2011 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coin

American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coin (2008 Bullion Coin Shown) - click on image to enlarge
American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coin (2008 Bullion Coin Shown) - click on image to enlarge

With a release date of March 14, 2011, the 2011 American Buffalo Gold Bullion coin marks the sixth year in which the coin has been available from the United States Mint. Struck for the first time in June 2006, the Buffalo Bullion coin would blaze a new trail while still retaining a historical link to the American coinage that came before it.

When the coins were created, they marked the first time the US Mint had ever created .9999 fine 24-karat gold coins in the history of the country. But in doing so, the Mint did not forget the glory days of circulating coins in the United States. This is because the new bullion coin used the same basic design concept that had been featured on a coin introduced over 90 years ago.

James Earle Fraser created the design which had a portrait of a Native American on the obverse and an image of an American Buffalo (also known as a bison) on its reverse. It was struck on circulating nickels from 1913 until 1938. Collectors commonly refer to this coin as the "Indian Head Nickel" or the "Buffalo Nickel." Many consider it one of the most beautiful coins every produced by the US Mint.

Fraser used three different Indian Chiefs as models in creating his profile, two of them are Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne. The third person used has never been positively identified, but many have claimed to have been that individual. The buffalo design is said to be based on "Black Diamond" who supposedly was kept in captivity at the New York City Zoo.

The Buffalo bullion coins are not available directly from the Mint, but must be purchased through a series of authorized suppliers, or on the secondary market.

Buffalo coins were not struck in the first part of 2009. The Mint had suspended sales citing "unprecedented demand" for the bullion gold Eagles. Law required the Mint to produce enough bullion Eagles to meet demand, not leaving enough gold blanks for the Buffalos. That changed, however, and the Mint was able to build up enough blank inventory to release the 1 ounce Buffalos on the 15th of October. No fractional sizes were struck.

Demand was so intense for the 2009 Gold Buffalos that an amazing 71,500 were sold in the first five days. Then, on December 4, 2009, the Mint stopped sales of the coins after having reached the 200,000 they had in inventory. In those short few weeks in which the coins were available, the Mint actually sold more than it had in either of the previous two years.

American Buffalo Bullion Coin Sales History: 2006 – 2010

***totals include number of strikes sold during the year, not necessarily the year-dated mintage as the US Mint may sell strikes minted one year in another.

  • 2006 - 323,000
  • 2007 - 167,500
  • 2008 - 172,000
  • 2009 - 200,000
  • 2010 - 209,000

Obverse Design

James Earle Fraser's profile of a Native American Indian is seen on the obverse of the Gold Buffalo Bullion coin. The inscription "Liberty" is seen in front of the Indian's forehead, with the year below his neck.

Reverse Design

An image of an American buffalo (also called a bison) is portrayed on the reverse . Also seen are the inscriptions "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust," "$50" and "1 Oz. .9999 Fine Gold."

American Buffalo Coin Specifications


Mint: United States Mint
Mintmark: None
Finish/Condition: Circulated
Metal Content: .9999 fine gold
Weight: 1.0001 troy ounce (31.108 grams)
Diameter: 32.70 mm
Edge: Reeded
Issue Price: based on price of gold
Mintage Limit: based on demand/subject to gold blank availability
Face Value: $50
Obverse Engraver:James Earle Fraser
Reverse Engraver: James Earle Fraser

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2011 W 50 1 Oz Proof American Gold Buffalo NGC PF70 UC SKU23470
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2011 W AMERICAN GOLD BUFFALO PROOF COIN 1 oz 50
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American Buffalo Coin Resources

World Mint Coins | Coin Specifications, Resources and Coin Images