One of the most sought after coins released by the United States Mint last year was the 2009 Ultra High Relief $20 Double Eagle Gold Coin.
These Ultra High Relief (UHR) strikes were so desired that an amazing 28,173 flew off US Mint's shelves in the very first day of availability (January 22, 2009). And that was with a one per household order limit in place. They sold for $1,189. That accounted for a premium of almost $330 over the then current spot price of the one ounce of gold they contained. But that would prove to be a bargain when gold continued to climb the rest of the year.
By the 31st of December, the last day in which the Mint was accepting orders for the UHRs, their $1,489 purchase price was the highest it had been all year -- exactly three hundred dollars over where they started. Final sales figures show a total of 115,178 were sold. Now, the only place to purchase the gold pieces is from the secondary market. Not surprisingly, prices have not gone down. Graded examples are higher than ever.
The 2009 Ultra High Relief (UHR) Double Eagle Gold coin was launched by the United States Mint on Jan. 22, 2009. It was the most talked about gold coin of the year.
The 24-karat, .9999 fine gold piece was digitally reproduced from Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original ultra high relief 1907 Double Eagle. The modern versions equaled the beauty of the original strikes, and elicited buying action from those who could justify the expense.
Coin collectors were given until 3 PM ET on Dec. 31, 2009 to place an order for the one-year-only issue. How many were sold through 2009 is now known. A US Mint spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that the final sales number is 115,178.
The UHR $20s were originally offered on January 22, 2009. They were white-hot in their first day, with a blazing 28,173 sold. What makes that number more astonishing is the fact that the Mint had a household order limit of one in place. And at the $1,189 price upon their introduction, representing a premium of over $300 above the melt value of the gold within each coin, the picture of demand becomes more impressive.
Demand for almost every numismatic product fell according to the latest US Mint weekly sales report. In fact, just analyzing the raw numbers show a drop of over 70,000 total items from the prior week. Nearly every gold coin and all US mint proof and uncirculated sets retreated.
This is not completely surprising, however, as the previous week saw well above average demand for most coins. Also, demand for gold products has declined as the price of the precious metal has fallen. It is down nearly $70 from its peak of just a few weeks ago, and the Mint's prices were only adjusted this Wednesday for the decline. Accordingly, overall sales of the Mint's gold containing products (First Spouse Gold Coins, the American Buffalo Gold Coin, and Ultra High Relief $20 Double Eagle) should rise again in the near term.
A few highlights of the weekly sales report:
The 2009 American Platinum Eagle Proof Coins sold out last week after having reached the maximum mintage of 8,000 units. The sell-out was not unexpected as the Eagle Proofs are the only platinum issues available from the Mint this year. No uncirculated or fractional platinums were struck since they were removed from the Mint's portfolio last year. Also, the Mint announced in October that no platinum bullions would be minted in 2009.
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.
The latest US Mint sales report shows stronger demand for proof and uncirculated sets, higher interest in all silver coins, and opening figures for three recently released products.
In a quick review of the new products:
7,207 of the allotted 8,000 American Platinum Eagle Proof Coins were purchased by collectors in four days. In contrast, the Mint sold 4,769 of the one ounce 2008-dated coins through all of last year. Given that the new eagles are the only platinum option available from the Mint this year -- no bullion versions, fractional sizes, etc. -- it seems likely they will sell out, and soon.
Northern Mariana Islands quarters in bags and rolls were released on Nov. 30. While the 1000-coin bags are not as strong as the opening numbers for the prior US Virgin Islands quarter, the 100-coin bags and two-roll sets are selling slightly better. Now that collectors have learned that the new quarters have the lowest mintages of any in decades, it would seem logical for short term demand to remain strong.
Margaret Taylor First Spouse Gold Coins went on sale Dec. 3. Opening numbers have the proofs at 1,791 and the uncirculated options at 1,048. They beat the inaugural sales of the September released Sarah Polk First Spouse Coins, which came in at 1,684 and 921.
The newest US Mint sales report is reminiscent of last week's, with few notables outside of bullion coins. Collectors were more stingy in their spending, or perhaps they simply stepped away from the buying table during the Thanksgiving holiday week.
In a change from the prior report that showed most US Mint coin sets had better than normal gains, only three stood out in this round -- the 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters Set, the 2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set and the 2009 US Mint Uncirculated Set.
The 2009 Mint Set screamed the loudest, marking a two-week winning streak. Sales dramatically popped above 600,000 thanks to a huge weekly jump of 28,613 -- more than 9,000 above the previous increase.