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Gold by several names

Memory can be a funny thing. This is especially true if I find myself heading for the bedroom or the basement to do something or retrieve something and then I momentarily forget why I headed in those directions in the first place.

A poll question that went out in Krause numismatics’ Oct. 5 e-newsletter shows that I am not the only one who has temporary memory lapses.

The question I asked was based on an astounding online auction achievement at www. Sept. 30.

It was: “An MS-70 2009 $20 Saint sold for $21,000, eight times the MS-65 price. Is it worth it?”

As you might guess, the price surprised people.

A small number seemed to become confused by the brevity forced by a need to keep the question short. There was a story in the e-newsletter that spelled out details of the coin, that is was an Ultra High Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece created in 2009 from original Saint-Gaudens plaster models.

The auction winning coin was an Professional Coin Grading Service grade of MS-70 Prooflike First Strike – a rare coin indeed with a population of 26 out of the nearly 114,427 minted.

One response I received was, “First of all it is a 2009 Eagle. It is not a Saint and no it is not rare enough to be worth the premium.”

I replied briefly, “Thanks for your response. FYI, it is a Saint.”

I expected the matter to end there, but it didn’t. I received another email.

“It is an American Eagle thank you very much.”

Uh oh, the alarm bells started sounding in my mind. I wasn’t intending to start an argument. I did not reply.

However, a few minutes later another email came in, “or did they rename them for 2009? I will confess that I have not even looked at the bullion coins from the Mint in some time, but a rose by any other name ...”

Still I did not reply.

Then three minutes later another email.

“o(r) they did rename it or did a special minting. Thanks for the update. That might change my view. How many were minted. the ultra high relief might change the color of my ‘rose.’”

I did reply to this one with, “A few more than 114,000 were minted and sold to collectors.”

In about 15 minutes the whole thing was over.

When I get to the bedroom, I usually remember to pick up my car keys or in the basement I recall it was the hammer or saw I was going there for.

So it is with coins.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."