2013 Reverse Proof American Gold Buffalo Coin

Today, August 8, 2013 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales for the 2013 Reverse Proof American Gold Buffalo. This coin is being issued to mark the 100th anniversary of James Earle Fraser’s classic design.

2013 Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo

The obverse of the coin features a profile portrait of a Native American based on a composite of three real life models. The reverse depicts an American Bison or “buffalo” which is believed to have been modeled after Black Diamond of the Central Park Zoo. This design was used for the Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel issued for circulation from 1913 to 1938. With the series representing a favorite amongst collectors, the design was reused for the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar. In 2006, the design was also chosen for the ongoing 24 karat American Gold Buffalo bullion and collector coin series.

Earlier this year, the US Mint issued the standard one ounce bullion version of the 2013 Gold Buffalo. This was followed on May 23, 2013 by the traditional one ounce proof coin, which features a frosted design against mirrored background fields. The one ounce reverse proof version offered today features the opposite of the traditional proof finish, with mirrored design elements against frosted background fields.

The 2013 Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo is being offered during a four week ordering window from August 8, 2013 until September 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET. There is no mintage limit and no household ordering limit established, rather production will be based on customer demand during the specified ordering window. The US Mint has used an ordering window rather than specific mintage limit for other recent special products.

The initial price for the offering is $1,640 based on a weekly average gold price in the $1,250 to $1,299.99 range. The price may vary weekly during the period of availability based on fluctuations in the market price of gold.

For past offerings which utilized an ordering window, the US Mint has posted a sales odometer on the product page, which has been updated each weekday with an estimated sales total. I have not seen any confirmation on whether the US Mint will use a similar sales counter for the current offering, but it seems likely. If not, weekly updates would be available through the regular reporting.

History and Considerations

Anticipation for this offering has been building for some time. Collectors were first made aware of the possibility of an American Buffalo Coin with a reverse proof finish from a survey distributed in late 2012. The offering was officially confirmed in May 2013, with an actual example of the coin displayed at the ANA National Money Show. The final details were announced in mid-July.

This will represent only the second reverse proof gold coin offered by the US Mint, after the reverse proof American Gold Eagle released in 2006 as part of a limited mintage 20th anniversary set.

This will also be only the second year that the Mint has offered additional numismatic versions of the American Gold Buffalo beyond the typical one ounce proof coin. In 2008, offerings were vastly expanded with the addition of fractional weight proof coins as well as one ounce and fractional collectible uncirculated coins. The expanded offerings were canceled after only the single year of issue.

Reverse Proof Close Up

Reverse Proof Close Up

The 2013 Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo should enjoy a strong pace of orders due to its status as a special issue of a popular series. I expect that demand would easily surpass that of the regular 2013 Proof Gold Buffalo, which has reached sales of 12,297 as of the latest sales report.

As mentioned in the past, it seems possible that the offering of the special reverse proof coin may cannibalize some demand from the regular proof version of the coin. Some collectors who can only budget for one of the coins may opt for the special issue rather than the standard. The choice may be swayed even more by the fact that both coins carry identical pricing. If sales for the regular 2013 Proof Gold Buffalo are weakened by a significant amount, this may set up for the possibility of a sleeper hit down the road.

This is not to say that there is not also future potential for the 2013 Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo. Both supply and demand play a role in the secondary market prices for coins. Despite the  likely greater mintage of reverse proof coins, the issue should command elevated market demand as a special issue, particularly if the reverse proof finish is not repeated in future years of the series.

Looking towards the weeks ahead, it seems likely that the use of the four week ordering window will put sales on the same sort of roller coaster ride seen for other offerings. There will most likely be a flurry of orders during the initial hours of availability, with the hopes that the orders placed the earliest will ship the earliest. This would be followed by a retrenchment in the pace of orders to slower but stable demand for much of the ordering window until a spike in demand during the final few days of availability. It is possible that the Gold Buffalo may also see some spikes in ordering related to pricing, which may be adjusted as frequently as weekly in response to changes in the average market price of gold.

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  1. GMS says

    I didn’t mean to reignite the discussion on the order in which coins are shipped in relationship the their die. The label is a marketing strategy that obviously works at least for now. As for the distant future value of coins with special labels, anyone’s guess or prediction is just as good as another.

    Obviously the labels are popular, just look at all the different ones the TPG’s are using besides FS. Companies spend billions every years on packaging for their products and have forever, once you open the box it’s still the same old cereal or chips so is it any surprise that the mint and TPG’s practice the same marketing.


  2. GMS says

    One more thing, I don’t think it helps one make their point by calling people who don’t agree with you names. Fortunately there are just a handful on here that do it, but they do it consistently whenever others have a different opinion.

  3. stephen m says

    GMS, the label is, no doubt, a selling gimmick. It reminds me of the grocery store where brand name items get the premium shelf space because they cost more but doesn’t make them any better. The store makes more dollars.

  4. Jus-a-coin-luvr says

    This has been a good, healthy discussion of “the labels” and “First Strike” IMO and what better place to have it than among fellow collectors. Maybe one day there really will be a First Strike and I’d still like to learn at what point the “strike” would be noticeably different from coin 1 to coin “xxxxx”.

  5. GMS says

    Actually IMHO labels fall into different categories, and by that I mean some like First Strike imply that the coin was produced at a specific time in the production cycle, which I think we all agree isn’t currently possible. In addition technically speaking, every time the dies are changed then a new series of First Strikes would be created assuming that First Strike is associated with dies. However as PCGS is using the term it seems to be more related to the date it was shipped.

    Other labels are used to further describe the coin encapsulated, such as Satin Finish, State Quarters, Flags, Blue Star, Presidential etc. I also might add that many of these labels are only available to dealers who are in the PCGS network of dealers and not people like myself who submit through one of the group plans.

  6. Ray says

    @thePhelps, to each their own. For me, collectable coins are an investment. Comparing sales on eBay quickly shows you the difference in premium between ungraded, graded, and graded w special labels. Its a new generation, and this generation is all about LE, and owning the rare variant labels. First strike and early release 70s will always carry the largest premiums for the most sought after coins. That’s where I stand and nothings going to change that. To each their own. Don’t grade your coins. That’s your decision. Ill just be raking in much more than you when I cash out, whenever that may be

  7. thePhelps says

    @Ray – you are mixing up grading and labels… I will buy graded coins. Show me a post where I said anything about not having owning or buying graded coins. I also buy limited editions.I don’t buy labels – I buy coins.

    Your belief that the ER/FS labels will hold value is yours. I don’t think they will, and are an unhealthy fad for the coin collector. Spend your money how you see fit, but don’t try and stop me from telling people over and over they are buying marketing with the label – because the coin is no more valuable than any other equally graded coin. The coin is what a collector should be focused on not a label.

    Just so we are clear – FS/ER are not a grade – they are a label.

  8. stephen m says

    the Phelps, How about, for example, the 20th anniversary ASE ms blue label and black label versus a plain slabbed ms70 2006w regular label. I know the blue and black ms70 2006w label slabs sell for more money. In your opinion is buying those labels worthwhile? I think the blue label is a pedigree from the 2 coin silver and gold anni. set and the black label pedigreed from the 3 piece anni set. All three are the same coins. Should all three, ea., slabbed 2006w ms70’s be worth the same? Just asking and not judging.

  9. Don says

    There is truly only one “First Strike” coin when a new coin or new date in a coin series is minted. I’m sure that coin goes directly to the Mint archives collection. End of discussion.

  10. thePhelps says

    stephen – I am not an expert. From your description it isn’t so much a label as a pedigree or source for the coins that is bringing a higher value.

    Don – you are exactly correct and that is the reason for the statement that the labels are misleading and a marketing ploy – that I think is not good for the coin collector. TPG is implying the collector is some type of first of it’s kind fresh from the mint presses coin by using the First Strike reference. Hence the feeding frenzy started with these labels, and now we have “collectors” who are fixated on the label – that means nothing but sure is pretty and cost a premium. In my opinion the baseball card collectors found that the could kill a hobby in similar fashion.

  11. thePhelps says

    Should say:

    TPG is implying the collector is getting some type of first of it’s kind fresh from the mint presses coin by using the First Strike reference.

    As well as:

    In my opinion the baseball card collectors found that they could kill a hobby in similar fashion.

  12. JagNut says

    Different labels is no different then repacking an item and pit a limited to 50k banner on it. Just a marketing ploy from both sides that is bringing in additional revenue. In 25 years which ever still looks best will be the winner.

  13. stephen m says

    the Phelps, i would have to agree that it’s a pedigree. The confusing part for me is all three are the same coin and a pedigree could be considered a label. The next 3 or 4 decades will tell the story.

  14. thePhelps says

    JagNut – you hit the nail on the head. I think TPG are doing a disservice to the industry/hobby buy trying to generate a profit. They are affecting their own integrity by creating a niche market for labels. I am sure they will tell you they are catering to the needs of the industry, but I don’t think they are viewing the health of the industry/hobby long term – as much as they do bottom line. (read greed driven)

  15. thePhelps says

    stephen – I agree – it is often hard to determine what drives a collector to pay more for a particular coin. But that example is a valid example of a coin set that has disparities in production and packaging – granted they are probably from the same batch of coins… even that will probably level itself out over time. That said we are talking about the coins – not a label. That said – some sets are anomalies… the FS trend is getting to be self sustaining because many are not doing enough to expose it and push back on it as a valueless marketing ploy.

  16. Don says

    These TPG companies probably once provided a needed service in grading and authenticating older coins. The greed took over when they moved on to modern Mint issues, no doubt dictated by the big boy dealers, including the TV coin show hucksters. The TPG’s gladly obliged the big boys and, I’m sure, the overwhelming bulk of their business now is the unnecessary grading and custom labeling of modern issue coins.

  17. Jus-a-coin-luvr says

    Integrity is a hard thing to see/find these days and is often diluted by “it’s marketing”, “I’m only doing what everyone else does” or “what people don’t know won’t hurt them”. The thing that remains as a baseline is that if something is dishonest at its root, it remains that way no matter how much perfume, outer changes, or spin that is put on it.

  18. stephen m says

    the Phelps, Myself being a Proof and anni & special sets ASE freak i have the OGP and blue and black label pedigree’s from the 2006 anniversary set in 70 grade. These labels cost more and i’m begining to realize that i may have paid extra for the label as all the ms 2006w ASE’s are the same coin. Other comments on this would be welcome from anyone. I look at it now as “paying for the education.”

  19. Don says

    In short, TPG companies will eventually become victims of their own success. Now, the only victims are the customers and third party buyers of the ever increasing array of creative and colorful labels that are being perpetuated by these companies. It’s a label game, a sometimes bogus one at that.

  20. Mercury says

    As I see it, the conclusion of the matter is that those who are so adamantly against the TPG’s and their labels…FS, Retro…etc are like the customers that goes to a pet store and tries to convince the owner that the puppy he’s selling that has papers should be sold for the same price as the puppy without papers because they all came from the same litter…and since they are all the same, then the puppy with papers should be no more valuable then the one without. Come on you guys times are changing, wake up, it’s a new world. The proof is in the pudding. So regardless of what you may want to believe, Special Labels are here to stay. So if you are a sellers or a buyer and want to get a bigger bang for your buck, then you’ll have to come out of the dark ages and buy TPGS Special Label, that’s just the way it is. And it’s not fair that those who do not agree with this try to push their viewpoint down other people’s throats. You’re the one that has to live with the fact that your collection is not worth as much because you don’t buy Special Labels we shouldn’t have to feel your pain.

  21. thePhelps says

    Mercury – your example isn’t even worth addressing. Your coins are no more special than my coins – but you are willing to pay more for a “special label”. Congratulations and enjoy your label collection. I will continue to talk down the FS label as worthless marketing trash – because it is exactly that. If you want to buy them carry on, I won’t stop you from wasting your money. Celebrate your label collection and I’ll enjoy what the hobby is meant to be – coin collecting.

  22. Dan in Fla says

    I think the TPGs are going to go the same way the sports memorabilia graders went. Down the toilet.

  23. Don says


    If special labels on modern issue coins turn you on, then keep on buying them. But don’t expect to get any more for the coin in that special label when you try selling it to a dealer anytime in the future.

    Let’s face it, some of us like basic, unadulterated original government packaging and some, like you, just need to get the labels. It’s not my place to convince you what to do, and vice versa.

  24. hawkster says

    It probably won’t be too long before TPG companies come out with “‘label cards”. These would be available for specialty collectors who are not necessarily interested in the coins, but in amassing a label collection. This would take away the necessity of buying the coin to get the label.

  25. Mercury says

    What I don’t understand is what is up with thePhelps guy? Who is he???…the coin collector new awaking guru??? He should get a life and stop trying to control other peoples by voicing his dictatorial one-sided opinions.

  26. stephen m says

    Mercury, The way i see it if you want a label or don’t want a label you have a right to decide and get the ones you want. No body is demanding to us what coins or labels we can buy. I live in America. And again everyone has their right to an opinion. We all buy what we like and think we may be making the right choice at that time.

  27. Mercury says

    stephen m, The way I now see it is that this whole spiel about how worthless labels are has nothing to do with protecting other coin collector as much as it has to do with those cat-callers protecting their own skin. It’s most likely that majority of those so dead set on calling to arms against FS Labels stands a chance of losing out on their profits if Labels catch on. It’s really not about coin collecting at all; it’s all about them. The 1% against the 99%

  28. thePhelps says

    Mercury – I am a coin collector. I have been collecting coins off and on for over 30 years. I don’t pertain to be a guru, but I am also not a label collector. The FS label is just that a label. I am not stopping you from buying what you want, collect what you like and be happy with it.

    The idea is that you are buying into the is FS as a special coin offering by the mint or TPG. There is at the end of the day nothing special about them. I’ve said it before many times – fire up you printer and put a label on your coins. If you buy a MS70 coin, adding a FS label doesn’t enhance the coin in the holder – it isn’t an added grade – there is nothing about the coin that is any better because of that label. If you are getting your FS at the same price as the other coins – I say keep buying them. This entire conversation started with a poster saying he would not cancel his gold purchase even if the price drops $100 – because he wants the all important FS label. I question that logic – it makes no sense.

  29. thePhelps says

    In fact Dan…I imagine a lot of them became coin graders and marketers – since they effectively killed that hobby and have to find something to do these days. 🙂

  30. Mercury says

    thePhelps — Well then I guess that makes us even for I too am a coin collector. I have been collecting coins off and on for over 50 years. And no I do not collect labels; it just so happens that some of the coins I collect are in Labels. I like you do not pretend to be a guru, and neither do I stop other collectors from buying what they want. But unlike you, I do not criticize what other coin collectors collect. What makes them happy makes me happy. You of all people should know that collecting involves more then just the physical act of collecting, but includes every fiber of a collector’s own heart and soul. So you outside of that person’s mind and body have no right to question why he does what he does with his money. There is no law of coin collecting, and if they’re ever becomes one then I will never collect another coin again. Leave people alone and let them be content collecting what they want to collect in the way they want to collect it. The only wrong way to collect coins is when we make a person feel that they have to do it our way in order to be successful. It’s you that’s polluting the spirit of coin collecting not the TPG. They are just putting a product out there for the collectors individually to decide yaye or naye on whether they will buy it. It should be none of our business what a collector decided to do from that point on. We are not the keepers of the coin castle, nor should our opinions be that important. So if we as coin collectors haven’t got something to say that will further the spirit of honest and open hearted coin collecting then we shouldn’t say anything at all. Whether I buy a coin in a slab or in it’s OGP, there in still a coin that I’ve added to my possession. And at that moment that coin belongs only to me…and that what coin collecting should be all about.

  31. hawkster says


    I do understand the parallel that you draw in comparing the demise of baseball card collecting to the TPG companies doing the same thing to the coin collecting hobby.
    There was an overproduction of baseball cards in the late ’80’s an ’90’s, and then the reliance on “gimmick” cards that let card companies charge ridiculous prices for a pack containing 3 or 4 cards. We saw platinum cards, autographed cards, cards containing slivers of bats, game-used cards, etc., etc. We saw a card huckster on TV that declared every card a rare item, and what a great deal he had for you. Cards collectors finally threw up their hands and declared enough of this sea of garbage.
    Now in the coin collecting realm, we have TPG slabs with autographs of the coin designers. We have slabs picturing the San Francisco trolley and Golden Gate Bridge. We have slabs designating coins as “shipwreck effect”, and on and on. And don’t forget the TV coin hucksters pitching the great deals.
    To your point, let’s get back to basics with this hobby put an end to the gimmicks that the TPG try to foist on us. They are not in it for the collector, only for themselves.

  32. thePhelps says

    Mercury – you don’t get it. I want coin collecting to continue – the rare odd coin found in the sock drawer of your grandpas. The one your grandma put away some day for you to get rich on. The coin you found while using a metal locator in the woods. The thing is – those are all coins…. hard to find – never found one of a kind coins. They have nothing to do with the label that is placed on them – other than authentic – one of a kind rare….

    This trend being foisted on us today is to label a coin “First Strike” as a valuable rarity. You have to have these – these are rare – shipped and graded in the 1st 30 days after manufacture coins. I am only saying “so what”? Why is that so special, what significance does that have to the grade of the coin? Is there a preponderance of evidence to say these are the best highest graded coins of any given series? (well that one can be subjective – since many who buy coins don’t get them graded). The fact is many are flocking to that label like moths to a light… and it has no bearing on anything about a coin – nothing – nada – zilch. It means absolutely nothing. It is a marketing label – meant to hook buyers.

    That isn’t a healthy trend for coin collecting (IMO). To convince a person his coin is more valuable based on the label – is debasing the coin collecting industry and hobby. The label is NOW the value…really?

    Again – collect what you like – I am not telling you to not buy anything – but I am not going to sit idly by and say nothing about how I feel about the new – buy the label trend either.

    hawkster – that is exactly it.

  33. Mercury says

    I don’t know how you guys can so clearly see the gimmicks perpetrated by the TPG companies but ignore those same tactic being perpetrated buy your own US Mint and other World Mint companies. Where do you come up with expressions like “Just Buy The Coin”? If a coin being sold by the Mints today isn’t being packaged in some type of velvet box and a bow then it isn’t being sold. And that just for starters cause you can bet that if a coin being sold by the Mint companies isn’t in a box, then you can be sure that it’s because its packaged in some type of eye catching wrapper instead which has noting to do with coin collecting but everything to do with getting the coin collector to willingly spend way more for that coin then it’s worth because of how nice it’s package. I don’t hear you guys ragging on this perverted tactic. So when you say I buy the coins and keep it in the OGP, you by your own admission are simply replacing the Packaging used by the Mint companies as a replacement for Labels offered by the TPG companies. So if your not willing to give up your OGP which you seem to so highly value and feel so strongly that others should also value, then you really don’t have a leg to stand on to criticize those who buy coins sold in TPG packaging. So lets cut with all the BS, there is no such thing as a basic unadulterated original government packaging unless you are buying unpackaged coins and keeping them stored in brown paper bags. So lets not be hypocrites here, what’s good for the goose is supposed to be good for the gander. And remember that whenever you point your fingers at others you still have three of them pointing back at yourself.

  34. Jus-a-coin-luvr says

    I feel that the difference in the FS label (vs other forms of pretty packaging) is that it is a falsehood that picks the pocket of the buyer. That is why some of us raise opposition to it. As coin collectors, we care about the integrity of how coins are sold (whether we can change the marketing fluff or not). By talking about it and raising it as a concern, maybe we can help someone save money on their investment or spend the FS dollars on something that actually does pertain to the coin’s value.

  35. Jus-a-coin-luvr says

    One other thought, since thePhelps seems to be taking the heat on this topic from some. I read his points as caring about the hobby, not trying to control others or be negative. Some may not like the way he says it, but his message is basically a “heads-up” to coin collectors (new or old).

    There are lots of people who have not been in the hobby for 30+ yrs. IMO, it’s OK to talk about the greatness of collecting and also raise awareness to potential pitfalls in the same voice. If you pick up any decent coin collecting or grading book, there are entire areas about what to also watch out for as a collector.

    We should be able to call a FS label for what it is (whether you like them or feel they are wrong for the hobby). That is what should happen here and it is OK for us to disagree as well.

  36. stephen m says

    It appears that everyone is right and no one is wrong. If you like a “whatever” buy it, if not don’t. Until the future tells me different this is what i believe.

  37. hawkster says

    No matter what side of the argument you’re on, I think we can agree on two things: 1) The “first strike” designation on a graded coin is a falsehood, and 2) for some reason, the “first strike” designation drives many coin purchasers to pay an added premium.

    Personally, I would not like to own a graded coin having this designation. But, I realize that the “first strike” on the label means everything to some collectors. To each his own.

  38. Voiceofreason says

    FWIW, thePhelps and Jus-a-coin-luvr are absolutely correct, spot-on. It is astounding to look at the Collectors Universe Forum message board for the 2013 RP Buffalo and the pages of hand-wringing regarding when the TPGs will start the 30-day clock for the FS label. It is absolutely ridiculous and a sign that the industry, or at least the secondary market “purchasers” to which hawkster refers, are warped.

  39. DG says

    My RP buffalo shipped on 8/21. An order for a relative on first day an hour later will now ship 8/26. Both orders originally stated shipment on 9/8. FWIW.

  40. Bill says

    My RP Buffalo was shipped 8/22. Tracking says it should be delivered by end of the day, Monday. Wow, hard to believe!

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