2020 was a banner year for gold, which in early August for the first time reached above $2,000 due to a combination of factors including especially ultra-low U.S. interest rates that were actually negative when factoring in inflation, federal government plans for economic stimulus to help offset the economic impact of COVID-19 when millions lost their jobs and very strong demand for gold during the pandemic with physical supplies becoming hard to find.
For the year gold was up almost 25%, increasing from $1520 in January to $1895 in December. The average closing price for 2020 was $1773.73. Normally, rising gold prices tend to dampen sales of gold bullion coins as investors try to buy when spot is lower, but the strongly bullish sentiment for gold then combined with a sharp rise in demand and in the premiums on physical gold instead pushed sales of U.S. Mint gold coins up sharply that year.
Sales of the 2020 American Buffalo Gold Coin (Buy on eBay) started off in January at a respectable level of 21,000 and then got stronger as the year went on, reaching a very impressive level of 65,000 in March – the month when the pandemic really began for most people. Sales were also strong in July-August and October-November reaching between 20-30,000 for those periods. For the year total bullion sales were an amazing 242,000, which were almost four times the level of 2019, or an increase of about 400%!
The 2020-W Proof American Buffalo Gold Coin (Buy on eBay) went on sale on April 9 with no order, mintage or product limit for a debut price of $2,315. The coin was no longer sold in the larger hardwood display boxes used since the coin began in 2006 and was instead housed in a smaller, brown leatherette presentation case with the Mint logo embossed on it. First reported sales were 5,104, which was almost identical to the amount in 2019.
Production of this coin was temporarily suspended at the West Point Mint starting on April 15, 2020 and lasted for several weeks when pandemic protocols forced the Mint to shut the branch mint down to protect employees and implement special safety procedures.
The coin sold a yearly total of just 11,887 coins when it sold out in early May, and it was last offered for a price of $2,615. It seems clear that sales of the 2020 Proof were dampened by rising gold prices, which when combined with increasing premiums charged by the Mint, pushed the retail price of the coin to higher and higher levels.
2020 Gold Buffalo Specifications:
Bullion Mintage: 242,000
Proof Mintage: 11,887
Mint Mark: none (bullion), W (Proof)
Designer: James Earle Fraser
Composition: 24 karat (.9999) fine gold
Weight: 1.0001 troy ounces (31.1035 grams)
Diameter: 0.116 inches (32.70 mm)