse coins or dont like the design of others just to name a few of the reasons.

    The topic that I never see discussed is the possible death of collecting in general. We speak of low mintages and yet I wonder how many of the collector/flipper have purchased multiple sets of the 75th set. The collector base could be significantly lower than we really think right now. I would have loved to see the number of orders for those sets, and not just the number of sets sold. That might have been an indication of the hobby in general and a statistic to watch in the future as to its health. Maybe the mint just feels why produce coins that are not going to be bought. Maybe they are just going to fine tune it a bit to try and meet the real demand.

    IMHO I do not see the younger generations involved with collecting as I was or as many of you probably were when you started collecting. Lets face it, by todays standard its probably boring to many, almost nerdy, and it just doesnt compete against video games. Let me date myself, I started collecting with the chamge from my paper route in NYC, when the weekly bill was under 50 cents. Added to everything else, is the fact that we are becoming a cashless society and the younger ones rarely see change anymore.

    Oh well, just the ramblings of an old timer in the hobby

    PS Maybe the mint has actually been watching the numbers and is just ratcheting down on many of its offering for now. Thereagain, maybe its a way to boost sales and get more in to buy early what could be thought of as the next lowest mintage.

  4. says


    I think that it is a bit premature to declare the death of coin collecting. I don’t really want to declare my exact age, but I would probably fit as a younger collector.

    I think there can be no argument that that the huge increases in metals prices are having an effect. Last decade, gold was only a couple hundred dollars. Now a one ounce gold eagle costs almost $2000. To make things worse, we’re in the middle of a serious economic crisis. A look at the decline in sales of First Spouse coins shows correlation with the huge surge in gold prices.

    Furthermore, I have to say that in terms of getting newcomers into the hobby, I find that in general coin collecting is quite opaque. When you tell someone about coin collecting, most of them envision albums full of pennies and nickels. Most non-collectors have no idea about modern US Mint products at all, or even that coinage pre-1965 was ever made of silver.

    I started collecting when gold and silver prices began seriously rising, and I began actively looking for ways to buy the physical metal. I was really surprised when I discovered the US Mint actually produced gold and silver coins. When I showed my initial purchases to family, they were also surprised. I guarantee most of the population has little idea that these products even exist. Given that the hobby is both expensive and opaque, I am actually surprised there are so many people still collecting and buying!

    Were it not for blogs like Michael’s that makes information about modern coins easier to access, I might never really have gotten into collecting and just purchased some bullion.

  5. Saucexx says


    I think long term your theory is probably right on the mark. The younger generation is adapting to technology at a faster rate then the rest of America while also bearing the brunt of the economy. They just don’t have the disposable income and that fact is going to change their behaviors for a long time. I think they see coins as another relic of a by gone era along with newspapers, telephone land lines, PC’s, cable TV and even cars. Maybe dollar coins would help change that fact but who knows.

    As far as the short term I think there would be more of a slow decline instead of the dramatic drop off we’ve seen. I think it’s more likely the high price of PM’s along with the increase in the number of products the mint is offering is tapping people out. The sales numbers for the cheaper products are still high, while the low mintage are predominantly in the higher price offerings. For example what was the price of the Gold Buffalo in 2006? It sure wasn’t $2K. I just bought five 5oz AtB’s and it cost me $1,150.00. That’s a lot of money for for a 25 year old without a job let alone a family (it wasn’t without pain for me either). I don’t think this will change unless PM’s drop, people have more disposable income or inflation kicks in.

  6. Hidalgo says

    I am wondering if there will be a difference in mint marks between the 2013 proof Buffalo and the proposed 2013 proof buffalo. If so, then one of the 2013’s could be more rare than the other,

    There could be a 2013 W version and a 2013 S version. Who knows?

  7. HistoryStudent says

    Great comments so far above. The major highlights were hit, namely, the cost of the intrinsic gold and silver mixed with the economy.

    ONE big one was missed. That is in the first 100 years 1793 to 1893 the US Mint only minted about 100 different coins. Then the next hundred years 1894 to 1994 they did a re-do or about the same 100 coins. Now in only 36 years 1995 to 2031 they have on the FIRE and the ones done about a doubling of what they did in the first two hundred years.

    That’s GOTTA hurt. AS far as collecting I would venture to say that there are 100 million US citizens of all ages who are closet collectors. The rise in prices of the intrinsic metals will put a floor under them and start a 2013 to 2020 worldwide gold and silver rush as they do YET another doubling of the unbelievable MZM MONEY SUPPLY as they JUST did in the last 4 years. That’s make it a four banger!

    Do a search on the Saint Louis Fed site and see their charts.

  8. Ikaika says

    @ Dan

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding the new generation of collectors. I fully agree with you. I have been a collector for 30+ years and have teenager kids. I have tried getting them involved in coin collecting since they were small, however non ever showed interest. Its a total different generation now. My oldest told me that coin collecting is for old people! This is a real concern for the hobby. I hope we don’t end up like stamp collecting.

  9. Hidalgo says

    @Saucexx –

    You seriously need to consider investing your bucks in the stock market. The stock market and mutual funds have, on a historical basis, increased upward (I believe it has increased about 7% – 9% each year, on average). I remember in 80s and 90’s I was earning about 15% – 20% on my investments. That’s a far greater increase on a yearly basis than I experienced with my coin collection…. 🙂

  10. ClevelandRocks says

    My siblings and I would collect, looking for rarities and key dates. Now there are so many products, commems and special editions, it becomes overwhelming on many levels including financially. My kids don’t really care much for numismatics so I tend to agree, there is less of an audience.
    I too sense MOST coins purchased from The Mint are bought to flip. This is not good and reason for concern. Big dealers and The Mint should try to market to young folks. Maybe those awful TV shopping networks have a positive side of marketing our hobby.

  11. HistoryStudent says

    Benchmark: End of year closing price of gold since 2000

    2000 — $273.60

    2001 — $279.00

    2002 — $348.20

    2003 — $416.10

    2004 — $438.40

    2005 — $518.90

    2006 — $638.00

    2007 — $838.00

    2008 — $889.00

    2009 — $1096.50

    2010 — $1421.40

    2011 — $1566.80

    2012 — $1678.00

    Silver did even better. $4.15 to $31.00 same time period. And you “Ain’t SEEN nothing yet!”

  12. simon says

    My 2c is simply that this crisis is not as deep as the post 1933 changes in society, wealth, and numismatics. In that period of time we had the depression, a transition from one world war to another, freedom movements, and the gradual tightening of rules for financial institutions. Technology was also proliferating everyday and the radio, television, automobile, and airplane became commonplace. The Au eagles were phased out as were the Ag dollars. Even so there was always an intense flurry of interest in common coins generated by simple events such as mint errors (1955 cent), limited mintages (1934-S dollar), and even strike types (small – date 1960 cent). There will always be a base of coin collectors, and this base will fluctuate.

    The current transition is a worldwide swelling of the “middle class” together with a tilt toward Asia for the time being. Our politicians should have been aware of this and planned for it way in advance. If any of you’ll remember Clinton was stating in the mid-1990’s that China was rapidly becoming the worlds premier economy but keep an eye on India. If Africa federalizes (like the EU) it stands to also become a major world economy. So watch for Africa which currently has the worlds fastest growing economies, and Latin America which is rapidly heading to “developed nation” status. The products of the USMint now have world wide appeal – anyone want to wager a guess as to how many of the 2013 ASE bullion were exported? I would say a major fraction. Silver is just as good a choice for the lower middle class in India and China, and most certainly in Latin America. The economy will recover as it usually does and when people have discretionary income numismatics will also develop. One major issue is of course that US collectors are making international purchases at an increasing rate and paying unbelievable prices. Just remember the Perth mint dragon frenzy just a few months ago in these very pages. All those coins will inevitably settle to bullion values which is what they really are and there will be losses which could have been spent on more coins from our Mint. Another sink for funds is TPG activity which is rapidly approaching exorbitant in fees, and people are paying without blinking an eye just for a fantasy. These funds could also have been utilized for coin purchases form the Mint. So I think now is the time to make some very judicious decisions for us as collectors to purchase only coins and maximize our collections instead of falling for every fad which comes around a bit too frequently IMHO.

  13. Hidalgo says

    @History Student – try starting from 1980 and going forward. What goes up, can come crashing down…

  14. John says


    If there is a lack of collectors, how do you explain the 800,000+ sales of Proof Silver Eagles each year for the past few years? I think the higher prices for the Mint’s offerings has a lot to do with it (as well as competition from world mints).

    I have been buying the Silver Proof Sets since 1999 but now with the price at over $60 I often debate on whether I want to keep it up. Also, if I would have added a few gold & silver eagles back in 1999 instead of blowing my money on other things that I really didn’t need I would be loving life now.

    I did a calculation a while back, I took the price of a brand new Camaro in 2000 and divided it by the price of gold in 2000 to see how many oz’s of gold it would cost. Then I looked up the value of that same Camaro in the Kelly Blue Book in 2012 to see its “used” car value. Next I took amount of gold it would have cost in 2000 and multiplied the oz’s of gold at today’s prices. It made me realize how much money I wasted buying things that lose value instead of buying things that hold or gain value.

  15. says


    I don’t agree that all Perth products are worthless and will fall, but I do find myself in broad agreement with your idea that if we want to invest in silver and gold, US Mint coins are the better choice. I have had some luck in terms of getting certain Eastern European silver coins fairly cheap in comparison to spot price, but overall I agree those looking for longer term value may be better off buying at home. Many world coins are very speculative.

  16. says

    Everyone has made some excellent points.

    I for one agree that new lows have a lot to do with the high price of PM’s, and the economy in general.

    However, I think that small time collecting is alive and robust.

    Do a search on ebay for “morgan silver dollar” and you will see there are over 48,000 active listings…most for single morgans. Then click on “sold (not completed, but sold) listings and you will find over 154,000.

    This is just one example…look up wheat cent, buffalo nickel, etc and you will see the same thing….thousands upon thousands of transactions at very affordable prices…THESE low price auctions are prime examples of how much interest there currently exist in “COIN COLLECTING” vs all these new lows in high priced Mint products that are really more of “coin investing”.

  17. Jeff says

    Now let’s talk about 2012 proof gold buffalos. Should I buy now with some premium or risk price being higher in the future? I probably can get one for about $2600-2800. I am afraid it will easily go over $3000 in next few weeks. The 08 ones still selling for well over $4000.

  18. says


    You’re basically at risk trying to get a 2012 proof buffalo for the reasons Michael mentioned above:

    However, the recent low mintages have not carried the same impression as such figures did a decade ago. Many collectors seem to be bracing for even lower figures in coming years and are unwilling to pay premiums for this year’s low mintage coin, which might be undercut by next year’s low mintage coin.

    I, personally, would not do it, but you might always get lucky.

  19. simon says

    CO : I’m not critical of the Perth mint dragons – they have a great business plan to generate $ 100+ for a 1 Oz Ag coin. IMHO the proof ASE from our Mint is a much better value, and certainly a much more desirable and beautiful coin to behold. Besides, the best value worldwide in bullion is the 1-Oz ASE hands down, even at $5 over spot. One gets both a great design, and govt. guaranteed PM content, and I am sure that bullion dealers in the EU, China, and India purchase these in bulk as the best value worldwide. My comments are geared more to those who collect and hold to build value. Full disclosure : I do own a few international coins mainly from Israel, Ireland, France, and Germany, purchased mainly for appeal.

  20. Samuel says

    my observation is that the price of a “low” mintage coin basically is decided several minutes after the announcement of sell out. there is no “several weeks later…” kind of thing. if there is, must be a couple of yrs. it is like stock, sell on the news. if it can’t sell for a high price at that time, then, thats it. just my thought.

  21. HistoryStudent says

    In 1980 the M3 money supply was $1,835 BILLIONS and INTEREST rates were 22% to 25%.

    In 2000 the M3 money supply was $6,661 BILLIONS.

    In 2005 the M3 money supply was $9,516 BILLIONS then the HID it.

    In 2012 the est. M3 is around $22,000 to $28,000 BILLIONS. Interest rates are very negative some – minus 10% due to inflation.

  22. Kevin says

    I disagree with Simon on the Perth Mint lunars. Sure dragon hype screwed up the dragons, but the Series II 1oz. Mouse, Ox, Tiger & Rabbit coins all sell for $25-45 over spot. Compare the following available to you today: assuming you can buy an ASE for spot + $5 today, I can buy a 2005 Kookaburra restrike for spot +$8. Since the Perth Mint has just stated that they will not be restriking any more early year Kooks, I know my 2005 Kook is limited to 95,145 total mintage. Your ASE will likely see a mintage of 40,000,000+ (400x+ the mintage of the Kook). In 5 years, if spot stays the same, my kook will be worth spot + $30-50 (or more) assuming I go to the trouble to sell my Kook to a collector and your ASE will be worth spot + $5-10. If spot doubles, the premium difference will shrink, but if spot is cut in half, most of the Kook premium will remain. I buy PM bullion coins and pay the extra $2-4 in premium as I consider it is great downside insurance in the event that the spot price is lowered.

  23. Saucexx says


    I have considerably more in mutual funds than coins so I’m covered there.

    Coins for me are both a hobby and an investment. I also love electronics and computers but the long term value of those is about the same as beaver pelts. At least the coins are legal tender with some PM value. I may lose my a– but at least I’ll be able to buy a cup of coffee with them 😉

  24. ClevelandRocks says

    @ Jeff. I waited and paid a premium. Things have moved up from there.
    You don’t want a cherry-picked coin, so look for an NGC pf70 simple brown label and you may be lucky and pick one up on ebay for under $2600.
    That being said, if you already bought one from The Mint, I wouldn’t buy another.

  25. zwiggy says

    Dan. it is interesting that you bring up the state of the coin hobby. I have 3 points to add to yours that possibly have led to fewer collectors…

    1) The barrier to entry – into coin collecting (more than pulling from circulation)I think is the highest since the late 80s (when coin prices spiked). In 2003 with a wage of $9/hr, it wasn’t too tough for me to get a silver eagle for about 45 minutes of work. In 2013, for someone in the same position, that wage would be about the same, but they need to work about 4 hours to get the same eagle.
    2) The fun factor is down – almost everything is slabbed now. Slabs sell like a commodity. It means when I go to a coin show, I am not looking for a fun afternoon bargaining and trying to find a nice coin in some bin. All the nice coins are in slabs now – and have fixed prices that noone budges from. I always am confused as to whether or not I should have my collector or investor hat on – do I buy the prettier, nicely colored MS63 coin that will resell for less, or do I buy the uglier spotted MS64 coin that gives me bragging rights and better possible resale?
    3) On an average, coin dealers are not very friendly to youngsters (16-24). Seriously. They love kids since they are cute. They love adults since they have money. But most teens (including me when I was) are put off since 95% of the dealers just are not nice to them. I was once treated like all I wanted to do was to shoplift. However, most hobbies are developed in the teenage years – so this can kill that interest.

  26. John says

    I hope the Mint brings back the fractional Buffalos even if it’s just for one year.

    If they do a Rev. Proof & Reverse Proof Fractional I’m in for sure! I will have to sell something to pay for it but I have both the 2008 Proof & Unc. fractionals and I would love to add more. A high relief Buffalo would be cool too!

    Here’s another idea for the mint, they can do a 1/4 oz Proof & 1/4 oz Reverse proof (almost the same size as a nickel) in a two coin set. The price would be much more affordable for collectors now and in the future for those that might not have the funds in today’s economy.

  27. Jeff says


    No, I didn’t buy it from the Mint. I was waiting, probably due to the fact that the 2011 ones lasting too long. I saw the sale price for the 2012 ones are going up at the bay and there are not many offerings. Yes, I will definitely buy a 70, either from PCGS or NGC. Wondering if I wait longer the price will be higher. Under $3000 is still relatively cheap compared with the 08 ones if the mintage turned out to be comparable. I believe it will be under 20,000 in tomorrow’s report.

  28. Jeff says

    hi ho silver,

    Where I can get it just little over spot in OGP? I checked MCM, Apmex, and some others. They are all out of stock.

  29. EvilFlipper says

    Coin collecting is the oldest hobby in the world.Period.
    During every financial crises/turn of political events coins get scarce. Just look at historical key dates.
    Many people don’t want to overpay for modern clad stuff. Why pay 20$ for 4-6$ in change.
    Stocks and bonds can go to 0. Silver and gold never will(in our society as is- no meteor strike shtf scenarios withstanding).
    Rare coins have beat the Stock market since the stock market was started.

  30. Dan in Fla says

    Jeff save your money for the 2013 buffalo set, that is if they make one. Maybe you should go ahead and get one.Good luck on whatever you decide on. That two ounce set would probably break me but it would be worth it. They are beautiful.

  31. Boz says

    The stock market is a ponzi scheme. Not that you can’t make money, but you gotta get out before the bubble collapses and then hop back in for the bargain hunting afterward. So far no such problem with basic gold and silver bullion coins.

  32. HistoryStudent says

    If you buy modern gold and or silver coins really close to spot.

    Do NOT chase coins after they escape the 125% of spot price

    Select silver coins under 21,000 units and gold coins under 6,000 units
    (there are a lot of these) and follow the above rules you have a 80 trillion dollar US debt (16+ trillions public now and 64+ trillions in liabilities with govy pensions, SS, medicare, & Obama-care) to protect your investment.

    By the way that debt and liabilities will be MURDER on paper anything
    and ONE TRILLION seconds counting one by one will take you 32,500 years – test me on this start now – one, two, three, four…)

  33. Samuel says

    “modern gold and or silver coins really close to spot”.— i think only bullion can do it. in the end, it will be still spot.

  34. William says

    All the mint has to do to improve sales is to place the month and year on all the gold and silver coins produced. Or they could serialize them…you know, numbers like on the dollar bill. Now, that would be a killer idea.

    Maybe, sell the silver and gold coins at U.S. Post offices…

    Wait a minute Mr. Postman!

  35. CW says

    I have to echo the comments that a lot of coin show dealers are unfriendly to younger collectors/investors – I am 34. Before you ignore me and resume your conversation with the other guy at your table realize that I could have spent that $1000 in cash I had with you.

  36. ClevelandRocks says

    History Student: You sound like my teenage kids. Very sure of yourself without a lot of substance. Tell me one US Mint product less than $125% of spot?

    Oh, for your homework Student, please look up the value of the over 30k minted 1995-w silver eagle.

    You must be a FS fan to recommend the under 6k mintage for gold. Hope you didn’t invest your college fund in the under 5k mintage Jane Pierce.
    You may want to look up the values of the ’08 Buffalo and fractionals with 3X your recommended threshold.

  37. Hidalgo says

    History Student – if you’re a 20-something college student, you should be smart enough to know that the best way to accumulate wealth is to diversify your portfolio. In fact, many financial advisors will tell you to invest only about 10% of your savings in precious metals. PMs are way much too volatile to bank your savings on.

    Put most of your money in stocks and bonds. In the long-term, you’ll come out ahead. Listen to financial advisors and not speculators (many of whom are dealers) — they will give you good financial advice.

  38. Jeremy says

    @Hidalgo, as if the stock market isn’t speculative and currency monopolists are trustworthy! LOL

  39. Mark in Florida says

    Lots of good comments here today.

    I think that young people won’t have much interest in coin collecting, just like with stamps and other collectibles. That’s why I stick mostly with coins that have bullion value, without much numismatic premium. One coin price guide shows proof set and mint set values along with issue price and so many are worth less than they cost 20 or 30 years ago!

    Hidalgo, it’s true the stock market had a good average over the last decades but today our economy has never been in the mess it is today. Interest rates are artificially forced down to 0% because the government is borrowing 40% of each dollar it spends, and is printing trillions to artificially prop up the stock market. This cannot possibly end well. Meanwhile the hedge funds buy and sell stocks in thousandths of a second and short seller beat prices down by selling stocks they don’t own. Small investors have no chance in this corrupt market.

    Proof gold like these buffs seem like a good hedge against the likely inflation because if they government calls in the gold again like it did in 1933, proofs would have special numismatic importance and should be safe.

    Regarding graded coins, if gold goes to $5,000 or $10,000 like some predict, I don’t think a PF70 will be worth more than a PF69. Like when silver got close to $50, the scarce 1996 date wasn’t worth much more than a common date.

  40. Mark in Florida says

    Oh, and regarding bonds, with interest rates the lowest in history, bonds can only go down in value. When interest rates return to their historic norm of 3% to 6%, any bonds you buy today will be worth a small fraction of their cost.

    While no one can be sure about the future, history student’s analysis makes more sense than a lot I’ve heard and I’ve collected/invested since the 1950s.

  41. Shutter says

    Regarding graded coins, if gold goes to $5,000 or $10,000 like some predict, I don’t think a PF70 will be worth more than a PF69. Like when silver got close to $50, the scarce 1996 date wasn’t worth much more than a common date.

    A lot depends on total mintage and percentage of coins in high grade. A good example of what you’re talking about is the Constitution gold commemorative. It already sells for damn near melt even in MS/PF 70. OTOH, it may be a while longer before gold Robinson MS70 sells for anything near melt.

  42. EvilFlipper says

    Hidalgo- again look at the Nikkei the last 30 years. Stocks don’t always win. Bonds as well. Diversify yes, but hardly anyone holds 15% of their assets in silver and gold. When governments get desperate they don’t confiscate your stock/bond/asset backed security portfolio. As a matter of fact they’re more than happy to let that go to zero! Ask Lehman Bros! And the Germans aren’t repatriating their bonds! They want their gold back. It’s pretty easy to see where the real value lies. Paper is only good as the name stamped on it….. Unless you need to take a dump. Then any paper can work;)

  43. Leo S. says

    Regarding the future of coin collecting –

    1. Young people will get old and will enjoy coin collecting.
    2. Stamp collecting went down the drain because the Post Office went mad and started printing way to many commemortive stamps and then went to self adhesive. Even the increase in the coins minted by the Mint is small compared to that mistake.
    3. Gold and Silver have held at least some value for approx. 6000 years. Stocks have a long way to go to match that. Also, I agree that the market is rigged and that the small investor will never be able to beat J.P. Morgan or Goldman.
    4. If you steadily purchase from the Mint you have the advantage of possible collector value ( unless all the collectors die) and if that fails you have bullion value. With the world printing paper, in the form of dollars or credit or US bonds, etc, bullion should keep you safe.
    5. Good luck to all and stop worrying. Remember, the government, press, big business like to keep you scared so you keep purchasing things you don’t need. Keep about 20 – 25% in metal and the rest in CDs and hope the whole thing doesn’t go to hell

  44. Hidalgo says

    @History Student. Use your head. Take heed to the adage, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

    The market value of many gold and silver coins right now is based on their bullion value. Those who invested in silver and gold when gold was at $1800 per ounce and silver was $40 per ounce have seen a slight drop in some of their investments.

    Here is the annual performance of the S&P since 2008 (the first year of the stock market crash):

    2008: – 37.00%
    2009: 26.46%
    2010: 15.06%
    2011: 2.05%
    2012: 16.00%

    During the five year period, the net gain has been 22%. If you exclude 2008, then your net gain would have been 59.57% — certainly much better than the appreciation of most coins. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but with the US and world economies improving, stocks are best if you are long-term investor.

    Listen to what your financial advisor tells you. Not what a precious metal speculator tells you (many of whom will tell you what you want to hear for their own personal gain).

  45. Jeremy says

    @Hidalgo, Okay, I don’t know where you’re hearing this nonsense about economies improving but whoever is feeding you that information is seriously misinformed!

  46. says

    Since a few people have talked about stamps on this blog and a few have talked about inflation, I thought I would remind you guys that on January 27th the price of stamps will be increasing. Don’t forget to pick up some “forever” stamps if you need them.

  47. Jim says

    While I agree that the economy is not good for most of us, those in the top 5% that I know seen to be doing fine. Who else do you think buys $2000 coins? Many of them thought I was crazy when I first started buying gold 8 years ago, now I have helped a few of these individuals see why having 5%~10% of their money in gold is not a bad thing ( even though most have no where near 5%.I continue to buy quarter of an oz coins for myself when possible, they buy a few 1 ozers. As coins make up a small percent of their assets that don’t mind paying a few hundred more for a proof buffalo. They spend a few hundred bucks on dinner all the time. They usually start with bullion and then find a series they like. I always tell them I think it best to stay within 15-20% of bullion value but it is their money and they often move into higher priced coins with more of a premium.

  48. Boz says

    Not to worry…the deep thinkers are all getting together at a Swiss resort and Ms Merkel and friends will make sure we are all taken care of.

  49. Buzz Killington says

    I think a discussion on the future of coin collecting is overdue on this board. I am not sure what “killed” stamp collecting, but I think the biggest culprit is probably that stamps are no longer a part of people’s daily lives. The same reality is coming with coins, as our society is becoming increasingly cashless — even the parking meters in my small town take credit cards!

    I remember being excited by the State Quarters and gold dollars back in the early 2000s. By 2010, when it was impossible to find a ATB quarter in circulation, the idea of collecting something that I never even saw didn’t hold much appeal. I still like the idea of coin collecting, but if you’re doing it for anything but fun, you are on potentially dangerous ground. For example, buying a Proof 2012 Buffalo on the aftermarket, because the price is HIGHER than the Mint price that prevailed 2 weeks ago, is the opposite of buying low.

    Hidalgo is making a lot of sense talking about investing — he is usually a very sober and sensible voice here. But a sophisticated investor understands that whether stocks or PMs are involved, the only prices that matter are the prices you buy at, and the prices you sell at. (What happened to all of the baseball-card-price-guide millionaires?)

  50. says


    Overall, you’re making good points, but coin collecting is also tied in heavily these days with precious metals investing and fears about the stability of the various fiat currencies around the globe. As I mentioned above, I became interested in collecting due to a desire to acquire some physical gold and silver back in 2009. I have heard many arguments that gold and silver, having been currency for millennia, have intrinsic value that other collectible fads such as baseball cards and tulips do not.

    It is possible that rare coin collecting may fall somewhat out of style and that precious metals prices may eventually stabilize, but I do not ever expect gold and silver to return to their unnatural 2000-2001 lows in my lifetime again. Gold and silver are always going to be worth something. I find it very implausible that it will fall to “near zero” or “zero” like tulips or baseball cards.

  51. stephen m. says

    This blog is great! Stocks are doing better , as a whole, than coins. I agree with Hidalgo and i see EvilFlipper’s point also. My advice for the youger people here is to buy the metals, stocks and stay in for the long haul, you’ll be glad you did after the years go.The stock market is coming out of a slump. Remember what Kenny sang about because there is a lot of truth in it. “You got to know when to hold em, and you got to know when to fold em.”

  52. Buzz Killington says

    If you are a PM investor, I do think it makes sense to pay something of a numismatic premium, as a hedge against a downturn in PM prices, not to mention greater potential for appreciation due to numismatic value.

    Here is how it would be a hedge. I have no interest in buying a rare gold coin with the spouse of some 19th century president on it for $1000. But if gold was more affordable, and the prices of FS gold started to drop, I bet there would be an influx of collectors to prop of the prices based on rarity alone.

    The thing that bums me out about gold is the environmental disasters it wreaks. Disadvantaged people are poisoning the jungles with mercury chasing after gold. Considering that gold does not have a lot of utility, that is not a very encouraging trend. Plus, gold mining now involves using extreme amounts of energy to process ore into gold — and higher gold prices encourage processing gold-poor materials, wasting more energy.

    If we ever find a cheap and plentiful energy source, that will have an adverse effect on the price of gold.

    I don’t have too many answers about any of this, but the future is fun to think about!

  53. Dan in Fla says

    I was looking at the mintages of the 2008 Buffaloes, 18863 in the 1 oz size is all they made. I get that but there were about 50000 gold buffaloes in 08. Why are they so much more than the 2012? 2012 is currently selling for on ebay as stated earlier.Anybody watching the platinum eagles? They will probably go up tomorrow .

  54. Fosnock says

    @Hidalgo – This is coin collecting blog not an investment blog, but let me just make a few points, in this environment diversifying your portfolio just diversifies your losses. The next time you mention the S&P’s performance from 2008 please remind everyone that at least 25 companies were removed and replaced by better preforming companies. Companies removed were winners like Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae.FYI Sears has just been dropped. just imagine the value of your coin collection if you dropped all the dogs and replaced them with winners. anyway back to coins

    Just went to a coin and stamp show it was dead. Maybe 2 vendors selling stamps, empty slots, and no crowds. The only thing selling was junk silver, their were quite a people looking to unload their collections (no takers with the few I saw actually talking) and their was also lot of gold\silver buyers

  55. simon says

    Every investment of the nature of stocks, bonds, futures, and PMs have a boom and bust cycle. No one can accurately predict what the future holds even 3 mos from today. It takes a lot of experience of the ups and downs to accurately judge value and to collect (accumulate wealth) based on that judgment. There are folks who have lost huge amounts of money on idle speculation, and that is the big downside of having liquid funds, and wanting to “invest” to make more. If you want a steady source of income the best investment is an education where you develop skills which enable you to market and develop a business, acquire work, build more skills, and save. This is the investment cycle which never fails. My credit union savings account pays a steady 1% – not great but it is there on a regular basis and a great comfort. If you are a novice and looking to invest I would proceed very-very cautiously. Treat money lost on lousy investment as a sin.

  56. Jeremy says

    @Jim, just who is buying $2000 coins? Well, hmm . . .let’s see, how about those that are receiving next to nothing on their savings due to ZIRP. There are also those with IRA, 401k, 403b’s that are fearful of the government forcing them to purchase treasuries. Therefore, many have withdrawn their retirement savings from these scams, with significant penalties, to purchase metals and/or other hard assets. Then you have others that have investments, particularly in the stock market, that have done absolutely nothing in over 10 years and are fed up with all the HFT nonsense. The DOW has gone up and is at 5 year highs or whatever it is now? How wonderful for those that have watched their investments get crushed a few years ago, oh they’re back right where they started, if they’re lucky.

  57. Jeremy says

    If you jump into this stock market with so many stocks at 52 week highs, particularly due to governments devaluing their currencies through these outrageous scams of printing money at the expense of the average citizen, you just might need your head examined!

    Gotta love currency monopolists! Let’s legislate laws that force everyone to use “our” form of currency and then we can completely control it, oh wonderful idea!

  58. Fosnock says

    @simon – That is assuming you get educated and not spend 25K on ‘Fine Arts” or “Music Appreciation.” As far as developing a business, in this economic climate competition is fierce, which is not to say it can not be done but your going against people who are not only educated but have experience doing the job and they are already working for cut throat rates. If businesses are the ‘the investment cycle which never fails” why do 90% of them fail within 5 years with 50% doing so in the first year?

    I also agree that “Return of Capital Is More Important than Return on Capital” specially in this economic environment

  59. Jon in CT says

    Buzz Killington wrote on January 22, 2013 at 10:48 am:

    The thing that bums me out about gold is the environmental disasters it wreaks. Disadvantaged people are poisoning the jungles with mercury chasing after gold. Considering that gold does not have a lot of utility, that is not a very encouraging trend.

    Luckily for collectors of US AGE, FS and Buffalo gold coins, US law requires that new gold coins be minted from gold mined in the US within the previous 12 months. So that means two things: 1) gold coins sold by the US Mint do not deplete the US Treasury’s gold reserves, and 2) gold coins sold by the US Mint are not tainted by blood or ecological disaster due to gold mining activity in 3rd world countries.

    Bottom line: You can buy US Mint gold coins without feeling guilty that your hobby is ruining the world.

  60. EvilFlipper says

    First stock/bond made- Dutch east India company VOC- current worth 0$
    First Lydian greek electrum coins- 1-2,000$…to start (gold/silver bullion worth ~300$)

  61. JBK says

    There is some great insight in many of the above comments.

    Personally, I think that looking back at the past is a great way to predict the future, and we are already seeing a repeat of some events from our numismatic past.

    1) During serious economic times collectors and speculators have less money to spend. During the Great Depression, for example, many mintages were down, as not as many coins were needed for commerce, and had they had the level of collector coins we have now, those mintages would no doubt have been down as well.

    2) The high cost of precious metals has curtailed many people from buying gold and even silver collector coins, especially when combined with the weak economy.

    3) Too many coin issues dilute the marketplace and subsequently the prices/values. One of the main reasons the commemorative coin programs of the early 20th century fizzled out was too many issues, which killed off interest. I see the same thing happening now. For example, when the modern commemorative coin era started in 1982, I tried to maintain a complete set, but that stopped pretty quickly after the explosion in issues, options and gold coins, all of which made it prohibitively expensive. If they had stuck with just silver ½ dollars I would have a complete set, but instead I rarely ever buy commems from the mint. I am trying for now to keep as complete a set as possible of the Silver Eagles, but even that may become too prohibitive at some point.

    In future years there will be some “sleepers” among today’s lower mintages, but for many of the coins, they may never see the kinds of premiums that some would expect from a lower mintage. Value is based on supply AND demand, so if the demand isn’t there, a lower supply won’t matter much.

  62. Ikaika says

    @ JBK

    Your points are well taken. Too many people these chasing the low mintage coins just for the numbers and not thinking about future demand. It is amazing the premium some are willing to pay after coins sell out when they had several months or over a year to purchase from the mint at lower cost. The 2012 Proof Buffalo is one good example. As I mentioned before: what sells for a premium today might become bullion tomorrow.

  63. Frankie says

    Very good points, JBK.
    My two cents’ worth is that chasing low mintage coins is very risky, esp. if the coin is issued annually. Next year’s issue can have an even lower mintage which, very likely, would lower the value of this year’s coin as the market will move toward the “new low”.
    My philosophy is to buy coins (silver only, just a few examples given):
    1. with a truly limited mintage (roughly anything less than 1M which would include the 1oz Kookaburras, Canadian wildlife series, 5oz ATB bullion but excludes the 2013 Panda – 8M! or ASE, Maple Leaf etc. as they have an almost unlimited mintage)
    2. that already have an established collectors’ base (again, 1oz Kookaburra, Koala, Perth Mint Lunar Year 1oz bullion, 5oz ATB bullion & P, but probably not 2013 Britannias, private mint commissioned bullion such as the 1.5oz Canadian Polar Bear, and maybe even the Somalian Elephant series)
    3. that can be bought as close as possible for spot (same examples really).
    If you ask yourself these questions every time you make a purchase you should be fine, providing spot doesn’t crash, of course!
    Hence, I simply do not understand why anyone would invest in ASE. What is there to gain other than an increase in spot? Investing in pre-2013 Britannias, Kookaburras, Perth Mint 1oz Lunar bullion would have yielded a lot more by now for sure, even considering the slightly higher premium you have to pay compared to ASE or Maple Leafs… I simply don’t understand that.

  64. says

    Hence, I simply do not understand why anyone would invest in ASE. What is there to gain other than an increase in spot?

    Increase in spot is exactly why people buy it. When you buy large quantities of ASEs, you’re basically speculating on the spot price of silver (or else as a US dollar/inflation hedge). Some people prefer to invest this way than through ETFs or other financial market instruments.

    ASEs are also a well-loved series and could theoretically have long term value further down the road (as in decades) the way Morgan silver dollars do.

  65. HistoryStudent says

    Thanks for the comments above. I know now for sure that the BULL market(s) has not and will not PEAK until 2017 ish.

    This time it really will be different.

    Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing–and recovering–their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, “this time is different”–claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters.

    With this breakthrough study, leading economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff definitively prove them wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes–from medieval currency debasements to today’s subprime catastrophe.

    Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, leading economists whose work has been influential in the policy debate concerning the current financial crisis, provocatively argue that financial combustions are universal rites of passage for emerging and established market nations. The authors draw important lessons from history to show us how much–or how little–we have learned.

    Using clear, sharp analysis and comprehensive data, Reinhart and Rogoff document that financial fallouts occur in clusters and strike with surprisingly consistent frequency, duration, and ferocity. They examine the patterns of currency crashes, high and hyperinflation, and government defaults on international and domestic debts–as well as the cycles in housing and equity prices, capital flows, unemployment, and government revenues around these crises. While countries do weather their financial storms, Reinhart and Rogoff prove that short memories make it all too easy for crises to recur.

    An important book that will affect policy discussions for a long time to come, This Time Is Different exposes centuries of financial missteps.

  66. Frankie says

    But why not invest in the 5oz ATB rather in ASE? The benefits are there:
    – significantly lower & truly limited mintage
    – 5 different designs every year (until the series ends)
    – similar if not lower price per oz of silver (I bought a couple 2012 ATB’s at $35.80/oz delivered today)
    – educational, historic, melancholic… value (pick one or two!) 🙂
    Hence I only buy 5oz ATB but would never invest in ASE.
    But, of course, everyone can do what they want with their money. I’d rather have something to look at than a sealed monster box…

  67. Jeremy says

    @HistoryStudent, it comes down to this, if you’re holding the wrong asset at the wrong time you’re DONE!!!

  68. Kraw says

    @Frankie, I completely agree, 5 oz ATB is the way to go for physical silver. In addition to them being cheaper than ASE, they are cool to look at for the most part!

  69. stephen m. says

    Keep in mind that if you are coin collecting, buying precious metals or putting $ in the US stock market that inflation and higher interest rates are coming. When that happens it usually means assets go up in value. No one knows the future so we are all speculators. Throughout history the price of everything has gone up not down. Have fun with collecting-investing and buy what you like and enjoy.

  70. Fosnock says

    @Kraw and @ Frankie – I have no argument, but first the ASE has a collector base and is well known coin. Second its the same reason why silver dimes sell for more than silver quarters…they are smaller this they are better for barter.

  71. Billrod says

    I just read all of the 70 comments so far on this topic. It was enjoyable and educational. Lots of good comments based on real life experiences.
    I just went over the PCGS list of the top 100 Modern Issues http://www.pcgs.com/News/PCGS-Picks-Top-100-Modern-Coins.
    There are one-of-a-kinds, double dies, error coins and other coins outside what the average collector may be able to obtain or be interested in. There are about 20 coins on the list that have less than 100 pieces known. That leaves about 80 available. This includes everything from clad Ike Dollars to Platinum Eagles. By collecting issues that I found interesting over the years and which were affordable to me at the time of issueI I ended up with 25 on the list. I usually bought the $5.00 gold unc commems (because of the low mintages) and all the ASEs except the ’95 W proof which was included in the complete set. I was lucky to get 10 08/07 reverse ASE’s. I also bought the three coin gold and silver 20th Anniversary sets and the $20 UHR among others. I started to collect 5 oz P mint ATBs but quit after one year. Each year I bought a 1/2 oz AGE. None of those are on the list but they are a beautiful collection. My point is; collect want you like and can afford. Don’t try to collect everything. I have stopped collecting clad proof sets and only buy one Silver Proof Set and one Mint Set each year. I have not flipped any coins. Slow and steady will produce good results and lots of enjoyment over the long term.

  72. hi ho silver says

    I tried to geat rid if a 2006 mint set awhile back and was offered 13 cents under its face value.LOL he turned red when I called him on his mistake.

  73. Pool Shark says


    My thoughts precisely.

    I had been investing in gold and silver bullion for years, and previously bought nothing but AGE’s and ASE’s, until I had to liquidate (near the top in 10/11) – sheer luck.

    I am now accumulating gold and silver bullion again, and only recently discovered the 5-ounce Atb’s. I had known about the numismatic versions since the original debaucle in 2010; but only discovered the bullion versions a few months ago.
    Now all my silver bullion is Atb’s: they cost a bit less per ounce than ASE’s, and have the added potential of numismatic value based on the very low mintages (~20k to 126k versus 33 million for the ASE’s).

    As far as future collecting; with 56 Atb’s planned in the series, that’s only 280 ounces of silver. At spot plus premiums based on today’s prices, that’s only about $9,800.00 to acquire an ENTIRE set of the bullion Atb’s (barely over half the cost of a monster box of of ASE’s)!

    To me it’s a no-brainer: even if future collectors never go after the Atb series and the premiums remain flat; I’ve still managed to purchase bullion cheaper than if I’d bought ASE’s.

  74. Brian says

    hi ho silver – the price on that Buffalo proof makes no sense. That is below the cost from the mint and it is slabbed with a perfect grade.

  75. EvilFlipper says

    Zwiggy, as a collectible that’s true hahaha! But as an invested asset no dice. What’s also sad is that hardly anyone with a scottrade/ etrade realizes that their accounts actually never own a physical stock certificate. So if your broker crashes and burns so does your money! Try to ask your broker for a physical certificate and see what happens! It’s like pulling a tooth from a hippo….. Who hasn’t eaten in months. Believe me I’ve tried. Lots and lots of extra fees involved!

  76. hi ho silver says

    I got an ungraded 2011 buffalo I’m gonna take to Whitman Baltimore show in March jim. Hopefully I can score a 2012 1/2 AGE @ a good price.

  77. Jeremy says

    @EvilFlipper, they’ve made the expense of receiving an actual stock certificate exorbitant as to ensure its cost prohibitive and deters such requests.

  78. Jeff says

    So the 2012 proof gold buffalos mintage is only 5% above the 2008 ones. What it will sell for in the open market, near term and long term? I probably need to grab one soon, but not many available. Only 2 or 3 listed on ebay.

  79. Jim says

    Looks like it is decision time for buffalo buyers. Luckily I got a 2012 from the mint for $1960 or so. I don’t own a 2008 because it would be very difficult for me to buy an ounce of gold at $3500 when spot is $1700 . Obviously there are plenty of people who do it but with under 1000 coin difference, the 2012 seems to be the “value” buy in my humble opinion if you can find it within a few hundred of issue price.

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