U.S. Coin Price Guide

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Making money on UHRs
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 supply.

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 services.

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.


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