Yesterday, the United States Mint officially announced the details for the upcoming 2013 American Gold Buffalo Reverse Proof Coin, issued to mark the 100th anniversary of James Earle Fraser’s design for the original Type 1 Buffalo Nickel. The coins feature frosted background fields and mirrored design elements, or the reverse of the typical cameo proof appearance.
The offering was originally proposed within a customer survey distributed in late 2012. The survey had originally suggested releasing a reverse proof version of the coin along with the standard proof version in a two coin set. Other possibilities were also raised, such as changing the design of the coin or re-introducing uncirculated coins or fractional weight coins.
In May 2013, the US Mint officially confirmed the offering of a one ounce 2013 Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo. At the time, it was specified that the coin would be sold separately and minted to demand at the West Point Mint. That same month, the US Mint displayed an actual example of the coin at the ANA National Money Show held in New Orleans.
The final announced details of the offering indicate that the Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo will be offered for sale during a four week ordering window beginning on August 8, 2013 at 12:00 Noon ET and ending September 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET. Customer demand during the ordering window will determine the number of coins produced.
Pricing will be according to the US Mint’s pricing grid for gold and platinum numismatic products. Based on the existing grid, for a gold price within the $1,250 to $1,299.99 range, the coins would be $1,640 each. The actual price will be determined based on the average weekly gold price during the period leading up to the release and may vary during the course of the offering.
The coins will be packaged in an elegant matte finish hardwood box with faux leather inset, along with a certificate of authenticity.
This will be the third recent product that the US Mint has offered during a limited ordering window with production based on the number of orders received. This strategy was used for the first time with the 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Set and utilized again for the 2013 West Point Set. The method of offering seems to have been developed at least partially in response to the frequent website crashes that had occurred when the US Mint offered products with a stated limited mintage. Things seem to be heading towards the same result anyway, since many collectors attempt to place their orders immediately at the start of sales in the hopes of receiving coins the earliest.
This will only be the second reverse proof gold coin that the US Mint has offered. The previous coin was the 2006 Reverse Proof Gold Eagle, which was included in the 10th Anniversary Gold Eagle Set limited to production of 10,000 sets.