The order limit for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece was raised from one per household to 10 effective at noon Eastern Daylight Time July 27.
Since sales began Jan. 22, collectors have purchased 70,385 of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ masterpiece.
That is a large number when considering that the issue price has been fluctuating weekly around the $1,289 level that was in effect as this story was written. That means collectors have spent nearly $90 million to purchase the coins so far.
In addition to its greater relief and struck-up detail, the UHR coin has a smaller diameter than a standard $20 coin – 27mm as opposed to 34mm. It is also 1.5 times the thickness of a standard $20.
The original design was modified for the UHR coin to add more stars to reflect the current 50 states as compared to 46 when the coin was first envisioned.
The original order limit was implemented by the U.S. Mint to assure the widest possible distribution of the coins to all collectors who wanted one.
At the six-month mark with sales creeping along at less than 1,000 coins a week, that goal has been met.
Even though the design was the fulfillment of a dream by President Theodore Roosevelt to have a modern coinage to rival that of ancient Greece, the demands of banking and commerce prevailed and a far lower relief was needed to allow the coins to stack on countertops.
The original Saint-Gaudens $20 series was struck 1907-1933. In the latter year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recalled all U.S. gold coins and took the country off the gold standard.