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American Gold Buffalo History

American Gold Buffalo History

Feb 2nd 2020

The History of the American Gold Buffalo

The American Gold Buffalo was first minted in 2006 after the passage of the Presidential Dollar Coin Act. The Act, passed in 2005, required the U.S. Mint to produce a one ounce gold coin. Specifically, the coin had to carry a $50 denomination and be struck in 24 karat, .9999 pure gold. The main purpose of the American Gold Buffalo was to compete with other world mints that had already produced a 99.99% pure gold coin. Prior to the American Gold Buffalo, the U.S. Mint had only produced the American Gold Eagle which was only 91.67% pure gold, which is 22k. However, the 1 oz American Gold Eagle still contains a whole ounce of gold. Global mints such as the Canadian Mint were stealing thunder from the U.S. Mint until the production of the American Gold Buffalo came into being, and gold bullion investors and coin collectors would often lean toward the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf which is .9999 pure gold.


The design of the American Gold Buffalo was taken from the original Buffalo Nickel that was made in 1913. The original Buffalo Nickel was designed by James Earl Fraser and featured a Native American on the obverse of the coin and a bison on the reverse of the coin. The bison on the reverse of the coin was rumored to be “Black Diamond,” who was a popular buffalo in the New York Central Park Zoo. The modern day American Gold Buffalo is a larger replica of the original Buffalo Nickel design.

Types of Gold Buffaloes

The U.S. Mint, specifically the West Point Mint has made Gold Buffaloes every year since 2006. Each year, a mint state version and a proof version of the Gold Buffalo has been made. Typically all Gold Buffaloes are 1oz coins, however in 2008 the West Point Mint changed things up and issued a Burnished Gold Buffalo Set and a Proof Gold Buffalo Set. This was the only time the U.S. Mint has done this to date. The 2008 Gold Buffalo Sets consisted of a tenth, quarter, half, and full ounce Gold Buffalo. 2008 marked the only year the Mint has done fractional Gold Buffaloes as well as a Burnished Gold Buffalo.

American Gold Buffalo Specifications

● .9999 pure gold

● Struck at the West Point Mint

● 1 oz weight

● 32.7mm diameter (1oz), 27mm (1/2oz), 22mm (1/4oz), 16.5 (1/10oz)