2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Preview
In January 2009 the US Mint intends to release the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. Out of all of next years announced releases, this coin seems to have garnered the most interest. The coin will recreate Augustus Saint Gaudens' original 1907 design for an ultra high relief double eagle coin.
This post will provide a summary of events surrounding the coin, description of design modifications from the original, and some predictions and opinions about the pricing and release of the coins.
Summary of Events
The upcoming coin was first announced by US Mint Director Edmund Moy at a CCAC meeting on March 13, 2008. From the outset, it was billed as the recreation of the "nation's most beautiful coin."
The designs for the recreation were officially unveiled on July 30, 2008 following the opening ceremony for the ANA World's Fair of Money in Baltimore. The coins were part of a four case, museum-like exhibit at the United States Mint's booth.
The first of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles were struck at the West Point Mint on November 24, 2008. The first coin struck was sent to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. The second coin struck was retained by the US Mint as an addition to their heritage assets.
The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle will be struck in .9999 fine gold. The coins will have a diameter of 27 millimeters and a thickness of 4 millimeters. This is will make the coins thicker than other one ounce gold coins. The coins will be issued only as a business strike and will not be available in proof version.
There will be a number of design modifications from the original. On the obverse, the date will be changed to "MMIX" to represent next year's date in Roman Numerals. The number of stars will be increased from 46 to 50, to represent the current number of US States. On the reverse, the motto "In God We Trust" has been added between the sun and its rays. Both sides of the coin will have a small border to create a more consistent edge.
Raised lettering will be used on the edge of the coin. The motto "E Pluribus Unum" will appear with stars between each letter.
The US Mint has not yet announced pricing and ordering options for the upcoming coin. In their most recently released public statement, the US Mint stated that pricing would be "based on production, packaging, and other related costs, as well as the prevailing price of precious metals at the time."
In my opinion, the coins will be priced at a premium to the Mint's other one ounce gold offerings. The most recent prices for the US Mint's collectible uncirculated one ounce Gold Eagle and Gold Buffalo were $974.95 and $999.95. Assuming the price of gold remains around the same level, my guess would be that the price for the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle would be around $1,100, if not more.
(Update: Based on info posted in the thread on Coin Network, it looks like the price might be as much as $1,200!)
Availability and Release
The US Mint intends to strike the coins to demand. That means that the US Mint will strike coins in whatever quantity is necessary to fulfill orders for the new coin, allowing for a theoretically unlimited mintage. The coins are expected to be available in January 2009 and orders will be accepted throughout the entire year.
Personally, I am a little bit skeptical about the smooth release of these coins.
On the bullion coin side, the US Mint has had numerous recent problems keeping pace with demand. This has resulted in several sales suspensions, and an ongoing allocation program for available products. The US Mint also publicly stated that they would prioritize production of bullion coins over collector coins. This is likely what is behind the unavailability 2008 Proof Silver Eagle and the low inventory levels for collector Platinum Eagle and Gold Buffalo coins which have contributed to quick sell outs.
Additionally, the US Mint intends to obtain blanks needed to produce the new coins from Gold Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Western Australian government, the operators of the Perth Mint. The Perth Mint was recently forced to suspend all orders for bullion products for nearly a two month duration. Their explanation for the suspension was current catch phrase of "unprecedented demand" for gold and silver bullion products.
If Gold Corp is having trouble supplying their parent company, there are bound to be similar or perhaps more severe problems supplying external customers like the US Mint. A recent article in Coin World mentioned that the US Mint's initial order of blanks from Gold Corp has been delayed. This has already pushed back the start of full scale production for the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle.
So far, the US Mint has not indicated any changes to their planned release for the coins in January 2009. Based on some of the circumstances mentioned above, I think its possible that the US Mint might delay launch of the coin until they can build up sufficient inventory for initial orders. I also see it as possible that they may implement a household ordering limit and/or put many of the initial orders on back order.
What is your opinion on the 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle? Share your opinion on Coin Network.
Labels: Ultra High Relief