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US Mint Recreates Saint Guaden's Masterpiece

The most highly anticipated coin in recent memory was recently released to the public. This coin is a recreation of the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle originally designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens. It was originally created for the 1907 Double Eagle, however the technology of that time did not allow the coin to be mass produced. Modern techniques have allowed the US Min to finally produce the coin as intended.

The United States Mint first announced their intentions to recreate Saint Gaudens' masterpiece during a meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee in March of 2008. The announcement was well received by the committee and the broader collecting public. Excitement for the recreation of what has been called the nation's most beautiful coin began to build.

The public's first glimpse of the new coin came in July of 2008 when it was unveiled at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money held in Baltimore, Maryland. The United States Mint's booth included a museum like exhibit of four different cases, which represent the story of the coin from raw material to finished product. In order, the display cases included six gold bars, an early pencil sketch of the design, feasibility strikes and dies, and the finished coins.

The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle was digitally reproduced from the original with a few updates. The front of the coin includes the current date of 2009 expressed in Roman Numerals. The number of stars around the border was also increased from 46 to 50 to represent the current number of states. The reverse of the coin has added the motto "In God We Trust" between the sun and its rays. The border of both sides of the coin has been widened in order to produce a consistent edge.

Each coin is struck in 24 karat gold and contains one ounce of gold. The coins have a diameter of 27 millimeters and thickness of four millimeters. Notably, this is more than 50% thicker than typical gold bullion coins. Coins will only be produced in 2009 and will have an uncirculated finish. No proof coins will be produced.

The first of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins was struck on November 24, 2008 at the West Point Mint. The Direct of the United States Mint made the ceremonial first strike. This coin was given to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. The second coin to be struck was retained by the United States Mint for their heritage assets.

The coins were available to the public on January 22, 2009. The US Mint did limit quantities that collectors could order and provided a long window for delivery time. This was done as a result of the high anticipated demand combined with possible shortages of gold blanks. The first day of sales included a rush of phone calls and internet orders that jammed lines and slowed the US Mint's website. Initial data indicates that more than 40,000 coins were sold in the first five days. The coin will continue to be offered for the remainder of 2009.

About the Author
Michael Zielinski is an internet entrepreneur and coin collector. Find more information about the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin or follow the latest news on the US Mint.

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