A Valuable Coin
The American Buffalo Gold Coin is a 24-karat gold bullion coin also referred to as the gold buffalo coin. Although this gold coin is based on the famous Indian Head nickel with the American Bison on the back side of the coin, this bold American Buffalo Gold Coin was first put up for sale in 2006, making it the first coin to ever be minted for public using pure 24-karat gold. When the coin first came out in 2006, the proof coin was valued at $800. Today the gold buffalo has a face value of $50. The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 was responsible for the production of this coin by requiring a coin be made with a face value of $50 and content of one ounce of 24-karat gold. There were only 300,000 gold buffalo coins minted, making them a real collector's treasure.
Design of the American Buffalo Gold Coin
The American Buffalo Gold Coin got its design from the original Indian Head nickel, which was designed by James Earl Fraser in 1913. The only changes made to the original nickel were to reduce some of the mound of dirt that's below the buffalo's feet on the reverse side of the coin. The design of the Indian Head nickel is considered as one of the best designs to ever be used on any U.S. coins.
The front of the coin has a Native American facing right with a feather in his head. The word LIBERTY is on the upper right of the coin and the date is on the lower left almost resting on his shoulder. Fraser had three different men- Chief Big Tree, Chief Iron Tail and Chief Two Moons- pose for him while the coin was designed. Fraser took some of the features of all three for the design. The reverse side of the coin has an American Bison.
Legion has it that the Bison was from the Central Park Zoo in New York City and was named Black Diamond. Another story involving the Bison was that Fraser had to have someone distract the animal so he could draw the design in the position he was trying to achieve rather than having the bison staring at him. It was the extreme popularity and value of the original Indian Head nickel that made using it for the American Buffalo Gold Coin such a great idea.
Differences between the Nickel and the Fifty Dollar Piece
The similarities between the Indian Head nickel and the American Buffalo Gold Coin have helped to make this fifty dollar piece even more popular. However, there are some differences in the two designs. The nickel has the words FIVE CENTS on the bottom of the reverse side whereas the fifty dollar piece reads $50 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD. The famous words that have been on gold coins since 1908, IN GOD WE TRUST, are on the reverse of the gold coin below and to the left of the buffalo's head.