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Dream fulfilled; now we just count

Six months after the US. Mint began selling the Ultra-High-Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 gold pieces, it will increase the number of coins collectors can order from one coin per household to 10.

The new limit becomes effective July 27 at noon Eastern Daylight Time.

This step is both logical and expected. Anybody who wanted to get one has had the opportunity buy one since the coins went on sale Jan. 22. Anyone who might have wanted to attempt to corner the market amid the excitement of the initial release has been prevented from doing so.

With roughly 70,000 sold, the coin is fairly widely distributed for something priced at $1,289. But in a way it is a ticket into the dreams of the artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens who died in 1907, and President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt wondered why a great nation at the beginning of the 20th century could not create a coinage to equal the beauty of what was produced over 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece.

Collectors know that it wasn’t ability that was lacking. It was bankers and merchants who killed the high-relief idea.

These coins are simply impractical. They do not stack. They do not slide easily across the counter. The high points would look vandalized very quickly under such conditions. (And wear reduces the actual gold weight of the coin.)

So the original Saint-Gaudens $20 design remained an unsatisfied dream of many collectors for 100 years. Mint Director Ed Moy shared the dream and made it come true.

Am I getting too dreamy here as well? Well, a work of numismatic art can do that.

There. Back to counting. If you want 10, your wait is nearly over.

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