The 2012-W Proof $50 American Gold Buffalo seems to be emerging as yet another secondary market winner amongst US Mint 2012 numismatic products.
The coins originally went on sale March 15, 2012 and sold out on January 18, 2013. Although this was a fairly lengthy period of availability at about 10 months, it was still significantly shorter than the 19 months of availability for the 2011-dated release, which only concluded sales as part of the year end Last Opportunity Sale.
The 2012 Proof Gold Buffalo ended up with final reported sales of 19,765. This represented a decline of more than 30% compared to the previous year and significantly was only slightly above the low mintage established for the one ounce 2008 Proof.
Proof American Gold Buffalo Mintages
|Date||1 oz.||1/2 oz.||1/4 oz.||1/10 oz.|
|*last reported sales|
When last available from the US Mint, the 2012 Proof Gold Buffalo carried a price of $1,960. A survey of the handful of recently completed eBay auctions shows prices of around $2,500 for coins in the original government packaging. Coins which have been certified in the top grades of PCGS PR70DCAM or NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo have realized prices of around $2,900 to $3,000. There was one “Buy It Now” listing for an NGC PF 70 coin which seeeds to have been underpriced at $2,350 and was quickly scooped up.
The Gold Buffalo joins a growing list of other 2012 numismatic products which are driving strong premiums on secondary market channels. Other winners include the 2012-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle, the sold out 2012 annual sets, some of the earlier sold out 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarters Circulating Quality Rolls and 2012-P ATB Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins.
As discussed in previous posts, there has recently been a shift in the typical availability pattern for US Mint numismatic products. Whereas many 2010 and 2011 dated products had remained available for well in excess of one year, most of the 2012 products have been available for a much shorter duration. Whether or not the shift was intentional, the US Mint basically went from overproducing their numismatic offerings and leaving them on sale forever to under producing their products and having them sell out early.
The early sell outs have been intriguing to witness and cover a range of situations. The 2012-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle had sold out in early November, which seemingly would have been enough time for another production run instead of concluding sales. The circulating quality 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarter Rolls had a specific indication on the product pages that they would remain available for sale for one year from the initial release date. Instead, in the most extreme case the Denali 100-coin bags sold out after less than two months. The 2012-P ATB Five Ounce Silver Coins carried a specific maximum mintage of 25,000 units per design, but some designs started to sell out after sales approached only 15,000 units. Finally, after seeing annual sets remain available for upwards of two years, the core 2012 sets sold out after availability ranging from six to seven months.
After a big string of unexpected sell outs and secondary market winners, we may see collectors respond by ordering the 2013 products earlier and more heavily. Such a boost in sales would lead to higher mintages which would serve to solidify the status of the 2012 winners.