The Gold American Buffalo Coins are the first bullion gold coins struck in 24k, .9999 fine gold, by the United States Mint. $50 Buffalo Gold Coins are the official 24 k gold bullion coins of the U.S., and are guaranteed by the government for weight and purity. First minted on June 22, 2006, these coins weigh in at 1 troy ounce, and carry a $50 face value.
The American Gold Buffalo Coins were authorized through the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, and utilized a modified version of James Earle Fraser's design for the Buffalo Nickel. It was said that the American Bison pictured in the design is Black Diamond, a bison who resided in the New York City Central Park Zoo during the 1910s. Fraser had someone distract the buffalo so that he could capture the side portrait he desired for the drawing.
The coin's obverse features a Native American, which Fraser said he designed from a combination of features of three different chiefs of American Indian tribes. The chiefs Big Tree, Iron Tail and Two Moons posed as models for Fraser's drawing.
Previous American gold coins were traditionally 22 karats, and had a fineness of .9167. A mix of gold, copper and silver was used to give gold coins the durability required for mass circulation. The American Gold Buffalo represents the first largely circulated 99.99% pure gold coin in U.S. Mint history.