Precious Metals

Top 10: Reverse Proof American Buffalo profitable

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, but true.

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 Sept. 5.

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. ¦

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