American Buffalo, Meet the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle (2009)

I think tonight is my night to catch up on topics that I haven’t blogged about in a while.   Why not add gold coins to the list?

If you haven’t followed the news, the financial crisis has led to a significant increase in demand for gold bullion coins.  Demand has been so high, in fact, that the US Mint temporarily stopped selling the 0.9999 pure gold American Buffalo coins.  As per the US Mint press release:

Demand has exceeded supply for American Buffalo 24-Karat Gold One-Ounce Bullion Coins, and our inventories have been depleted. We are, therefore, temporarily suspending sales of these coins.

Much of this demand has now shifted to the Canadian Maple Leaf coins, which are in limited supply, but still available.

Browsing the US Mint website, I noticed the following information for the new, 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, debuting in January.

Next January, the United States Mint will issue the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. This coin promises to fulfill Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ vision of an ultra high relief coin that could not be realized in 1907 with his legendary Double Eagle liberty design.

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Obverse
2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Obverse

The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin will show the Nation and the world the very best the United States Mint has to offer. The 21st century vision of the United States Mint, combined with technological advances, enabled the United States Mint to realize the previously unattainable goal of making the coin accessible to all Americans.

Through 21st century technology and the vision of Director Ed Moy, original Saint-Gaudens coin plasters were digitally mapped by the United States Mint. Using the digital design and die-making process, the Saint-Gaudens sculpture — in ultra high relief — has been updated to reflect the year 2009, an additional four stars to represent the current 50 states, and the inscription “In God We Trust,” which was not on the 1907 version.

It does look like a gorgeous coin.  But do we really need:

  • The 22K Gold Eagle, in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 oz. varieties, in proof and uncirculated versions
  • The 24K Gold Buffalo, in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 oz. varieties, in proof and uncirculated versions
  • The 24K Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, in 1 oz.
  • The 1/2 ounce Presidential Spouse coins, at a rate of 4 per year

The problem with collecting gold coins is that, well, they are pretty expensive.  With gold between $800 and $900 an ounce these days,  you can imagine the ongoing cost of trying to complete these series and collecting the different versions.

The new Ultra High Relief Double Eagles do look extremely interesting.  I hope to see one in person when they debut in 2009.

4 thoughts on “American Buffalo, Meet the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle (2009)

  1. Subsequent to the Gold Buffalo suspension, the US Mint announced that they would be halting production of some gold and platinum eagle bullion coins for the remainder of the year.

    This was an unprecedented move for the Mint to basically give up on trying to meet market demand for bullion coins.

  2. Pingback: 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Available on Thursday, 1/22 « Psychohistory

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