In addition to requiring a presidential dollar coin series to begin in 2007 and redesigning the cent in 2009, the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 mandated the production of a one-ounce 24-karat gold bullion coin with a face value of $50, and a mintage limit of up to 300,000 coins.
On the American Buffalo coin, the mound area of the reverse with the words "FIVE CENTS" has been changed to read "$50 1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD". Also, the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST", appearing on all U.S. gold coins since 1908, can be seen on the reverse to the left of and beneath the buffalo's head.
After a long wait by both collectors and investors, the uncirculated version of the American Buffalo gold piece was made available to coin dealers on June 20 2006. Collectors who wanted to purchase the proof version from the mint were given the opportunity to place their orders with the Mint beginning on July 22. The 2006 proof quality coin has a strict mintage limit of 300,000, with an additional enforced limit of only ten (10) coins per household. The catalog number of the 2006 proof coin at the US Mint is (BA6).
The coin was created in order to compete with foreign 24-karat gold bullion coins. Since investors usually prefer 99.99% pure gold over the 91.67% gold used in the American Gold Eagle, many were choosing non-US coins, such as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, to meet their bullion needs. With the American Buffalo coin, the U.S. government hopes to increase the amount of U.S. gold sales and cash in on the 24-karat sales, which makes up about 60% of the world gold market.
On September 26, 2008 the U.S. Mint announced it is temporarily halting sales of the American Buffalo coins because it can't keep up with soaring demand as investors seek the safety of gold amid the current economic turbulence
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