Entries from May 2011 ↓

2011 Proof American Gold Buffalo

A little more than two months after the release of the bullion version of the coin, the US Mint began sales of the 2011 Proof American Gold Buffalo for collectors. This is the sixth annual release for the 24 karat gold coin series.

The issue has had a dedicated following due to the use of the popular design. The obverse and reverse are taken from James Earle Fraser’s Buffalo Nickel, representing the Type 1 variety issued in 1913. The broader series continued until 1938, when it was replaced with the Jefferson Nickel.

Each 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo contains one troy ounce of .9999 fine ( 24 karat) gold. This was the first offering of the United States Mint to be struck in this level of purity. The popular American Gold Eagle is struck in a purity of 22 karat of .9167.

As the price of gold has risen, the proof Gold Buffalo has become more expensive. Each coin is priced at $1,760. Many collectors will wish that fractional weight versions of the coin were available to provide a lower pricing point. The US Mint did make fractional versions in 2008, but discontinued the offering after only one year.

This one of many coins this year that I will “wait and see”. The price of various offerings that I collect has been increasing, leaving less room for series that I have occasionally collected.

America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coin Mintages

Towards the end of last year, the US Mint sent shock waves through the coin collecting community when they announced that the long delayed America the Beautiful silver Bullion Coins would have mintages of only 33,000 per design. This would be supplemented by 27,000 numismatic versions for each design to be released at a later time. These have now begun to be released by the US Mint with the latest Yellowstone issue on sale from May 17.

Meanwhile, the US Mint has started distributing the 2011-dated ATB Silver Bullion Coins. These have significantly higher mintages than the 2010-dated issues.

The issues featuring Gettysburg National Military Park and Glacier National park were released early this year, with an initial quantity of 126,700 coins per design available. This week, the US Mint began sales of the Olympic National Park coin, also with an initial mintage of 126,700.

At almost four times the mintages of the prior year issue, this would seem to secure the place of the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Eagles as potential keys. The US Mint seems to be making an effort to produce future issues in bullion quantities to avoid the issues experienced in 2010. Precious metals investors seem to be willing to purchase all the silver they can get, especially with the American Silver Eagle one ounce coins still subject to rationing.



2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle

The United States Mint released the 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle on May 5, 2011. This represented the return of this collector version of the coin after an absence of two years. Only a one ounce version was available, priced at $1,778.00 to start, but variable week to week.

The coins are struck on burnished blanks, but carry a finish similar to the bullion version of the coin. The “W” mint mark also appear on the obverse, in contrast to the bullion coins which carry no mint mark. Finally, the coins are sold directly by the US Mint at a higher premium, while the bullion versions are distributed through authorized purchasers at prices more closely following the intrinsic value of the coins.

This will be an interesting issue to watch. After two years of absence, it may have fallen off the radar for many collectors. Also, the previously released proof versions have always experienced greater popularity. As higher precious metals prices stretch collector budgets, they may have to choose only one version of the coin to collect.

It seems possible that this might be the lowest mintage Gold Eagle in the history of the series. Recent sales figure show 1,825 coins sold to date. The lowest mintage for an issue of the Gold Eagles series is the 2008-W $10 Uncirculated Gold Eagle at 8,883.