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Saint Gaudens Ultra High Relief Coins Resurrected in 2009

- January 19, 2009

On January 22, 2009 the U.S. Mint will resurrect what many consider to be the most beautiful and captivating design in American coinage by introducing the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle coins.

The history of this modern-day masterpiece began in 1905 when President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Smithsonian Institute and became mesmerized by the display of beautiful ancient coins and their artistically compelling designs. Roosevelt felt that American coins were "artistically of atrocious hideousness" compared to other nations' coins. And he believed a nation's coins should reflect its greatness.

As a result, Roosevelt contracted world-renowned sculptor and artist Augustus Saint Gaudens. Roosevelt asked Saint Gaudens to beautify American coinage with new and appealing artistic designs.

Saint Gaudens responded by creating the dazzling 1907 Ultra High Relief design. However, this Ultra High Relief design proved to be extremely difficult to produce as it required multiple strikes to capture the coin's full high relief details. Consequently, the U.S. Mint produced a only small quantity of these coins. Today, there are only two known examples of the 1907 Ultra High Relief coins in existence.

In a few days, the Mint will allow the public to own similar examples of the Ultra High Relief masterpieces that were originally struck in 1907. Until recently, most collectors would have never imagined they could own an Ultra High Relief coin.

The obverse of the 2009 Ultra High Relief is absolutely breathtaking, just as on its 1907 counterpart! The obverse portrays a radiant and elegant Lady Liberty as she bravely strides into the dawn of a new day. In her right hand she holds an ignited torch, and in her left hand she holds an olive branch with leaves. The reverse portrays a majestic and artistically struck eagle with its large wings stretched out in flight. Behind the eagle are the sun and illuminating rays with the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" elegantly inscribed above the sun.

The 2009 Ultra High Relief coins will have some other differences aside from the date and rarity compared to the 1907 Ultra High Relief coins. First, the 2009 coins will be composed of one full ounce of 24kt gold, opposed to being made of a mixture of gold and copper. The motto "In God We Trust" will be portrayed on the 2009 coin as opposed to not being depicted on the 1907 versions. The new coins will also display 50 stars rather than the 46 stars originally used on the 1907 version.

The 2009 Ultra High Relief coins will be available on January 22 from the United States Mint. The coins will have a set price which depends upon the spot price of gold for the day. If the spot price of gold is set at $800 - $849.99, the coins will be sold for $1,239 each. If the spot price of gold is between $850 and 899.99, the coins will be priced at $1,289 each. So, the premium for the coins would be about $390 - $430 over the spot price of gold for each coin!

PCGS will be certifying the Ultra High Relief coins and will also offer a First Strike label for coins submitted within the first 30 days from the release date.

Article provided by PCGS at

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