Giving collectors just a few more weeks to make their final purchases, sales of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins will continue until December 31, 2009, the US Mint announced on Tuesday.
These coins were originally offered on January 22 of this year and were white-hot in their first day, selling an amazing 28,173.
What makes that number even more astonishing is the fact that the Mint was enforcing a household order limit of 1 at the time. Also add in the fact that each coin cost $1,189 upon their introduction, a premium of over $300 above the melt value of the gold they contain, and you can see that interest among collectors for this coin has been high.
In less than a week following their release, another 13,491 coins had been sold bringing the total to 41,664. At this point and into the summer, sales started to level off, rarely reaching over 1,000 during any given week.
But, then in July, the Mint raised the order limit from one to ten, and once again sales jumped. The Mint made two more adjustments to the order limits with the last one removing the restriction completely on September 21st. As of the Mint’s most recent sales figures, 108,794 have been sold to date (as of Dec. 12).
Nostalgia may be the biggest driving force behind the intense interest. The design is based on the original work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens from the early 1900’s. Fulfilling then President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt’s wishes, Saint-Gaudens set about the task of re-designing American gold coins. Saint-Gaudens 1907 $20 gold piece, also known as the Double Eagle, emerged from the process and is thought by many to be the most beautiful coin ever minted in the United States.
One the obverse of the coin, Saint-Gaudens placed the mythical figure of Liberty, striding forward with a torch leading the way in her right hand, and an olive branch in her left hand. On the reverse, Saint-Gaudens used the image of a young eagle flying during a sunrise.
There was only one major problem with the 1907 Double Eagle. The artist had intended an ultra high relief on the coin (also known as extremely high relief), and the first strikes were created according to his plans. However, the minting processes of the day did not make an ultra high relief coin practical. Accordingly, the Mint reduced the relief and produced versions of this low-relief design until 1933.
With 102 years of technical advancement over the processes available during Saint-Gaudens’ time, the US Mint was now able to create the design originally he desired.
The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles are struck to a diameter of 27mm from 24-karat .9999 fine gold.
Each coin comes encapsulated and mounted in a velvet-lined mahogany wood box that is inscribed with a font similar to what the Mint would have used in the early 1900’s.
Also included with each coin (and only available as part of each UHR purchase) is a hard-cover book that tells the story of the original $20 1907 Double Eagle gold piece as well as the modern day processes that made this unique piece available.
Orders for the 2009 UHR Gold Coin will be taken until 3 PM (Eastern) on December 31, 2009. No household limit is in place.
Those wishing to purchase the coin may do so via US Mint website (http://www.usmint.gov/), or by calling their toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
For additional information on the coin and its history, follow the US Mint page at http://usmint.gov/mint_programs/ultrahigh/.
Minting of the UHR is limited to only this year.