H.R. 5614

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.

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Palladium Saint-Gaudens mock-upOn May 15, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5614, an act “To authorize the production in palladium of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins as ultra-high relief numismatic coins and bullion investment coins in order to provide affordable opportunities for investments in precious metals, and for other purposes.”

Palladium is a silver-white precious metal that is directly above platinum and to the left of silver in the Periodic Table of Elements. Generally speaking, the price of palladium is half that of gold.

The template for the coins is that of the 1907 ultra-high relief Augustus Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful gold coins made in the history of U.S. coinage. The Treasury authorized issuance of a one-ounce gold version of this coin in 2009.

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Last month U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy announced plans to recreate the famed Saint-Gaudens coin in 24-karat gold for 2009. That gold coin could potentially be supplemented or even replaced by the creation of a less expensive palladium version.

Palladium Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle ultra-high

There is new legislation on the table to recreate the coin in palladium—a silver-white precious metal that is directly above platinum and to the left of silver in the Periodic Table of Elements.

The Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ designed coins are thought by many to be the most beautiful ever minted in the U.S. At the time of the announcement for the planned gold recreation of the coin, Mint Director Moy commented,

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