Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Household Limit

The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins have been on sale at the US Mint for nearly 12 weeks. Even though the pace of sales has slowed significantly, the one per household ordering limit remains in place.

Sales of the Ultra High Relief began on January 22, 2009. The initial pace of sales was blazing fast, with over 40,000 coins sold in the first four days. After the initial rush, the pace of sales began to slow, as I examined in this previous post. The trend has continued, with only 491 coins sold in the prior one week reporting period.

A contributing factor to the slowing pace of sales may be the the current household limit which has been in place since the start of sales. Currently, only one coin may be ordered per household. Although there are definitely some people who have gotten around the limit by enlisting the help of friends or family, it does place an ultimate barrier on demand. With the latest weekly sales down roughly 99% from the first week's sales, is it time to remove the household limit?

Greg Hernandez, Acting Director of Public Affairs at the United States Mint provided the following statements:
We are closely monitoring sales of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. At this time, the one per household limit is still in place, and we do not have a time frame for when the limit will be changed.

The purpose of the limit is to ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products.
The statements do not provide much in the way of new information, but the important thing is that removing or raising the household limit remains a possibility. In my opinion, the possibility becomes increasingly likely as the pace of sales continue to diminish. The household limit should be of interest to collectors, since it would likely squelch the booming secondary market that exists for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin.

A review of recently completed eBay auctions shows that uncertified examples of the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle are selling within a range of roughly $1,500 - $1,650. This compares to the current price at the US Mint price of $1,239. These coins carry no special distinction other than the fact that they are available for immediate purchase and delivery. (View recently completed eBay auctions.)

If the household ordering limit is raised or removed, I think the following scenario would take place: There would be an influx of orders from resellers or speculators who had previously sold the coins for a profit and believed that the premiums would continue. Once the US Mint started delivering these coins, there would be an influx of coins available on the secondary market. This influx would come at a time when buyers were finally able to purchase the coins directly from the US Mint in unrestricted quantities. This increase in supply and decrease in demand would cause secondary market prices to fall, bringing them down to the price level at the US Mint.

While it's possible that the household limit will remain in place for the rest of the year, I wouldn't count on it. If you are looking to purchase an additional Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, your best option might be to wait and see if there are any changes to the household limit before paying a premium on the secondary market.



At April 14, 2009 at 12:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be completely honest, I would gladly purchase a UHR in a moment's notice...if I knew the Mint could facilitate the shipping and handling properly.

There are far too many horror stories going on right now with the way their contractor is botching this up for them -- like shipping a UHR without signature, but requiring one for the book -- and appears the Mint is, in no way, attempting to remedy the situation anytime soon.

No thanks, I'll wait until I am assured the Mint has this problem THOROUGHLY fixed, and has REASSURED us collectors that this will not happen ever again.

Until then, I am boycotting purchases from them and will just need to be content with buying collectibles from other mints. I am quite sure I am not alone.

William H. Raven

At April 14, 2009 at 2:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than being an overpriced piece of art, what is the lure of the UHR? Even with the limit, it is not going to be rare when compared to coins from prior years.

At April 14, 2009 at 4:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "lure" of the UHR is that it is an absolute beauty. And with that, what is the "lure" of any coin???? It all boils down to ones personnel preference.

At April 14, 2009 at 5:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My coin arrived and it was damaged (it actually had a ding in the bottom rays). I returned it for exchange at a cost of $25.00 for registered mail and insurance. I received my new coin today and it wasn't much better. No ding, but it has dirt and marks in the left side field and was loose in the wood box allowing it to bounce around during shipment and causing many scratches to teh wood surface. I just can't see spending another $25 for postage and insurance. I won't purchase another. Some of the UHR coins I've seen at coin shows are just beautiful, but not mine.

At April 14, 2009 at 5:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I said, high premium "art." Brought to you by the government of the people. Are there any government restrictions against former mint employees becoming dealers?

At April 15, 2009 at 8:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Platinum Today (Johnson Matthey) is reporting:

New palladium coin bill passed in the US 14th April 2009

New legislation has been passed by the US government which will allow the Mint to produce palladium versions of Saint-Gaudens' ultra-high-relief bullion coins. In addition, the legislation states that "if a gold bullion coin that bears the same design as the ultra-high-relief numismatic coins is issued", each palladium version "may only be issued in a set containing one of each such coins". Congress has also ruled that each set of coins must be "provided in a presentation case of appropriate design" and can only be issued and sold in the specific year of passage. Senator Baucus and his co-sponsor, Senator Jon Tester, claimed in a recent press release that the palladium coins will help to create jobs and aid the battle against the economic downturn.

I would be interested on Michael's take on this. Sounds like the UHR palladium coin will be sold in a set so maybe each household can get both a single and a set version?

At April 15, 2009 at 10:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the order limit of 1 remain in place for the entire time it is made by the mint. I think it will help keep the mintage lower. If they raise the limit, then too many speculators will order multiple coins, and cause a big surplus of the coins, thus lowering their potential value over time. Even though there will always be a demand for such a beautiful coin, too much supply would limit their collector value.

At April 15, 2009 at 12:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something that seems to be overlooked (or perhaps I don't know enough about the law on the mintage of these). Remember last year's "on and off" supply of collector grade precious medal coins, and the sudden end of things before year's end? If the limit is lifted, will the mint just stop making these when their supply of gold "runs out"? Hmmmmm.

At April 15, 2009 at 5:56 PM , Anonymous Keith said...

There are no legal limits to the mintage of this coin. It was not specifically authorized by Congress, although the Mint had the authority to create it.

The Mint has stated that it will only be produced for one year, although legislation has been introduced to produce the coin in palladium in the future.

At April 15, 2009 at 8:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that the mint does not raise the limit per household (although I wish I could buy one more for my other child as a keepsake). This is a premium coin at a premium price. Lower supplies and higher demand will assure the UHR's value other than spot bullion pricing. If all that's minted is 50,000+ YTD, and maybe no more than a 100,000 for the year THEN PLEASE DON'T DESTROY THE RARITY AND VALUE like what happened in 2008 with the 2007 Reverse Proof Platinum two coin set:( being reintroduced at a lower price - just melt them down...that will create urgency with the buying public and coin dealers.

At April 16, 2009 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Michael said...

On the article from Platinum Today- as far as I know, the bill has not been passed yet. It was introduced on April 1 and referred to committee with no changes since then.

Status of the bill can be checked here:

At April 25, 2009 at 7:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are already too many UHR's minted to be truly rare. It will always be a highly prized coin because of how nice it is, but it's not rare and current pricing is starting to reflect the glut of UHR's on the market.

At June 21, 2009 at 9:10 PM , Anonymous spiff said...

Well yeah it's likley it won't be worth millions.. There are to many minted now but this coin has very large potenial..
Anyway not to get off topic but if the mint does make a paladium version they should only do a proof and mint set (NO GOLD PLEASE) keep the gold for the true coin collectors who love this coin!!! and so the value will always be high..


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