Palladium Ultra High Relief Coins Come Back, S. 758

by Mike Unser on April 3, 2009 · 4 comments

Legislation has been reintroduced in the Senate that would authorize the United States Mint to produce Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief bullion coins in palladium.

Palladium Ultra High Relief Coin Mock-up

Details are sparse since the legislation has yet to be published by the Government Printing Office (GPO). The bill, S. 758, was only introduced Wednesday.

History, however, provides insights. Senators Max Baucus [D-MT] and Jon Tester [D-MT] sponsored S. 758 and they also introduced S. 2924 for the same purpose last year. That bill was similar to an earlier and unanimously passed House version, H.R. 5614. The Senate failed to take action on either before the new year, and both died with the end of the 110th congress.

The previous bills would have authorized one-ounce proof and uncirculated palladium coins that were digital reproductions of the famed Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ designed 1907 $20 Double Eagle — often described as the most beautiful coin ever minted in the U.S.

Buyers of the gold 2009 Ultra High Relief $20 Double Eagles can attest to the beauty and detail of that 1907 design. During the first day of Ultra High Relief sales alone, the US Mint sold 28,173. Despite the over $1200 price tag for one, the latest Mint sales figures show 56,527 have been purchased.

After holding the modern $20 Double Eagle gold piece and experiencing its sharp detail and stunning beauty, more than one collector would quickly snap up chocolate versions at a candy store, let alone coins in palladium. The high-relief design is that amazing.

Should the legislation become law, there is a solid chance the coin will experience far more demand than the 2009 gold piece. Why? Palladium is a silver-white precious metal that is directly above platinum and to the left of silver in the Periodic Table of Elements. While the typical coin collector may not like the palladium color over gold, they will absolutely appreciate palladium’s less expensive price.

When the bills were introduced last year, palladium prices had been tracking for several years for about half that of gold. Today and for the last several months, the disparity is far more ranging. Gold has been 4-5 times higher. As an example, today’s gold spot price is $905.00 an ounce. Palladium, on the other hand, is just $221 an ounce.

A world renowned coin design struck from a precious metal and under $300 in price? Ultra High Relief Palladium coin sales could… no should, be as spectacular as the design.

[Editor's update: The GPO on Monday published the text of S.758, Original Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Ultra-High Relief Bullion Coin Act of 2009. The coin legislation is the 10th introduced in 2009.]

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mAximo April 27, 2009 at 11:27 am

I’ve heard that in China ‘white gold’ refers to platinum. Palladium deserves that distinction instead.
It has identical physical working properties as gold, while at least for now, costing less than white gold in the jewelry trade – that should be called ‘faux white gold’.
Palladium isn’t brittle like platinum, nor does it need a rhodium coating against discoloration.
So it makes sense to sell set of a palladium and gold St Gaudens, as a marketing tactic for palladium as the true ‘white gold’.
However, it seems like they placed more emphasis on it being a substitute for silver that will keep its color.

Scott April 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I truly hope this doesn’t get passed. Don’t get me wrong it would be just fine to produce most any other coin in Palladium, just not the UHR Eagle. St Gaudens would roll over in his grave. It’s almost as demeaning as to product it in Silver.

Please keep this coin which I view as the most important coin to come out of the US Mint since the halt of circulated gold coins period!.

My 2 cents.

mAximo May 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm

What’s more demeaning is to mint the 2009 Gold UHR Eagle as $20 rather than $50 – or even $100,esp. now that platinum is down to its historic spread with respect to gold. I’d prefer to see no modern $20 one-ounce gold coins whatsoever, if the Pd versions are to have a nominal value of $20.

richard perrier July 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm

hi coin news i was reading your web page on how or maybe that congress might produce a new PALLADIUM ultra high relief st gaudens $20 dollar double eagle. i bought the new gold st gaudens ultra high relief and that is one BEAUTIFUL coin. now hopefully congress will alow the new palladium double eagle. i know one thing i will be right there to buy a few. well thank you for having a awsome coin news articles such as this. i keep learning more and more. again thanks rick

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