The Buffalo was the United States Mints first 24-carat gold bullion coin (the Eagle is 22-carat) and was introduced for the first time on 22nd June 2006 following its authorisation by Public Law 109-145 in late 2005. There was a brief dabble with offering fractional sizes in 2008 (1/2, 1/4, 1/10th), but the range was short-lived and back to just a 1-ounce coin in 2009. Both the obverse and reverse sides showcase images by James Earl Fraser, an acclaimed sculptor once a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, that were used for the five-cent coin known as the Indian Head, or Buffalo Nickel, first introduced in 1913. Whatever the history, it’s a beautiful piece of work and easily one of the nicest bullion coins of modern times.
The obverse depicts a Native American that Fraser said was a mixture of the features of three chiefs who posed for him, Big Tree of the Kiowa, Iron Tail of the Lakota, and Two Moons of the Cheyenne.
The reverse features a side view of a Buffalo, said to be the bison ‘Black Diamond’ that lived in New Yorks Central Park Zoo during the 1910s. It’s hard to know what side to display as they’re both outstanding. One would look great in a Nimbus frame.
The 2013 Buffalo is the first year on record where the initial sales price was lower than the year before.