The American Buffalo carries the design of the famous five-cent nickel buffalo coin
James Earle Fraser, one of America’s most famous sculptors of the early 20th century, originally created the chosen design for the gold American Buffalo coin. The original design was used for the copper – nickel five-cent coin that was minted and issued between 1913 and 1938 in the United States. It would take almost 70 years for this iconic coin design to be used once again on a circulating coin, only this time on a gold bullion coin. Besides making the original distinctive design for the gold Buffalo coin, Fraser also created several of America’s most prominent public monuments, such as the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in Philadelphia and the Arts of Peace in Washington D.C.
The American Buffalo represents North American Heritage
The American Bison which is portrayed on the obverse of the American Buffalo coin is a species that once roamed freely on the grasslands of North America. Due to the excessive commercial hunting of the American Bison, also referred to as the American Buffalo, the animal was almost wiped out in the 19th century in the United States. Luckily, the species has recently made a comeback thanks to a few national parks and restricted private reserves.
The US West Point Mint
By witnessing the growing popularity of other countries’ 24 karat gold bullion coins, of which Canada’s Maple Leaf and Austria’s Philharmonic gold coins are good examples, the United States Mint decided to issue for the first time in its history its own version of a .9999 fine legal tender gold coin. Until 2006, the only American legal tender gold bullion coin available for purchase was the gold American Eagle which, unlike the Gold Buffalo, is a 22 karat coin and is made of gold and a copper - silver alloy. The introduction of the gold American Buffalo coin was also a historical moment for the United States Mint which for the first time issued two separate legal tender gold coins that contained different gold purities.