On June 14, the US Mint issued a press release inviting the media “to get a rare glimpse inside the United States Mint at West Point, New York, on Tuesday, June 20, 2006, to see the Nation’s first 24-karat, pure gold (.9999% fineness) one-ounce coin, the American Buffalo, being minted in both investor bullion and collectible proof versions at an official strike ceremony. A tour of the United States Mint, which will include its store of gold bars, will follow the ceremony.”

The American Buffalo 24-Karat Gold Coin program was authorized under Public Law 109-145 [GPO: text/pdf] that required the Mint to use the James Earle Fraser Type 1 Buffalo Nickel design to produce a coin containing one ounce of .9999 fine gold purchased from US sources. The law requires the Mint to strike and issue the coins within six months of enacting the law. The press release says that the sale of these coins will being at noon on June 22, 2006.

As with the American Eagle Bullion program, the Mint will sell uncirculated coins through pre-approved Authorized Purchasers. Uncirculated coins will be priced according to the current spot price of gold plus a small premium. Collectors will be able to purchase proof coins directly from the Mint and will be priced at $875.

This is one time I wish I was a member of the media since they will be allowed into the West Point branch mint that is usually closed to the public. Nicknamed “The Fort Knox of Silver,&rdquo it should make for a very interesting tour. I hope the numismatic media takes and publishes many pictures of their tour so they can share the experience!

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