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.
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.]