First Time Ever Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo – Celebrating 100 Years of the Iconic Design

Gold Buffalo Reverse Proof Coin

One of the most beloved designs ever released by the United States Mint is the American Buffalo designed by James Earle Fraser (a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens). This classic buffalo design first appeared on the Type I Buffalo nickel (also known as the Indian Head Nickel, or simply Buffalo Nickel) in 1913. That began a run of 25 years for the Buffalo Nickel. The buffalo (or bison) featured on the reverse is believed to have been based on an American Buffalo named Black Diamond that resided at the Central Park Zoo in New York. Fraser has stated that the inspiration for the obverse of the coin (the profile of a Native American) was a composite of several American Indian men, including Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne people and Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux people.

The design made a comeback in 2001 when it was released on a commemorative American Buffalo Silver Dollar. It made an even bigger splash in 2006 when it was chosen to appear on the first 24-karat, 99.99% pure gold coin ever produced by the U.S. Mint, the American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Proof Coin. Now in 2013, 100 years after the American Buffalo design was first introduced, the Gold Buffalo Coin is being produced for the first time ever as a Reverse Proof!

So what exactly is a reverse proof coin? This unique manufacturing process reverses the mirror-like background finish of a traditional proof coin and applies it instead to the raised design elements of the coin. This process provides the mirror-like design with a magnificent visual contrast against the frosted background of coin surface. Applying the reverse proof process to this anniversary edition of the gold buffalo captures the beauty of coin design and the modernization of coin production over the past 100 years.

The new Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo coin came out of the gate strong and has enjoyed record sales. In the first three weeks of sales it more than tripled the number of the regular annually released Proof Gold Buffalo coins – and those sales were over a ten week period versus three weeks for the reverse proofs. A limited number of the reverse proof coins were made available at the U.S. Mint’s booth during the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago from August 13-17, 2013. Visitors to the ANA convention were given the first opportunity to purchase the Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo - where lines quickly grew to a 4+ hour wait time to buy the limited number of coins!

NGC, the Official Grading Service of the ANA, was also on hand to certify a selection of the reverse proof coins, placing them in a protective case featuring a special "Chicago ANA Releases" label that was only utilized during the show. Also present at the ANA convention was Mr. Richard A. Peterson, Acting Director of the United States Mint. Mr. Peterson graciously took the time to sign the Certificate of Authenticity of a handful of the certified reverse proofs, adding to the value of these historic coins! Grading service PCGS was in attendance as well certifying the coins on site.

Celebrate the centennial anniversary of the iconic Fraser American Buffalo design by adding a Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo Coin to your collection (now available for pre-order). And be sure to check out the Chicago ANA Releases of the Proof Buffalos for the extra-special versions of the coins now available!