On 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.|
|*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.