The American Gold Buffalo was first offered for sale by the United States Mint on June 22, 2006. The American Gold Buffalo, also known as a gold buffalo, is a 24-karat bullion coin whose design is modeled after the popular Indian Head nickel.
Its nickname stems from the American Bison on the reverse side of the coin. The coin marks the first time ever that the United States Government minted pure (.9999) 24-karat gold coins for the public.
In regards to its design, the Native American depiction on the coin’s obverse is thought to be a compilation of three men. Before his death, James Earle Fraser, the designer of the Indian Head Nickel, said he created the depiction as a mixture of the features of three chiefs from different American Indian tribes, Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons, who posed as models for him to sketch.
Experts believe that the bison on the coin’s reverse was modeled after Black Diamond, an American Bison (of buffalo) who lived in New York City Central Park Zoo during the 1910s. The coin also possesses the words E PLURIBUS UNUM above the buffalo’s lower back and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along the top.
The coin has a legal tender or face value of US$50. The value of the coin has steadily increased due to both its popularity and the increase in the price of gold since its release.
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