The United States Mint began sales of the 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo coins on May 19, 2011. This represented the earliest release date for the collector proof version of the coin for the entire series. After the past several years of struggling to meet demand for bullion coins and related impacts to collector offering, the US Mint finally seemed to be back on track.
As in the prior year, only a one ounce version of the coin was available for sale. Each coin was struck in .9999 fine or 24 karat gold and featured James Fraser’s classic design used on the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel. This collector favorite had first been revived in the modern era on the 2001 Buffalo Silver Dollar commemorative coin and was subsequently chosen as the initial design for the new 24 karat gold bullion and collector coin series known as the American Gold Buffalo.
For the start of sales, the 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo was priced at $1,760 per coin. This represented the highest initial pricing for a one ounce proof coin for the entire series to date. For the duration of the offering, pricing was subject to periodic adjustment, following the average market price of gold.
The US Mint did not set a maximum mintage for the product. Household ordering limits were not imposed.
In the first three days of availability, collectors purchased 5,782 of the Proof Gold Buffalo coins. This represented a significantly slower start than the prior two years. With the US Mint’s gold bullion situation and numismatic gold collector offerings under control, some of the urgency to purchase may have dissipated. The higher pricing and proliferation of other numismatic offerings may have also had an impact.
The 2011 Proof American Gold Buffalo remained available for the duration of the year, selling about 23,000 coins by December 31, 2011. Sales continued for the entire following year, finally concluding on December 31, 2012 at a final audited mintage of 28,683 pieces.
2011 Proof Gold Buffalo Specifications:
Mint Mark: W
Designer: James Earle Fraser
Composition: 24 karat (.9999 ) fine gold
Weight: 1.0001 troy ounce (31.1035 g)
Diameter: 1.287 inches (32.70 mm)
Thickness: 0.116 inches (2.95 mm)