Many collectors eagerly awaited Thursday’s special edition release of the 2013 $50 Reverse Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin from the United States Mint. By Friday, the high level of interest turned into more than $34.4 million in sales for the 24-karat gold coin that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the designs appearing on it.
Comments from collectors left on coin collecting sites suggested strong interest in the unique coin with its reverse proof finish but few would have pegged the amount of early orders. Especially given that its price of $1,640 is higher than most coin collecting products from the US Mint.
Sales of the reverse proof American Buffalo Gold Coin started at 12 Noon ET on August 8. In the first 30 minutes, sales hit 12,630 coins for a dollar total of $20,713,200. By 3:00 p.m. on the 9th, unit orders advanced another 8,379 for a new total of 21,009 coins. At that point, sales in dollars reached $34,454,760.
That is a huge sales start. Contrasting and speaking to the new coin’s popularity are total sales for the standard proof American Buffalo Gold Coin released on May 23, 2013. Through to August 4 or nearly two and a half months since release, its sales are lower at 12,297 for $20,167,080.
Sales Odometer Offers Updated Order Totals
Ordering is open for the new 2013 Reverse Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin until September 5, 2013 at 5 p.m. ET. As a unique release, the US Mint is keeping its sales limited to four weeks. Collectors during that time can order as many as they want, but no more after.
To gauge demand, collectors will be able to see how many orders are placed almost on a daily basis. The US Mint on Friday added a sales odometer to the coin’s online product page. The Mint said the odometer’s total will get updated at approximately 3:00 p.m. ET on every business day it is open.
Reverse Proof for 100th Anniversary of Designs
Reverse proof coins have been issued by the United States Mint before for special occasions but the unique finish had never appeared on an American Buffalo Gold Coin until now. The US Mint decided that a reverse proof was ideal to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the designs on the coin.
Actually, these 99.99% pure gold coins have only been around only since 2006. But their designs created by James Earle Fraser made their first appearance on circulating 1913-1938 Indian Head nickels, also known as Buffalo nickels. In a coin collecting news statement at www.usmint.gov/pressroom, the US Mint described the designs this way:
The coin’s obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs are based on James Earle Fraser’s original designs, first appearing in 1913. The obverse depicts the profile of a Native American, while the reverse depicts an American Buffalo (also known as a bison). Each coin is presented in an elegant matte finish hardwood box with a faux leather inset. A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
The popularity of Fraser’s designs resulted in their revival on the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Coin, a silver dollar, and then again for American Buffalo Gold Coins produced at the West Point Mint and issued annually in proof and bullion versions since 2006.
Regular proof coins have been around for many, many years. They are issued every year for collectors in every denomination. All of the Mint’s most popular coin collecting products are in proof, like the 2013 Proof Set that has sales of 482,895 since its release on March 28. Also made only for collectors, the reverse proof is used much more sparingly and typically on anniversary-related coinage. As such, they generally are more sought. A reverse proof has raised design elements (devices) that are mirror-like and fields (backgrounds) that are frosted. These traits are opposite of a regular proof coin.