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Melt on 2009 Saint-Gaudens UHR Tops Purchase Price
By Bob Van Ryzin, Coins Magazine
June 06, 2011

This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine.
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Gold continues its upward march as this is being written. It is at $1,504 now, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how high or how low it will be by the time this issue arrives in subscribers’ hands and appears on newsstands across the nation.

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In 2009, when I decided to purchase one of the Mint’s reproductions of the Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold $20s, I didn’t imagine it would be worth more now as bullion than it cost. Of course, the collector value on this piece is much higher than its melt value, but having purchased my example among the first wave of buyers, before the Mint increased its price, I paid just under $1,200.

At the time, gold wasn’t cheap. An ounce was selling in the range of $850. I remember thinking that besides the collector value, which would be decided by how many were minted and how much demand there was for the coin, it was nice to know that, in containing an ounce of gold, it also had a strong bullion backing. If bullion stayed at the $850 mark, I was risking only around $350.

However, I didn’t really make the purchase as an investment, but as a collector and a fan of history. I’ve written about Augustus Saint-Gaudens on a number of occasions; visited Aspet in Cornish, N.H., Saint-Gaudens’ home; photographed the “Victory” on his “Sherman Monument” in New York; and admired high relief specimens of his gold $20 at many a coin show.

This, I knew, was likely to be my only chance to afford an example for my collection. Plus, as I said, there’s the history aspect of it. As longtime readers of this magazine are aware, relatives of Saint-Gaudens’ model for Liberty on the coin have written for this publication and its sister publication, Numismatic News, about their family connection with this famed gold coin. They are good friends, and this adds to my interest in all of Saint-Gaudens’ works.

So, even if gold continues to rise, this is one piece of precious metal that will stay in its current form.

Happy collecting.



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Comments
On June 7, 2011 Mr. Ree said
I waited until the last hour of the last day The Mint offered the UHR.. 12/31/1999.. at that point, the price was $1489.00.. it was a tough decision to part with more than a month's rent for the coin, and sure, I could've saved a couple Franklins by buying it earlier in the year.. but I wanted one direct from the source.. I didn't want to pay a premium buying someone else's un-opened one on eBay, or, even worse, buying someone's opened one.. still, I'm glad I bought it.. mostly.. as I type this, Gold is at $1543.00, and,  even a raw UHR in OGP is worth close to double its Bullion value.. if I give it to NGC for slabbing and get a "Prooflike" (which I think it is, but, only owning one, I have nothing to compare it to, except photos of PLs).. it'd be worth triple what I paid for it.. the UHR has a lot going for it.. a one-year-only coin, one of the most beautiful things the US Mint has ever made, and the highly-polished wood case looks like something you'd see in a museum.. I wish the Mintage was lower than 115,000 and change, but that's still not an enormous number.. hopefully, it'll continue to escalate in value, whether Gold holds its current level, continues to go up, or even goes down, but no one really knows what Gold (or Silver, for that matter).. are going to do..

Thanks for the interesting article..
On June 7, 2011 Mr. Ree said
Of course, I meant to type "12/31/2009", the last day The Mint sold the UHR.. sorry.. had a senior moment there.. you know Senior Moment, don't you?.. He sells $10.00 tacos at the snack counters at coin shows ;-) ..

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