US Coins

2008-W American Buffalo perfect strike hits $5,391

The U.S. Mint has put out a dizzying array of products in the past decade as it works to service congressionally mandated programs — such as the First Spouse gold $10 bullion coins, the Presidential dollar coin program and commemorative coin issues — while adding products that require no congressional authorization but are specifically developed for a numismatic audience. Examples of the latter include the 2009 Ultra High Relief gold $20 coin and the 2015-W American Liberty gold $100 coin.

Another hectic release for the U.S. MintAnother botched release from the United States Mint: Inside Coin World: The release of the Congratulations set adds to the narrative that the U.S. Mint needs to overhaul its approach to limited-edition releases.

Whether it’s missing edge lettering on small-sized dollars (an error) or unusually Prooflike examples of modern gold issues, collectors find ways to differentiate some modern coins from the herd and pay appropriate premiums for them.

Here is the first of three modern yet valuable coins that we profile in this Market Analysis:

The Lot:

2008-W American Buffalo 1-ounce gold $50 coin, Mint State 70, First Strike label

The Price:


The Story:

The American Buffalo .9999 fine gold bullion coin program started in 2006, the U.S. Mint’s first offering of a 24-karat gold coin. In 2008, the Mint began producing an Uncirculated version for collectors with a W Mint mark of the West Point  Mint above the date on the obverse. The Uncirculated (unofficially called Burnished Uncirculated sometimes) 2008-W American Buffalo 1-ounce $50 gold coin has a relatively low mintage of 9,074 and examples in all Mint State grades command a sizable premium.

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PCGS has graded nearly all of its submissions of this issue at either MS-69 or MS-70. At a March 19 GreatCollections auction, the online auctioneer sold a PCGS First Strike MS-70 example for $5,391.10. It was a strong price considering that Heritage sold a comparably certified example for $4,230 this past February. The PCGS First Strike program designates coins shipped in the first 30 days of a Mint release.

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