To characterize the hobby’s reaction to the Reverse Proof 2013-W
American Buffalo 1-ounce gold $50 coins as a stampede is all too easy,
The coin was immensely popular, selling an estimated 47,836 coins
during the sales period of a little more than four weeks, according to
final but unaudited figures provided to Coin World by the United
States Mint (as of Dec. 17).
Sales of the coin opened at noon Eastern Time Aug. 8.
Many purchasers of the Reverse Proof gold coins earned a few
hundred dollars in profits, all by waiting in line for the coins
during the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money near
Chicago in mid-August.
The United States Mint offered 2,000 of the gold coins at its
booth during two days of sales at the show (Aug. 13 and Aug. 16).
Buyers at the show were the first to take physical delivery of the
coins, making those 2,000 coins “first to market.” Buyers were limited
to three or five coins, depending on which day they purchased the
coin, and most purchased the limit.
Dealers offered buyers immediate profits of $50 to $100 and more
per coin. In turn, dealers submitted coins to grading companies
Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and Professional Coin Grading Service, which
both offered special labels identifying slabbed examples as having
been sold at the show. High-grade examples of the coins quickly began
trading at premiums over the Mint’s Aug. 13 price of $1,640 per coin.
Within days, Proof 70 coins with the special show labels were selling
for prices ranging from $2,400 to $4,000.
The Mint’s prices for the Reverse Proof gold coins were subject to
change weekly according to the Mint pricing grid for precious metals
coins based on the London PM fix for the spot price of gold.
As the spot price of gold increased, the U.S. Mint upped the sale
price of the coins by $50 on Aug. 16, charging $1,690 per coin. The
price subsequently was increased another $50 per coin on Aug. 21, to
$1,740, which remained in effect until the close of sales at 5 p.m. on
Struck in .9999 fine gold at the West Point Mint and bearing the W
Mint mark, the Reverse Proof American Buffalo is produced in the same
manner as a traditional Proof coin.
However, unlike the traditional Proof coin, which exhibits a
mirror-like background and frosted design elements, the Reverse Proof
coin has a frosted background and mirror-like design elements. ■