The United States Mint released the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar on June 7, 2001. In just three weeks, the Mint declared a complete sell-out of the strikes.
Interest in these commemorative silver coins can be attributed directly to the fact that the designs contained on them are considered by many to be among the most beautiful ever produced on an American coin. They were taken from the circulating 1913-1938 nickel designed by artist James Earle Fraser commonly known as either the "Buffalo Nickel" or the "Indian Head Nickel."
The coins were authorized by the American Buffalo Coin Commemorative Coin Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-375). This act was sponsored in Congress by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK).
These commemorative silver dollars were struck to both proof and uncirculated condition with a maximum mintage of only 500,000 across all product options. 50,000 of the uncirculated coins were included in a special American Buffalo Coinage & Currency Set which also included a replica of the 1899 $5 Silver Certificate featuring a likeness of Ta-to’-ka-in’-yna-ka (also known as Running Antelope) of the Sioux tribe.
Silver Dollar Information
Each of these American Buffalo Silver Dollars was struck from 90% silver to a diameter of 1.5 inches – standard specifications for a commemorative silver dollar from the United States Mint. The proof coins were struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia whereas the uncirculated strikes were produced at the US Mint’s facility in Denver.
The obverse contains James Earle Fraser’s portrait of a Native American. The portrait is said to be a composite of three Indian Chiefs. Also shown are the inscriptions of LIBERTY, 2001 and the artist’s initial of ‘F’.
On the reverse, an image of an American Buffalo, also known as a bison, is shown. The design was also completed by noted artist James Earle Fraser. Included as well are the inscriptions of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GOD WE TRUST, E PLURIBUS UNUM, ONE DOLLAR and the mintmark of either ‘P’ for Philadelphia or ‘D’ for Denver.
Also issued in 2001 by the US Mint was the 2001 Capitol Visitor Center Silver Dollar.
2001 American Buffalo Silver Dollar Coin Specifications
|Composition:||90% silver, 10% copper|
|Total Estimated Mintage:||272,869 Proof, 227,131 Uncirculated|
|Minting Facility:||Philadelphia (P), Denver (D)|
|Obverse Design:||Portrait of a Native American|
|Obverse Designer:||James Earle Fraser|
|Reverse Design:||Image of an American Buffalo|
|Reverse Designer:||James Earle Fraser|