Mint warns collectors: Don’t get buffaloed

Wednesday September 05, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Mint warned collectors of its new American buffalo commemorative silver dollars Tuesday to make sure they bought the real thing. 

As replicas of the popular silver dollars have been made by private companies, confusion among collectors has arose, the Mint said. 

The buffalo coin made by the Mint and authorized by Congress contains a number of features collectors should look for, the Mint said. They are: the year 2001 and the artist’s initial “F” for James Earle Fraser on the front of the coin, which features the face of an American Indian. On the back is an image of a buffalo, the one dollar denomination and the mark “P” for Philadelphia, where the coin was made. 

Images on the Mint’s buffalo silver dollars are not protected by copyright, and therefore are susceptible to copying by private mints, the Mint said. 

All 500,000 of the Mint’s coins quickly sold out.  



A decision hasn’t been made on whether another 500,000 should be made. The Mint sold the coins for as much as $33 a piece, with $10 from each sale going to the Smithsonian Institution to build a National Museum of the American Indian. 

People generally buy such coins to collect them. However, the Mint’s commemorative coins also are legal tender, meaning people could choose to spend them. 

In one instance, an owner of a Mint-made buffalo silver dollar returned it to the Mint, claiming that a private company, the National Collector’s Mint, sold the same item for $9.95, the Mint said. 

The Mint said the majority of consumer inquiries it has received involving replicas of the buffalo silver dollars stem from advertisements made by the National Collector’s Mint. 


On the Net: 

U.S. Mint: http://www.usmint.gov/