American Gold Buffalo

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American Gold Buffalo Bullion Coins are the first .9999 fine 24-karat gold coins ever struck by the United States Mint.

Production of the American Gold Buffalo coins is authorized by Public Law 109-145, dated December 22, 2005, also known as the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005.

The new American Buffalo Gold coin’s obverse and reverse designs feature images of a native american and a buffalo respectively, originally featured on the nickel.  That popular coin, known as the “Indian Head,” or “Buffalo Nickel,” was introduced in 1913 and showcases the native beauty of the American West.

The coin has a legal tender (face) value of $50.



American Gold Buffalo Design


The Native American depiction on the American Gold Buffalo coins obverse is believed to be based on three different American Indians. Two of the American Indians who modeled for James Earl Fraser as he sculpted the coin were named by the designer before his death. They were known as Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne.

Although many have claimed to have had a sitting with Fraser for this design, he could not recall the name of the third person and satisfactory documentation has not yet been found to identify that individual.

The obverse also shows the motto “LIBERTY” on the top right, the year of mintage on the bottom left, and below that the letter F for Fraser.


It is widely believed that the bison on the coins reverse was modeled after Black Diamond, a popular attraction at the New York Zoological Gardens. Both the American Gold Buffalo Bullion and Proof Coins portray the images of the revered Buffalo Nickel of 1913, Type 1.

The American Buffalo gold bullion coin further has in common with the nickel the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM above the buffalo’s lower back and the device UNITED·STATES·OF·AMERICA along the top.

Differences between the nickel and the fifty dollar coin are as follows:

  • On the gold American Buffalo coin the mound area of the reverse of the Indian Head nickel bearing the words, FIVE CENTS, has been changed to read $50 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD.
  • The motto, IN GOD WE TRUST is on the left of, and beneath, the buffalo’s head.

American Gold Buffalo Specifications

The American Gold Buffalo Coin has inscriptions of the coin’s weight, denomination and gold content incused on the reverse.  They can be found in the design area commonly known as the “grassy mound.” The inscriptions read “$50,” “1 OZ” and “.9999 FINE GOLD.”

The proof version will bear the W mint mark of the United States Mint at West Point, New York. .

Composition: .999 Fine Gold
Mint: US Mint at West Point
Release Date: June 22, 2006

Additional information


99.99% gold


One Troy Ounce | 31.108g


James Earle Frasier


32.70 mm

Circulation Mintage