Today, April 9, 2015 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin accepting orders for the 2015 Proof American Gold Buffalo. The one ounce 24 karat gold coins features James Earle Fraser’s classic design from the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel.
The obverse carries a profile portrait of a Native American created from a composite of real life subjects. The inscriptions include “Liberty”, the date “2015”, the mint mark “W”, and the designer’s initial “F”. The reverse features an image of an American Bison or buffalo with inscriptions “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “In God We Trust”, the denomination of “$50”, and the precious metal weight and purity “1 oz. .9999 Fine Gold”.
The coin has carried the same obverse and reverse design for year of the series since it launched in 2006. The authorizing legislation actually only requires that Fraser’s designs are to be used for the first year of issue. After this point, the Secretary of the Treasury has the authority to modify the designs after consulting with the Commission of Fine Arts and subject to review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. Although the Secretary has never exercised this authority, a bill was recently introduced in Congress which seeks to remove the authority to carry out such design changes.
The American Gold Buffalo has been issued in one ounce size in bullion format for each year from 2006 to present. Collector versions of the coin have seen some variation. For 2006 and 2007, a one ounce proof version of the coin was issued. In 2008, the US Mint added fractional weight proof coins as well as a full range of collectible uncirculated coins, only to discontinue the additional options by the end of the year. The collector offerings reverted to the annual one ounce proof version with an additional one ounce reverse proof version issued in 2013 for the 100th anniversary of the design.
The 2015-W Proof Gold Buffalo is offered without a stated mintage limit and without household ordering limits imposed. The coins are priced based on the pricing grid established by the US Mint for numismatic gold products. Based on a weekly market price of gold within the $1,200 to $1,249.99 range, the opening sales price of the coin is $1,590. This may be subject to change on a weekly basis based on the market price of gold.
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 coins come housed in an elegant hardwood box with matte finish and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
Last year’s 2014-W Proof Gold Buffalo had gone on sale May 8, 2014 and reached a sell out in December. The last reported sales for the product were 20,557 units, exceeding the sales levels of the prior two years.