I've previously posted about the Coinage and Currency Sets for the 1994 Thomas Jefferson silver dollar, the 1997 Botanic Garden silver dollar and the 2004 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial silver dollar. You can view them via the following links:
- Jefferson C&C Set
- Botanic Garden C&C Set
- Lewis & Clark C&C Set
Tonight, I present a discussion of the 2001 American Buffalo Coin and Currency Set.
The American Buffalo C&C Set was the third such set produced by the US Mint; it followed the C&C Sets for the Thomas Jefferson and Botanic Garden silver dollars. As one would guess from the name of the set, it was a collaboration between the US Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) - printers of our currency; though the American Buffalo C&C Set also includes stamps, the United States Postal Service (USPS) wasn't listed as an official collaborator for the set. From what I've learned, the stamps included in the set were purchased by the Mint in the marketplace vs. being provided by the USPS.
The set went on sale on June 7, 2001, the same date as the opening of individual coin sales, and sold out its 50,000 unit limit in just five days. The entire available mintage of the American Buffalo silver dollars - 500,000 between proof and uncirculated versions - sold out in a mere two weeks! Collectors were certainly enthusiastic about the release!
It should be noted that in 2001, the Mint's web site was not yet the primary tool for ordering its products. While telephone and mail order sales opened on Thursday, June 7th, the Mint did not begin accepting orders via its web site until noon on Monday, June 11th. Those who waited to use the Mint's web site were still able to order the C&C Set, but had to act quickly to avoid being shut out. One advantage to waiting to use the web site, however, was that orders placed online were shipped for free! (Of course, the free shipping incentive for using the web system was discontinued years ago!)
The quick five-day sellout of the Coin and Currency Set was not altogether surprising, however, as the C&C sets that had preceded it had proved popular with collectors and had established a "quick sellout" precedent. One could say that nickel collectors were the drivers of sales for the first three C&C sets, the American Buffalo Set included. The sales of 1994 and 1997 sets were driven by the special-finish nickels that they included; sales of the American Buffalo set were driven by the popularity of Fraser's nickel designs used on the silver dollar.
The American Buffalo C&C Set includes an uncirculated example of the silver dollar, two mint US stamps and a replica of the front of the Series 1899 $5.00 silver certificate. All of the numismatic and philatelic items are enclosed in an informative, well-designed folder which is accompanied by a booklet that provides even more information; both are stored in an attractive, full-color slipcase that shares the same design/theme.
The obverse and reverse designs on the silver dollar are recreations of James Earle Fraser
's designs for the Indian Head five-cent coin (i.e., Buffalo nickel
) that was produced from 1913 through 1938.
Fraser is believed to have created the obverse's right-facing portrait of a Native American after having three Native American chiefs sit for him as models.
In 1938, Fraser, discussing the models for the obverse of the nickel, recalled "the profile is a composite of three plains Indians - a Sioux, a Kiowa and a Cheyenne. The three Indians were Iron Tail, a Sioux, Big Tree, a Kiowa, and Two Moons, a Cheyenne."
The silver dollar's reverse is that of a bison standing on a mound.(I'm planning a post on the individual American Buffalo silver dollar and will go into more detail regarding the coin's designs and models there.)
The set also includes a replica of the front of a Series 1899 $5 Indian Chief silver certificate; the note features a portrait of Running Antelope (Ta-to-ka-in-yna-ka) of the Sioux tribe. The bill is the only US note for which an American Indian serves as the primary design element. The note is very popular among collectors of paper money and market values easily cross the $1,000 mark for notes in nice XF or better condition.
Prior to the 2001 C&C Set, collectors who could not afford one of the actual notes could purchase two BEP souvenir cards - one from the 1977 American Numismatic Association ( ANA
) Convention held in Atlanta, GA and one from the 1988 International Paper Money Show (IPMS) held in Memphis, TN - to get the front and back designs of the Indian Chief note. Of course, the notes printed on the souvenir cards are incomplete - they do not have the serial numbers or signatures printed on them, for example - but they do provide nice clean examples of the artwork.
The 10-cent stamp included is from the USPS' 1987 Great American Series; it features a portrait of Red Cloud, a warrior and leader of the Ogalala Sioux. The stamp's design was the work of Richard Sheaff and Bradbury Thompson. The 21-cent definitive stamp was a new release of the USPS, being issued in February 2001. It features a left-facing American Bison silhouetted against a bright and shining setting sun.
The C&C Set's outer sleeve, the cover of its coin/replica note/stamps folder and the cover of the booklet included with the set all feature the same design/artwork. At the left is a close up view of the ornate bead work found on an Ojibwe band-oiler bag that is part of the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian. (I've included an image of the full bag below for comparison.) In the background, behind the patch presenting the set's title is a portion of a painting by Native American artist George Washakie (a Shoshone) which depicts a Shoshone Sun Dance Ceremony.
As with the booklets included with prior C&C Sets, the one in the American Buffalo set is colorful, well-written, nicely illustrated and full of great information about the pieces included in the set as well as the subject matter in general. Section headings within the booklet are: The American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar, American Indians and Buffalo on US coins, The American Buffalo in History and Legend, Native American Peoples, American Indians and Buffalo on US Postage Stamps, The Series 1899 $5 Indian Chief Silver Certificate
and National Museum of the American Indian.
The introductory issue price of the C&C Set was $54.95; the price included a $10 surcharge that was earmarked for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).
In early 2002, the NMAI provided the Mint with the appropriate paperwork to demonstrate that it had raised the necessary matching funds for it to receive the surcharge funds collected from the American Buffalo coin sales. As a result, the Mint transferred the full $5M it collected in surcharges to the Museum.
The 2001 American Buffalo silver dollar used to be one of the few issues within the modern US commemorative silver dollar series that commanded a significant premium on the secondary market. Today, while it still holds a premium over its issue price, the going rate for a 2001 American Buffalo silver dollar, in either proof or uncirculated, has dropped noticeably from levels near $200 to less than $100 (unless the coin in question is a PF-70 or MS-70 coin in a PCGS
holder). The Coin and Currency Set has also dropped, with patient buyers able to acquire the set at sub-$100 levels. So, now's a good time to buy one of the sets if it has been on your want list!
Hope you enjoyed the read!2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Slipcase - Front2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Slipcase - Back2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Coin Folder - Front Cover2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Coin Folder - Inside Cover2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Coin Folder - Coin / Obverse Panel2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Coin Folder - Coin / Reverse Panel2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Coin Folder - Note Panel2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Coin Folder - Back Cover2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Booklet - Inside Cover Page2001 American Buffalo C&C Set: Booklet - Museum Description Page - with the Band-oiler Bag