American Buffalo gold coins are relatively new to the gold coin scene, having been produced and offered for sale by the United States Mint only since June 22, 2006. At its time of issue, the initial price of this coin was valued at $800. Since then, the price per coin has almost doubled.
Like its American Eagle gold coin brethren (bet you didn't know a buffalo could be related to an eagle!), American Buffalo gold coins carry a U.S. Governmental guarantee as to the quality and quantity of gold in each piece. This ensures that the Buffalo gold bullion will be recognized in markets around the world – basically, this means the value of the coin won't be called into question. Buffalo gold isn’t hard to buy, as long as you do a bit of simple research and you buy it from one of the many reputable dealers selling valuable coins.
Unlike the 22 karat American Eagle gold coin, about eight percent of which is made from other metals, the American Buffalo gold coin is pure 24-karat gold, and 99.99 percent of every coin is guaranteed gold! The price of these coins is based on the price of gold with a slight additional markup to the price that accounts for the process of making the coin. All of these factors make the Buffalo coin one of the most popular gold investments.
In addition, the coin, designed by the American sculptor James Earle Fraser, is beautiful and has classic American images on both sides: the obverse side has the profile of a Native American chief while the reverse side has an American buffalo. This article will address how to find the American Buffalo gold coin for sale at the best price.
Buying an American Buffalo Gold Coin
To find and buy the American Buffalo gold coin at the best price, try doing one of the following:
- Go to The United States Mint website. This website has a search tool enabling you to locate dealers by state. While there, you can also view gold coin prices on their pricing chart. This chart gives the value of gold coins based on the current price of gold today.
- Visit Yahoo or Google to search for "Buffalo gold coin." You'll find dozens of good results, including authorized coin and precious metal dealers such as Northwest Territorial Mint and Blanchard. Be sure to check multiple dealers and compare prices; even the two websites mentioned above are selling the Buffalo gold coin for different prices.
- Check your local phone book by browsing through the "gold" or "coins" sections to find local coin or precious metal dealers.
- Visit online auctions like eBay to try to find an American Buffalo gold coin cheaper than the going rate on the U.S. Mint site. Make sure you can trust the online dealer. Don't buy a Buffalo gold coin for more than you would purchase it from the source.
- Check brokerage houses and participating banks as well.
Always compare prices before you buy gold, whether bullion or gold bars, and don't pay any more than you need to. There are just as many scammers trying to sell gold for too high a price as there are trying to buy scrap gold for too little.
Counterfeit gold coins
Be aware that there may be fake or counterfeit American Buffalo gold coins being sold on the market today. For example, there is an "American Buffalo Gold Coin" currently for sale on TV and in magazine ads. This coin is not made by an official U.S. Government Mint and is not legal tender in the United States. It is known to be minted by a private company called the National Collector's Mint (NCM) and it is generally sold for about $19.95. The big difference in these coins is that the NCM coins are thinly coated in a gold clad and do not have the fineness of the true American Buffalo gold coin, which is 99.99% pure gold.
This fraudulent version of the coin has the word "COPY" printed on the front side of the coin (again, the obverse face of the coin) where the Indian head's hair is braided and does not have any currency denomination on the back side (the reverse face). If you look closely at an official American Buffalo gold coin from the U.S. Mint, you will see the words "$50" and "1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD" on the reverse face.
Gold Bullion vs “Proof” coins
The American Buffalo gold coin can be bought as bullion or as a proof coin. Bullion coins are made in several countries. They are legal tender in the country in which they are made and are designed to be bought and sold based on their metal content, not their face value. Many people buy gold bullion just as a way to own gold. Bullion coins are offered as an alternative to, for example, buying gold bars or gold ingots. Bullion coins have sparked collector’s interest due to their beauty, scarcity, and value. Gold bullion is thought to be a better investment than proofs or proof sets.
The “proof” version of a coin is one that has been struck, usually as a sample. It is made in preproduction and produced in limited quantities, making it more rare for collectors. The Buffalo gold coin proof was first an uncirculated version that was initially made available to coin collectors only and then ultimately to private collectors. Collectors, however, were restricted in buying only up to 10 coins per household. Only 300,000 of the Buffalo gold proofs have been made. It sounds like a big number, but almost 80 percent of these coins have already been sold!
According to the U.S. Mint website, American Buffalo gold proofs are made for collectors by using a very specialized minting process. Burnished coin blanks are fed manually into presses fitted with special dies, allowing each coin to be struck several times so that the highly detailed images on the coins appear to float above the field.
The proof version of the buffalo coin has a “W” on the front side of the coin; look behind the neck of the Indian to find it. You will not see this “W” on the bullion coin. Look for catalog number BA6 when trying to purchase a 2006 proof coin from the U.S. Mint.
Certificate of Authenticity
The American Buffalo gold coin is being struck at the West Point Mint in New York. When you buy a Buffalo gold coin directly through the U.S. Mint, you should receive an official Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Director of the United States Mint. Either call 800-USA-MINT, or visit the United States Mint website. The coins are sold individually. Proof coins may be sold in sets. You may be limited to buying 10 of the 2006 American Buffalo gold proof coins per household.
Getting the best price
Buffalo gold coins can be purchased online. But note that if you are buying bullion, the options for payment may be somewhat limited. Some rare coin dealers do not accept credit cards for bullion. Often, an authorized coin dealer will accept a bank wire transfer, a personal or business check, a cashier's check or a money order. Do your research! Prices of gold fluctuate; this means the price can change daily or even hourly just as regular stock prices do. Make it a point to check or ask if there are any additional fees for commission or shipping and handling charges.
Buy as an investment
Why not consider buying gold coins as an investment and add them, perhaps, to your current stock portfolio? When stock prices are down, gold prices tend to go up. In this way, gold is considered a safe investment and a hedge against inflation. When the inflation rate rises, precious metals tend to perform better. In fact, precious metals are often considered a low risk investment when compared to stocks and bonds whose prices can fluctuate drastically in comparison.
Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean that gold prices don’t fluctuate. They do. But by and large, it can be a steady commodity over time and a good addition to a diverse investment portfolio. Gold coins have often been considered a worthy form of investment because they can often offer maximum returns.
In addition, gold is one precious metal that is allowed in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) but it doesn’t come without some risk. Be sure to watch the market over time and gauge the trends. Your best bet is to buy American Buffalo gold coins when prices are low.
Again, make sure that whomever you buy from is reputable. The more time you take to research the different qualities and types of coins that are available, the safer your investment will be.
How to store your coins
Always handle bullion coins as little as possible. If you must handle them, it is best to touch them only on the sides and not on the face of the coins. Gold coins, in particular, are soft, meaning they can be easily scratched, damaged or discolored. Gold coin proofs, especially, should not be removed from the packaging in which they arrive by mail. The packaging is usually designed to protect the coin from nicks, blemishes and scratches.
To view and show off your coins, you might try using the standard 2x2 cardboard holders that most coin collectors use. Some of these are designed to be airtight so it holds the coin inside of an acetate slide to protect it during handling. The cardboard border allows you to write detailed information about the coin, such as its name, how many ounces it is, the name of the country it is from and the mintage. The cardboard can also help the coin stay in place and allows a little air circulation around the coin.
Silica gel can help to reduce moisture in the area where you store your coin books. Depending on the value of your coins, you might even consider getting a safe deposit box to store them. Depending on the size of your collection, you might consider getting insurance on them as well.
So be smart and do your research before buying the Buffalo Gold bullion or proof coin. While it is a newcomer on the 24-karat gold coin stage - joining the popular Canadian Maple Leaf and Krugerrand - in the long run it will surely be a good investment. It will be exciting to see how the bovine behemoth fares against the other world coins.