2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin (Obverse) - Click to Enlarge

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin (Obverse) - Click to Enlarge

The highly anticipated 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin was released by the United States Mint on Jan. 22, 2009, at noon ET.

The gold piece is a digital re-creation of the famous Augustus Saint-Gaudens' 1907 $20 Double Eagle, which is often described as the most beautiful coin ever produced in American history. The modern Double Eagle, often referred to simply as the UHR, was a project US Mint Director Ed Moy envisioned and spearheaded.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was born in Ireland in 1848, but his family immigrated to the United States when he was only six months old. The arts attracted his attention at an early age, and his training included apprenticeships, classes, as well as study abroad in Europe.

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin (Reverse) - Click to Enlarge

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin (Reverse) - Click to Enlarge

His additional interest in numismatics would serve him well when President Theodore Roosevelt chose him to help redesign the coinage of the country. They both felt that the coins of the United States needed to be beautiful to showcase to the world the countries' preeminence.

However, he would only design the Indian Head $10 Eagle and the $20 Double Eagle gold pieces before his death.

Modern Double Eagle Design

The one-year issue coin is struck in 24 karat (.9999) fine gold on 27 millimeter blank that is a massive 4 millimeters thick -- more than double the thickness of other US Mint one-once coins.

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin (Edge Lettering) - Click to Enlarge

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin (Edge Lettering) - Click to Enlarge

The original 1907 design was updated for the new version to include the 2009 date, which is depicted in Roman numerals as "MMIX". Additionally, four stars were added to represent the current 50 states, and the inscription "IN GOD WE TRUST". A small border was also added to create a more consistent edge. Featured in raised lettering on the edge of the coin is the inscription "E PLURIBUS UNUM", with each letter separated by a star.

The first gold UHRs were actually minted on Nov. 24, 2008, at the US Mint facility in West Point. By the official release time, the initial issue price was set to $1,189.00, and orders were limited to one per household.

Both the price and limits would change multiple times in 2009. The price as the result of fluctuations in gold prices and the limits to "ensure the broadest and most fair access to this coin. Limits were gradually lifted from one to ten, then to 25 and finally removed completely on Sept. 21.

Sales of the UHR were immediately hot. On day one, the US Mint reported that 28,173 had sold. Collectors purchased 40,727 alone between Jan. 22 and Jan 25. The beauty of the coin served to market its success, although the US Mint also shipped brochures during the first launch month.

The first three of ten panels from the United States Mint 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Brochure

The first three of ten panels from the United States Mint 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Brochure

Price barriers and limits eventually led to slower sales, at which time the Mint started raising order limits. By the first week of September, more than 90,000 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins were sold.

The US Mint includes with the coin a high-quality hard-bound companion book that chronicles the 1907 Double Eagle story and the minting of the modern $20 gold piece.

 

2009 UHR $20 Gold Coin Specifications

Mint: United States Mint
Mintmark: W
Finish/Condition:
Metal Content: .9999 fine gold
Weight: one troy ounce (31.1035 grams)
Diameter: 27 mm
Thickness: 4 mm
Edge: Raised Lettering
Issue Date: 22 January 2009
Issue Price: $1189
Mintage Limit: based on demand
Face Value: $20
Obverse Designer/Sculptor: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Reverse Designer/Sculptor: Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Ultra High Relief Coin Resources