Since I like to collect Buffalo nickels
and silver bullion, I thought merging the two pursuits would prove interesting. So, for the past month or so, I've been accumulating samples of 1 oz buffalo rounds - mostly silver, some copper. I've learned a few things, knowledge for which I'd like to impart to those who may or may not want to know. Also, I'd like to draw on the vast knowledge of the forum to increase my knowledge. I will summarize what I've found in this and subsequent posts. Numista web-site has similar info but not the exactly the same as what I've found. There may be more subtle design sub-versions other than I'm showing. So far, I have prepared 17 design styles / mint offerings. I did not post each version of dated rounds, if the rest of the design remained the same. I also didn't post versions that are expensive. Please add additional info or species as you see fit. I will add more if and when I continue research. Biggest problem I have - remembering most of these are just bullion, so resist paying large premiums to get a sample. Darn OCD - I'm probably the only one collecting these.
#1 - Silvertowne
design style Silvertowne
is a mint located in Indiana. I call this the Silvertowne
design but I'm not sure if other mints may have used this design as well. I've seen dated rounds as far back as 2001. I haven't seen any dated examples since 2017. Numista says 2001 - 2016. One undated version has the Silvertowne
"pick-axe" mint mark at bottom of braid. There is also an undated version without that mint mark. I've also seen fractional versions of this design. They also make a 1 oz "stacker" design. Although they will stack, I wonder if, with those sharp edges, they will scratch other coins easily if one isn't careful
Undated with Pick-Axe Mint Mark Obverse
#2 - Highland design style
Highland mint (located in Florida) offers dated and undated versions. Highland marks their rounds with the "HM" mint mark. I wish all the mints marked their coins. I've seen the dated versions 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2019. There are two reverse types. 2013 looks like type 1 only. 2014 can be either type. 2015 and 2019 are type 2 only. The undated versions can be type 1 or type 2. I also found a 2015 type 3 version of the reverse that has the word "copy" on the buffalo mound. I've also seen fractional versions from Highland.
Type 1 Reverse
Type 2 Reverse
Type 3 Obverse & Reverse
#3 - Golden State Mint design style
Golden State Mint (Florida) clearly marks their coins. Many have "Golden State Mint" written directly on them. Some have the GSM mint mark. I believe they are all not dated. GSM makes a version for Provident. This version has both the GSM mint mark (Buffalo's mouth) and the Provident symbol (Buffalo's front left leg). Golden State Mint also makes fractional sizes.
Provident Version Obverse
Provident Version Reverse
#4 - Asahi / Republic Metals design style
Republic Metals Corp (RMC) made undated regular and reverse proof designs. They use the RMC mint mark. They went out of business in 2018 ($110 million of missing inventory - someone has a stash somewhere) and were taken over by Asahi. Asahi also issued regular and reverse proof versions with their mint mark. Designs look similiar.
RMC Reverse Proof Obverse
RMC Reverse Proof Reverse
Asahi Reverse Proof Obverse
Asahi Reverse Proof Reverse
#5 - Elemetal design style
Elemetal made a buffalo round with radial lines in the field. The company is out of business after some legal issues in 2018 concerning money laundering. Provident was its parent company, so I'm sure they are glad it's over. Elemetal marks the rounds with their mint mark (below mound on reverse).
#6 - Sunshine Mint design style
Sunshine Mint make a buffalo silver round with the SMI mint mark and an anti-counterfeiting feature on the reverse. If you use a special (expensive) decoder lens, you will see the word "valid" or a sunburst, depending on the angle of the lens to the coin. I haven't been able to find any pictures or samples of the SMI silver buffalo rounds made without the new mint mark.
#7- Regency Mint design style
Regency Mint is a private mint in Utah. It makes a buffalo silver round with the "RM" mint mark. Also, it has a "C" below the mound which I presume stands for "copywrite." Regency Mint is the parent company of QSB.
Regency Mint Obverse
Regency Mint Reverse
#8 - National Collectors' Mint design style
National Collectors Mint is a company with which one must be careful. Read the product descriptions carefully. "The proof coin is clad in pure 0.999 silver." Translation: The coin is not silver and has very little intrinsic value. NCM has made dated buffalo rounds since 2001. I didn't check for date continuity to 2019. They make gold plated rounds too, they also have no intrinsic value. They do have coins that are made of silver. They will be stamped with the purity and weight. However, because of the misleading info on the non-silver coins, I personally will not be collecting any (maybe). The coins typically have "copy" and a serial number stamped below the indian head bust. They also make a larger 1 oz silver round, which I have not shown. Incidentally, just because coins have "copy" on them doesn't mean they are not silver. They are just complying to the Hobby Protection Act.
NCM - Silver Plated! Obverse
NCM - Silver Plated! Reverse
NCM Silver Obverse
NCM Silver Reverswe
#9 - Monarch Precious Metals design style
Monarch Precious Metals is a mint located in Oregon. They make a regular buffalo round and a high-relief buffalo round. Their mint mark is a crown made with MPM on the reverse. Monarch also makes some fractional sizes.
MPM High Relief Obverse
MPM High Relief Reverse
#10 - Osborn Mint design style
Osborn Mint makes a silver buffalo round as part of their American Legacy Collection. Their mint mark is an o and an m separated by a horizontal line. In this case, there is no buffalo. Both sides are indian heads. It's dated 1913.
Osborne Mint Obverse
Osborne Mint Reverse
#11 - Quality Silver Bullion design style
Quality Silver Bullion is a mint located in Utah. Their mint mark is QSB. They also have a "C" on both sides of the round which I presume stands for "copywrite." Regency Mint is the parent company of QSB.
#12 - Great American Mint design style
Great American Mint (GRAMMCO) is a refinery and mint in California that makes both dated and undated silver buffalo rounds. The dated ones may or may not have a mint mark, "GA." The date may be on the obverse or reverse. I'm not sure how many dates have been made. I only have 2014 and 2015. The design looks a little like the Silvertowne
design but, among other things, note that the ground the buffalo is standing on doesn't go all the way across the coin.
GRAMMCO Updated Obverse
GRAMMCO Undated Reverse
GRAMMCO - 2014 Obverse
GRAMMCO - 2014 Reverse
GRAMMCO - 2015 Obverse
GRAMMCO- 2015 Reverse
#13 - CNT design style
Coins and Things (CNT) was a family run business that turned into a multi-billion dollar company. It's in Massachusetts. They don't use a mint mark. Their design looks like most others; however, the purity is 0.9999.
#14 - North Texas Refinery design style
North Texas Refinery (NTR) was a subsidiary of Elemetal, located in Texas. I'm not sure if NTR is still open and producing buffalo rounds, but they did at one time. They were embroiled in the money laundering crime at Elemetal. NTR doesn't date the round or have a mint mark.
#15 - Provident Zombuff design style
This was a coin distributed by Provident as #3 of 10 in their Zombucks series. I guess zombies collect coins too. The coins were sold in 2014, even though they are dated 2018.
#16 - Jet Bullion design style
BGASC issued a buffalo round through their Jet Bullion company in 2017. It doesn't look like the 1 oz version is still in productoin. I have no picture of this coin but it is clearly marked with the "JET" mint mark on the reverse and "DESIGN COPY" is shown in the buffalo mound on the reverse.
#17 - Mason Mint design style
Mason Mint is in Connecticut. They can use the MM mint mark. I have another style where the company says they are from Mason Mint but they do not have a mint mark. They are undated.
Mason Mint Reverse and Obverse
Mason Mint Alternate Obverse
Mason Mint Alternate Obverse
#18 - Unidentified Silver Bullion Rounds
Maybe someone can help identify these:
USBR #1 Obverse (One Troy Ounce Written Where Date Usually Is)
USBR #1 Reverse
USBR #2 Obverse (unique indian, seems only 2013 exists) One place on web says this is from Mason Mint, but I need more confirmation.
USBR #2 Reverse
USBR #3 Obverse
USBR #3 Reverse
USBR #4 Obverse (has "L" mint mark) I determined that this is a variant of the Regency/QSB design. I sent an email to both companies to ask what the "L" stands for. Right now, my guesses are L, for Charles Little, the owner, or LDS for latter day saints. It is also possible they made a custom design for someone.
USBR #4 Reverse
USBR #5 Obverse (similar to #1 but doesn't have weight stamped)
USBR #5 Reverse
USBR #6 Obverse - 2018 has "COPY" on reverse
USBR #6 Reverse