2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold
images were unveiled for modern Augustus Saint-Gaudens’
1907 Double Eagle coins just months ago. Now
2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins
are in production at West Point, the United
States Mint announced Monday. With that,
everything is in stride for an early 2009
release that is sure to delight coin collectors.
"This gold ultra high relief coin, evoking
Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ 1907 Double Eagle with
Liberty striding forward, is one of the world’s
most beautiful coins," Director Moy told the
"The United States Mint is proud to render the
vision of President Theodore Roosevelt and
Augustus Saint-Gaudens in a way that honors our
past and raises the bar for the future.
One hundred years from now, I believe the 2009
Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin will be
remembered as the birth of the greatest American
century in coin-making history."
The $20 denominated collector coins are minted
in 24-karate gold, have a diameter of 27
millimeters, and are 50 percent thicker than
other U.S. one-ounce coins.
The gold pieces are set for an unlimited mintage
and will be sold only in 2009, unless inventory
remains for 2010. In 2010, palladium versions of
the famous design will be struck should the
Original Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Ultra-High
Relief Palladium Bullion Coin Act become law.
The first coin struck will be placed in the
National Museum of American History of the
Smithsonian Institution. The second is to be an
addition to the United States Mint’s heritage
Background for the Saint-Gaudens design
The Saint-Gaudens double-eagle coin history is
intriguing. The Mint provides the following
"Maintaining the full artistic integrity of the
Saint-Gaudens design was an arduous undertaking
in 1907. The United States Mint’s first
attempt-a 34-millimeter ultra-high relief coin
with Roman numerals-required the coins to be
‘squeezed’ into a press and annealed numerous
times. The coining process was impractical for
mass production, and approximately 19 coins of
this variety are known to exist. These coins are
now mostly in private ownership.
The United States Mint’s second attempt to
produce Saint-Gaudens’ design-a 27 millimeter,
ultra-high relief coin with Roman numerals-was
in fact two $10 Gold Eagle planchets melded
together. The resulting coins were twice as
thick. The United States Mint had no authority
to strike coins of this specification in 1907,
so it melted all but two or perhaps three of
The United States Mint’s third attempt-a
high-relief, 34-millimeter coin with Roman
numerals-produced a coin with reduced relief
that required less metal flow to fill the design
and was more practical for mass production.
Approximately 12,000 coins were made for
collection. Later, in 1907, an additional
361,000 coins with Arabic numerals and a lower
relief were produced for circulation.
None of the 1907 variants bore the inscription,
"In God We Trust." The inscription, added in
1908, appears on the coin’s reverse directly
above the sun. Production of the Saint-Gaudens
$20 Gold Double Eagle continued until 1932.
Production of the 1933 $20 Gold Double Eagle
ceased, and only one was ever lawfully issued -
some 70 years later."
Design changes, coin price to be determined
As approved by Treasury Secretary Paulson, the
new coin will have several modern elements. The
obverse will feature 50 stars, instead of the
original 46 stars on the obverse ("heads" side),
which represented the 46 states in the Union in
It also includes the inscription "In God We
Trust" in the same position as 1908, when the
inscription first appeared with this design.
Additionally, a small border was added for a
more consistent edge.
A price has not yet been set for the 2009 Ultra
High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. According to
the Mint, it will depend "in part, on prevailing
world gold prices" at the time they go on sale.