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No stampede for proof Buffaloes

With the news that the U.S. Mint has no more 2010 one-ounce Buffalo gold bullion coins for sale, will that have an impact on demand for the proof collector version of the coin as collectors fear an imminent close there as well?

It's possible, but the evidence is not compelling.

In 2010, the Mint sold 209,000 of the bullion Buffalo at a fairly leisurely pace from April until Sept. 23. There was never any evidence in the market that demand for the coins was running ahead of available supply.

A similar story can be written about the pace of proof Buffalo sales, which started June 3. The pace of sales also has been rather leisurely – so far.

This week the Mint reports sales of an additional 1,755 proof Buffaloes, bringing the running total to 33,651.

That weekly number is not particularly out of line for results in recent weeks. The numbers from the prior four weeks were 1,301, 678, 1,280 and 2,167, respectively.

The news of the bullion coin sellout before the end of the calendar year, or at least prior to the usual December availability end date, can create an impression of pending scarcity and a sense of urgency for anyone interested in the proof coin. But being possible is not the same thing as being likely.

Gold bullion setting new records day by day can magnify the sense of urgency among proof coin buyers.

After all, if you are going to buy the proof, why pay more later?

What will the final proof total be? Last year it was 49,388. Knowledge of that might keep weekly proof Buffalo sales in the slow lane no matter what the price of gold does.