Increased Purity Bears Fruit for the US Mint

February 13th, 2013  |  Published in Gold Coins

The United States Mint produced the first American Gold Eagles in 1986. Under the authorizing legislation, these coins were struck in a composition of 22 karat gold or 91.67% purity. At the time, other notable gold bullion coins contained the same purity. However, as the years went on, other world mints introduced bullion coins with greater fineness. In some instances these became more desirable for precious metals investors.

In 2006, the United States Mint introduced their answer to the question of bullion purity. The American Gold Buffalo was launched with a required composition of 24 karat gold or 99.99% fineness. The response from investors and collectors was immediate adulation. Sales were brisk in the opening days for the bullion coins and would surpass 300,000 by the end of the year. The proof version saw a similar level of success, with collectors ordering the coins heavily despite a high mark up to the intrinsic value.

The Gold Buffalo has now become a mainstay of the Mint’s stable of precious metals offerings. The one ounce bullion version has been released each year without fail and has typically sold 200,000 or more pieces per year. For each year, the Mint has also offered a one ounce proof version, which has experienced typically robust sales during the period of availability.

For a single year, the collectible line of offerings was vastly expanded by adding fractional weight coins and uncirculated versions bearing the “W” mint mark. The timing of the release unfortunately coincided with a severe economic downturn, which resulted in limited sales. As is often the case, these limited sales resulted in low mintages, which became desirable to collectors after the coins sold out. These 2008 Proof and Uncirculated Gold Buffalo coins are now viewed as important and expensive key dates to the ongoing series.

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