The United States Mint announced that the collector 2012 Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin will go on sale Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 12 PM (noon) Eastern Time (ET). Due to the .9999 pure gold composition, the price for the coin will be made available the day before its launch.
The U.S. Mint has been offering the American Buffalo Gold Coin since 2006. The proof issue undergoes a special minting process with custom cut dies to produce the highly detailed images that seem to float on the surface.
Another detail given to the collector strike is the "W" mint mark on the obverse, indicating its production at the U.S. Mint facility at West Point. The coin is presented in elegant, protective packaging that includes a hardwood display box with a faux leather inset, the clear plastic coin holder, and a Certificate of Authenticity.
The 2012 Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin will only be offered in the one ounce size but without any household limits. Its face value is $50, and the coin is legal tender of the United States.
Designs on the coin represent the old American West. On the obverse is a profile portrait of a Native American and on the reverse is the American Buffalo. These images, by James Earle Fraser, were first used on the circulating nickel in 1913, known as the "Buffalo Nickel" and the "Indian Head Nickel."
Pricing and Sales
On Wednesday, the U.S. Mint will calculate the weekly average price of gold on the London Fix, the market indicator used for the Mint’s numismatic pricing policy. If the average price of the metal stays between $1,650.00 and $1,699.00 an ounce, then the proof Buffalo gold coin will be $1,960.00. Above or below that range will result in a respective up or down $100 price change.
At this time, the 2011-dated proof Buffalo is still available. It has been on sale since May 19, 2011. The U.S. Mint may stop selling the older version at any point. Collectors have purchased 25,230 of them as of March 5, 2012. (See the latest gold coin sales/prices.)
There is also a bullion version of the coin for investors, although the 2012-dated version is yet to be released. Last year the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers (AP’s) ordered 174,500, and so far this year (as of March 9) they have purchased 32,500 of them. AP’s sell the bullion strikes to precious metals and coin dealers as well as other financial institutions and the public.
For reference, the U.S. Mint press release announcing the 2012 Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin is below:
2012 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin Goes on Sale March 15
The United States Mint will open sales for the 2012 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin on March 15 at noon Eastern Time (ET). There are no mintage or household order limits for this product.
The designs on the 24-karat one-ounce gold coin’s obverse (heads side) and reverse (tails side) are based on James Earle Fraser’s original 1913 Type I Buffalo nickel. The obverse features the profile of a Native American and the inscriptions LIBERTY, 2012, the initial "F" for Fraser and the "W" mint mark for the United States Mint at West Point.
The reverse features the revered American Buffalo – also known as the bison – and the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, IN GOD WE TRUST, $50, 1OZ. and .9999 FINE GOLD.
Each American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin is presented in an elegant hardwood box with a matte finish. The coin is exhibited on a platform which can stand at an angle for display when the box is open. A Certificate of Authenticity is also included.
Pricing for the 2012 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin will be based on the United States Mint’s pricing strategy for numismatic products containing precious metals located at http://catalog.usmint.gov/wcsstore/ConsumerDirect/images/catalog/en_US/GoldCoinGrid.pdf.
Orders will be accepted at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog or at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT (6468). A shipping and handling fee of $4.95 will be added to all domestic orders.
Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, orders placed prior to the official on-sale date and time of March 15, 2012, noon ET shall not be deemed accepted by the United States Mint and will not be honored. For more information, please review the United States Mint’s Frequently Asked Questions, Answer ID #175.
About U.S. Mint
The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.