Precious Metals

New packaging for American Buffalo gold bullion

American Buffalo $50 gold bullion coins will now be packaged in 20-coin tubes with orange caps and put into orange "Monster Boxes" containing a total of 500 coins instead of being packaging in heat-sealed plastic sheets.

Gold coin for Coin World photography courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corp; packaging image courtesy of U.S. Mint.

The West Point Mint began packaging 2016 American Buffalo gold bullion coins in tubes similar to what is used for American Eagle bullion coins for pickup by the U.S. Mint’s authorized purchasers.

The packaging change is pursuant to provisions of Public Law 114-94 enacted in December.

From the time of their introduction in June 2006 until the May 4 announcement of the packaging change, the American Buffalo 1-ounce .999 fine gold coins were packaged in compartmentalized soft sheets of clear plastic, 20 coins to a sheet, 25 sheets to a 500-coin box.

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The bullion coins are picked up at the West Point Mint by the authorized purchasers for further shipment.

According to a May 4 U.S. Mint memo to the authorized purchasers, the American Buffalo gold coins will now be packaged in tubes and a hard plastic outer protective case. 

Each box will hold 25 tubes of 20 coins per tube. In total, each box will contain 500 ounces of American Buffalo gold bullion coins.

The outer protective plastic case will be orange to distinguish it from the other bullion coin boxes used for shipping American Eagles. The tube cap will also be orange.

The change was made not only as a cost savings and to attain uniformity in bullion coin packaging, but also to minimize damage to the coins, since the 24-karat American Buffalo coins are softer than the 22-karat gold American Eagles.

Previous requirements

Provisions of the enabling act that authorized the American Buffalo gold $50 coin — Title II of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, Public Law 109-145 — had required that the bullion coins be packaged in different packaging from that used for Proof coins. Proof coins are packaged in individual hard plastic coin capsules as are intermittent versions with special finishes. 

The bullion versions, however, had been secured in heat-sealed plastic sheets of 20 coins each to protect them from damage. The sheets were then stacked on top of one another and packed in quantities of 500 coins per box. 

On Dec. 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” or the “FAST Act,” otherwise known as Public Law 114-94.

In that law, a provision referencing the American Buffalo gold bullion coins deleted the requirement in 31 U.S.C. § 5112 that these coins be sold in an inexpensive protective covering. The Mint may now sell these 24-karat coin in the same manner as the 22-karat American Eagle gold coins.

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