United States Mint to Recreate a Masterpiece : The High Relief Double Eagle Gold ! March 13, 2008
WASHINGTON - United States Mint Director Ed Moy announced
at a meeting today of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee
that the agency plans to recreate what many have called the
nation's most beautiful coin ever minted-Augustus Saint-Gaudens'
original ultra-high relief Liberty $20 Gold Piece. The design
will be featured on a collectible 24-karat coin intended for
sale to the public in 2009. In preparing to mint this coin,
the United States Mint will test the development of the second
variation of Saint-Gaudens' design, the 27-millimeter, ultra-high
relief coin with Roman numerals.
"We want to spur the highest level of artistic excellence
in American coin design," said Director Moy. "Recreating
thousands of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' ultra-high relief Double
Eagles will be a defining moment in American coinage."
President Theodore Roosevelt selected Augustus Saint-Gaudens
to improve the designs on the nation's coinage, and the sculptor's
first task was redesigning gold coins.
Maintaining the full artistic integrity of the Saint-Gaudens
design was an arduous undertaking in 1907. The United States
Mint's first attempt-a 34-millimeter ultra-high relief coin
with Roman numerals-required the coins to be squeezed'
into a press and annealed numerous times. The coining process
was impractical for mass production, and approximately 19
coins of this variety are known to exist. These coins are
now mostly in private ownership.
The United States Mint's second attempt to produce Saint-Gaudens'
design-a 27 millimeter, ultra-high relief coin with Roman
numerals-was in fact two $10 Gold Eagle planchets melded together.
The resulting coins were twice as thick. The United States
Mint had no authority to strike coins of this specification
in 1907, so it melted all but two or perhaps three of these
The United States Mint's third attempt-a high-relief, 34-millimeter
coin with Roman numerals-produced a coin with reduced relief
that required less metal flow to fill the design and was more
practical for mass production. Approximately 12,000 coins
were made for collection. Later, in 1907, an additional 361,000
coins with Arabic numerals and a lower relief were produced
None of the 1907 variants bore the inscription, "In
God We Trust." The inscription, added in 1908, appears
on the coin's reverse directly above the sun. Production of
the Saint-Gaudens $20 Gold Double Eagle continued until 1932.
Production of the 1933 $20 Gold Double Eagle ceased, and only
one was ever lawfully issued - some 70 years later. The new
coin will have the inscription "In God We Trust"
in the same position as 1908, when the inscription first appeared
with this design.
A variation of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle has been in
production for the American Eagle Gold Coin product line since