Certified Uncirculated Gold Buffalo Coins

Certified Uncirculated Gold Buffalo Coins

Due to the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, the US Mint was mandated to produce a 24-karat gold coin that carries the legal tender value of $50 and has a mintage limit up to 300,000 coins. Going down in history as the first 24-karat gold coin to be produced by the US Mint, the American Gold Buffalo Coin was first released in the Summer of 2006. The design is rooted in American history, inspired by the Indian Head Nickel design of 1913. James Earle Fraser is the artist responsible for such a stunning coin design, meeting an American bison in real life, just to draw it portrait. Black Diamond is the American Bison used as a model for the buffalo design. It has been recorded Fraser needed to constantly distract the beast, while drawing its portrait, to contain the side profile view, due to the bison wanting to constantly look forward.

Design of the American Gold Buffalo

The Buffalo depiction was originally designed by the famous sculptor, James Earle Fraser. Although the name might be unfamiliar, Fraser's work is evident all throughout US history, including memorials and monuments. Fraser's background is important to his work, since many of his sculptures have to do with the Native Americans. James Earle Fraser grew up in Minnesota, where his father worked for the American railroad companies. During his childhood, Fraser fully embraced the frontier life but noticed how the Native Americans were being constantly pushed West and/or confined to their reservations. This sad truth led to some of Fraser's most popular works, including his famous poignant sculpture titled, "The End of the Trail." This sculpture depicts an exhausted Native American, slouching on his horse, carrying the weight of the injustices done to his people.

Sheldon Numeric Scale

As most coin collectors and numismatists know, a coin can be a considered brilliant uncirculated or proof, but that's just the beginning of identifying a coin's value. Dr. William Sheldon was an American psychologist by trade and a numismatist as a hobby. In 1948, Sheldon developed the Sheldon Numeric Scale, which became the foundation of grading and certifying coins. The Sheldon Numeric Scale dictates that a coin's condition can fall between 1 and 70. Before this groundbreaking system, coins were graded mostly by physical appearance and could receive one of three grades.

When purchasing a Certified American Gold Eagle, there is information provided on the coin holder that is important to know. The first thing to notice is the coin's strike type:

  • MS: Short for "Mint-State;" refers to coins that have never been in circulation and are the same condition as when they were originally produced. Mint State coins will receive a grade ranging from 60-70 on the Sheldon Numeric Scale.
  • PF/PR: Abbreviation for "Proof;" refers to the method of coin manufacture, made for eye appeal among collectors.
  • SP: A "specimen" coin is a combination of strike type (somewhere in the middle of Mint State and Proof).

A Certified American Gold Eagle (or any certified bullion coin) will most likely come in one of two grades:

  • MS/PF70: Bullion coins that have kept their original mint luster and contain zero post production flaws.
  • MS/PF69: Bullion coins that contain 2 or less minute imperfections but still carry their original mint luster.

Grading Agencies

There are many coin grading agencies out there but only two that are revered worldwide. The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) are two companies that issue coins their grades. These companies not only certify coins, but they also encase the graded coin into an official holder, preserving the coin and marking the holder with its earned grade. This alone has changed the coin collecting game, while also offering a peace of mind for collectors and investors.

These companies also offer special programs for newly minted coins:

  • First Strike: PCGS term designates coins that have been certified within the first 30 days of production by the contributing mint.
  • Early Release: NGC term designates coins that have been certified within the first 30 days of production by the contributing mint.
  • UCAM/DCAM: Shortened for Ultra-Cameo and Deep-Cameo, these terms refer to the coin's visual brilliance that is apparent on the surface by an unyielding, frosted finish and a deeply mirrored background luster.

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