An earlier year Senate bill calling for .995 pure palladium one-ounce UHR $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins was joined by a House version introduced Thursday, July 30, by Rep. Dennis Rehberg [R-MT]. Both bills seek to produce "coins in palladium to provide affordable opportunities for investments in precious metals."
House Resolution 3405, the Original Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Ultra-High Relief Bullion Coin Act of 2009, is nearly identical to the same named Senate bill, S. 758, brought forward by Sen. Max Baucus [D-MT] on April 1.
The legislation states the coins must "bear exact replicas of the original obverse and reverse designs by Augustus Saint-Gaudens which appear on the famous 27-millimeter version of the 1907 Double Eagle ultra-high relief gold piece and the edge of the coin shall have all appropriate raised lettering in the same manner as the original coin."
H.R. 3405 would have the Mint strike up to 15,000 of the $20 gold coins in both proof an uncirculated options. The legislation mandates that these collector coin may:
- Only be minted in 2009
- "Only be struck at the United States Mint at West Point, New York"
- "Not be minted in fractional sizes
H.R. 3405 also states that if "a gold bullion coin that bears the same design as the ultra-high-relief numismatic coins is issued," the palladium coin "may only be issued in a set containing 1 of each such coins," and in a " presentation case of appropriate design."
Additionally, the bill calls for annual bullion investment versions with mintage levels determined by the Secretary of Treasure. Interestingly, West Point would be prohibited from producing them.
Finally, the palladium used within the coins would be restricted to deposits mined in the United States, which would be a significant boon to Montana’s Stillwater Mining Company — the only US producer of palladium.
"There are more than thirteen-hundred Montanans at Stillwater Mine right now who are worried because the government-controlled General Motors yanked the contract that feeds their families out from under them," Rep. Dennis Rehberg stated Friday.
"This bill won’t replace the GM contract, but by creating a new bullion coin, minted from a resource produced solely in our backyard, we can increase demand to provide a boost for Stillwater at a time when they really need one."
"The proposed legislation which would create an Ultra-High Relief Saint-Gaudens palladium bullion coin is terribly exciting for the men and women of the Stillwater Mining Company of Montana who proudly produce palladium from the extraordinarily majestic Beartooth Mountains immediately north of Yellowstone National Park," commented Frank McAllister, Chairman & CEO of the Stillwater Mining Company.
Modern UHR $20 gold pieces were launched in early 2009 with an average price of over $1200 per coin. Despite a sizable collector base that has been chased away by the cost, the coins have been extremely popular. The US Mint sold 28,173 on launch day and 40,727 within the first four days.
Palladium is a precious metal like gold, but vastly less expensive. An ounce of palladium has ranged from $185 to $268 between early January and the morning of this writing. In contrast, an ounce of gold has ranged from $926 to $960 during the same time frame.
Both the House and Senate bills are within respective committees awaiting some action. Similar bills were introduced in each house last year. The House version passed, but the legislation stalled in the Senate. The measure died with the conclusion of the 110th Congress. For any coin legislation to become law, it must pass both in the House and Senate, and get signed by the President.