The American Buffalo gold bullion coins are struck by the United States Mint's facility at West Point and have the distinction of being the first pure gold (.9999 fine, 24-karat gold) coins ever struck by the U.S. Mint for public sale as an investment product. Production of these coins was authorized by the Presidential $1 Coin Act (Public Law 109-145, dated December 22, 2005) which provides for gold bullion to be minted in the form of $50 legal tender coins, conveying that the content and purity is guaranteed by the United States Government.
According to the official U.S. Mint press release on June 20, 2006:
"This American Buffalo Gold Coin will appeal to both investors who choose to hold gold and to others who simply love gold," said Deputy Director David A. Lebryk during the ceremonial striking at the United States Mint at West Point, where the coins are being produced. "These classic and beautiful American Indian and buffalo designs by James Earle Fraser [a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens], which have been American favorites since they were first used in 1913, recall a golden age of coin artistry."
[These bullion coins] portray the images of the revered Buffalo Nickel of 1913, Type 1. The iconic James Earle Fraser image of an American bison graces the reverse (tails side), and Fraser's classic design of an American Indian is featured on the obverse (heads side). The American Buffalo Gold Coin has inscriptions of the coin's weight, denomination and gold content incused on the reverse (Buffalo side) in the design area commonly known as the "grassy mound."