American Gold Buffalo


The American Gold Buffalo (or gold buffalo) is a 24K gold bullion coin first minted by the United States Government for public consumption in 2006 using pure (.9999 ) 24-karat gold. It has a legal tender face value of $50.


Its story started in 2005 with the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, which authorizes the US Mint to create a series of Presidential Dollar coins that began in 2007. The act also mandated the redesigning of then Lincoln Cent in 2009 to honor the 16th US President’s 200th birthday. Additionally, the act authorized the mint to manufacture a 1 ounce 24K gold bullion coin that is to have a face value of $50 and a mintage of up to 300,000 coins per annum. Some of the other highlights of the Act involve the following:

  • The Secretary of Treasury shall mint and issue $50 gold bullion and proof coins.
  • The designs by James Earle Fraser shall be used on both the front side and backside of the coin.
  • Mandates that the gold used on the coins shall be mined from natural deposits in the US or any US territory. It shall be used within one year after the month in which the gold was mined.
  • The Secretary is forbidden from paying more than the average global price for gold.
  • Classify coins as legal tender.
  • Identify coins as “numismatic items.”


American Sculptor James Earle Fraser designed the American Gold Buffalo coin. It is similar to the design of the Indian Nickel that was minted in 1913, with the exception of a few adjustments.

In designing the coin’s obverse, Fraser mixed together some features of chiefs that come from three different tribes: Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons. The coin also displays the line “LIBERTY” on the top right. The year of mintage, on the other hand, is on the bottom left, and below that – the letter F that stands for Fraser.

Meanwhile, the coin’s reverse features a buffalo standing on a rock. It has been said that this buffalo is the recollection of the Nationa’s pioneering spirit towards westward expansion. This side of the coin bares the words “the United States of America, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum, 1 oz. .9999 Fine Gold, and $50.”