- USA Coin Book
- Gold $20 Double Eagle
- Saint Gaudens
- 1907-P : Ultra High Relief Pattern - Plain Edge - MCMVII - Unique
1907 Saint Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle : Ultra High Relief Pattern - Plain Edge - MCMVII - Unique
No Motto - In God We Trust
Metal Composition: 90% Gold - 10% Copper
Diameter: 34 mm
Mass / Weight: 33.44 grams
What this coin looks like (obverse, reverse, mint mark location, special features, etc.):
There were a few major varieties of the 1907 $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle. The rarest and most value type is known as the "Ultra High Relief" - which was the original design that Augustus Saint Gaudens intended to use for the coin. The Ultra High Relief means that the coin was struck deeply and has a deep concave bowl-like depression on both sides of the coin. This was actually a high tech and highly artistic design to enhance the 3 dimensional glow of the light reflecting off the surface of the coin. This coin is also widely regarded as "the most beautiful coin in the world ever produced".
Only 18 of the Ultra High Relief coins were produced in 3 batches. The first batch was produced between February 7-14 in which 3 coins were made - and also included the unique "Plain Edge" variety. These coins had a lettered edge with letters with stars between them: E★P★L★U★R★I★B★U★S★U★N★U★M★. Two of the coins had this style of lettered edge - although the die broke before the 3rd coin was produced and so it had a plain edge instead - not by design. The 2nd batch with 12 coins was produced from March to July and the 3rd and final batch with 3 coins was produced December 21 of 1907. These two batches had a lettered edge with stars separating each word and then a series of stars at the end: ★E★PLURIBUS★UNUM★★★★★★★★★★ . The 2nd batch had the words read when the reverse was up and the 3rd batch had the letters read when the obverse was up. All Ultra High and High Relief coins have the Roma Numerals "MCMVII" for the date (1907) - while the Low Relief coins had the normal "Arabic" 1907 date.
Ultimately - these coins had to be changed because the Ultra High Relief design was too "high tech" at the time for the dies - it took too long to strike and the dies wore out too quickly. The design was changed to a "High Relief" instead - which was easier on the dies but still posed difficulties as it required multiple strikes. Later in 1907 there were no more high relief double eagles struck because of technical difficulties and the coin was only struck in "Low Relief".
The 1907 Ultra High Relief $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle is extremely valuable - easily in the millions of dollars. Source of example image is courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries.
The difference between the Ultra High Relief vs High Relief on the obverse of the coin can be seen below. Note how the Ultra High Relief has almost no rim - very high quality details on a proof coin and deeper strike - while the non-proof High Relief has a thicker rim around the coin:
Depicted below is the difference between the Ultra High Relief vs High Relief on the reverse of the coin - again notice the high quality details and deeper strike and lack of rim on the Ultra High Relief variety:
MELT VALUE: $1217.06
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