Tomorrow, May 8, 2014 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin accepting orders for the 2014-W Proof American Gold Buffalo. The latest annual release follows the excitement surrounding last year’s reverse proof version and the early sell out of the standard proof at a low mintage level.
The American Gold Buffalo coin series was launched in 2006 as the first 99.99% pure gold produced by the United States Mint. Under the authorizing legislation, for the first year of issue, the coins were required to carry the original designs created by James Earle Fraser for the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel. This classic design features the portrait of a Native American created from a composite of real life models on the obverse paired with the iconic image of an American Bison on the reverse. The authorizing legislation specifically provided that the obverse or reverse design could be changed after the first year of issue, however this option has not been exercised and the designs have remained the same throughout the series.
For the first two years of the series in 2006 and 2007, the coins were issued in 1 oz size in both bullion and proof format. In 2008, the number of numismatic versions was vastly expanded with fractional weight proof coins in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/2 oz sizes in addition to the 1 oz size. Collectible uncirculated versions were also offered across the four different sizes. Amidst a broad retrenchment in the US Mint’s numismatic product offerings, the newly introduced versions were discontinued after the close of the year.
From 2009 to 2012, the offerings reverted to the original 1 oz size bullion and proof versions. For 2013, the US Mint offered a 1 oz reverse proof version of the coin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the design, which was available to order during a four week window. The reverse proof coin reached orders of 47,836, while the standard proof remained somewhat under the radar and sold out early with last reported sales of 18,594.
For this year, the offerings have reverted to the standard 1 oz bullion coin released on January 2 and the 1 oz proof coin released tomorrow.
The 2014-W Proof American Gold Buffalo is offered without an indicated mintage limit and there are no household ordering limits in place. The coins are priced according to the pricing grid for numismatic gold and silver products and may be adjusted weekly. For the start of sales, the coins are priced at $1,640 each based on an average gold price within the $1,250 to $1,299.99 range.
Each coin is struck in 1 troy ounce of 99.99% pure gold with a diameter of 1.287 inches and a reeded edge. The “W” mint mark appears on the obverse to signify production at the West Point Mint. The coins come housed in an elegant hardwood box with matte finish and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
It seems possible that this year’s offering will see stronger demand than the prior year. Following heavy demand for the annual Proof Gold Buffalo in 2009 and 2010, sales levels had marked declines for the next three years. This seemed to culminate with the low reached in 2013, when collector demand was divided between the standard offering and the special reverse proof. If sales mark a gain compared to last year, this would solidify the status of some of the lower mintage issues of the series.
The current lowest mintage for a 1 oz proof Gold Buffalo is held by the 2013-W at last reported sales of 18,594 pieces. The lowest mintage for any proof Gold Buffalo is for the 2008-W 1/2 oz coin with a final audited mintage of 12,169. The status of lowest mintage for any Gold Buffalo coin is held by the 2008-W 1 oz uncirculated coin at a final audited mintage of 9,074 pieces.