2001 Buffalo Silver Dollar
The 2001 American Buffalo Silver Dollar is one of the most popular modern commemorative coins to have been issued by the United States Mint. The coins were intended to commemorate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution and sold out of the full authorized mintage. The proof and uncirculated coins continue to be viewed as collector favorites and remain in high demand.
The design for the coins is based on James Earle Fraser's classic images which appeared on the Buffalo Nickel issued for circulation from 1913 to 1938. The obverse design features the profile portrait of a Native American in headdress that was created based on a composite of real life models. The reverse contains the iconic image of an American Bison or "Buffalo" on a mound.
The commemorative coin program included both proof and uncirculated versions with a maximum mintage of 500,000 pieces across all product options. The proof coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint and contained the "P" mint mark on the reverse. The uncirculated coins were struck at the Denver Mint and contained the "D" mint mark.
Sales for the Buffalo Silver Dollar began at the United States Mint on June 7, 2001. Amidst heavy demand, a rapid sell out was achieved by June 21, 2001. This made the coin one of the most popular modern commemorative coins in history.
The American Buffalo Coin and Currency Set was also offered in conjunction with the program. This special set included the uncirculated version of the coin along with a replica of a Series 1899 $5 Silver Certificate and two USPS postage stamps. The replica note and stamps contained images of the buffalo. The sets were limited to only 50,000 units and also sold out quickly.
Across all product options, the proof coin had a final mintage of 272,869 pieces and the uncirculated coin had a final mintage of 227,131 pieces.
Collectors can still find the 2001 American Buffalo Silver Dollars in the original US Mint packaging or as included in the Coin and Currency Set. Many coins can also be found in certified third party holders with a grade assigned. Coins which have received the top grade of MS70 or Proof 70 from PCGS or NGC command premiums.