By Steve Roach
One issue that
continues to generate heat in the current market
is the 2009 Ultra High Relief gold $20 coin.
Several collectors have asked me questions to
the effect of: Now that anyone can buy 10 of
these, how does someone make money on them? Why
were dealers paying $60 premiums at the August
American Numismatic Association convention in
Los Angeles for coins that are available
directly from the Mint?
Both are good questions.
When released in January, the coins were priced
at $1,189 and limited to one per household. When
collectors began receiving them, dealers would
eagerly buy them for $1,600 to $1,650 for the
first several months as the limited quantities
prevented dealers from gathering the sizeable
quantities necessary for large promotions.
"First Strike" and "Early Release" designations,
available only for coins submitted to the
grading services within the first 30 days of
release, added an urgency. (UHR coins with these
two designations trade for premiums.) Shipping
delays from the Mint placed further pressure on
The Mint announced in July that it was
increasing the ordering limit to 10 per
household and at the ANA show, 2,487 were sold
over the counter at the Mint booth for $1,289
each and quickly resold on the bourse floor to
several wholesalers for $1,350. Those dealers
then submitted the coins to the grading
The Mint took great care in producing these
coins, and nearly 70 percent of those certified
by Professional Coin Grading Service have been
graded Mint State 70.
Despite the commonness of perfection in these
coins, MS-70 examples have sold for more than
$3,000 on eBay, and now are trading on the site
for between $1,700 and $2,000.
With PCGS and Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
certifying the majority of the UHR coins MS-70,
and with MS-70 coins still commanding a hefty
profit, a collector who submits coins to a
grading service can clear a healthy profit if
the averages work in his or her favor and some
of the coins submitted receive MS-70 grades.
But with available quantities increasing,
collectors should not bet on the premiums for
MS-70 coins staying as high as they are now.