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Ultra High Relief and American Liberty High Relief Gold Coins – 2009 to Present

Coin Type - Ultra High Relief U.S. coin

The United States Mint did something different and unusual in 2009. It struck a version of Augustus Saint-Gaudens famed $20 Double Eagle coin that was minted from 1907 through 1933. However, this version was a copy of the pattern that Saint-Gaudens had struck that was twice the thickness yet in a much smaller diameter. It contained the weight of the original $20 Double Eagle but in the size of a $10 Gold Eagle. Saint-Gaudens had originally struck it as a pattern of which only two are known to exist.  

The 2009 version has a flatter rim, which is unlike the sharp knife-like edge on the originals. The Mint issued this coin for just one year to demonstrate how advancements in technology could accommodate manufacturing coins of almost any size or dimension.   

The US Mint’s modern version of this coin is dated as 2009 and additional changes were that four stars were added to the rim to represent now all 50 states and the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” was also added to the rim.  

The coin is Uncirculated, but the finish is satiny rather than brilliant. These coins were housed by the Mint in mahogany box packaging and were quickly sold to the public.

The American Liberty High Relief Gold Coins are unusual in that they were not mandated by an Act of Congress. Instead, the coin was created by the authority granted to the Secretary of the Treasury. The idea was to create a more modern version of Miss Liberty, one that would reflect the nation’s diversity.  

The technology used to create the 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Eagle was used to create the 2015 American Liberty High Relief Gold coin. It features a more modern Miss Liberty holding the Torch of Freedom in her right hand and an American flag in her left hand. On the upper periphery is “LIBERTY” while the date of striking “2015,” is to the left. The Motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” graces the lower periphery. 

The reverse depicts an American Bald Eagle in flight with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” on the upper periphery, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” under the eagle, and “1 OZ. .9999FINE GOLD,” and “ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS,” in two lines on the lower periphery.  

During the 225th Anniversary of the Founding of the United States Mint, the next coin in the American Liberty High Relief Gold coin series was designed, struck, and distributed. The portrait of the new more-inclusive Goddess of Liberty was portrayed as an African American woman. This portrait was the result of defining new concepts for a more modern and more diverse representation of Miss Liberty.   

While some members of the public felt that this representation was done by the then-Obama administration, it was the purview of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee to select the design, out from thew 20 rival entries.  

The CCAC stated that the chosen design represented a “21st Century modern representation of Liberty that had emotional impact for contemporary Americans.

The obverse has Miss Liberty facing left, wearing a crown of stars, with the word “LIBERTY,” above her, and the dates “1792,” and “2017” separated by her portrait.  Below her is the phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST.” It was designed by Justin Kunz and engraved by Phebe Hemphill.  

The reverse depicts an American bald eagle in flight, flying to the right, with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” in 2 lines. Behind the eagle is “1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD,” and the denomination on the lower periphery as “100 DOLLARS.” Chris Costello designed the reverse, and it was engraved by Michael Gaudioso. The coin was struck at the West Point Minting facility and was the first high-relief coin with a proof finish ever minted by the United States Mint.  

In 2018, the exact same design was struck but, this time, it was only struck in a 1/10th Ounce size, bearing a $10.00 Face Value denomination.

For 2019, the United States Mint once again changed the design of the obverse. Again, Miss Liberty was given a different look, this one more modern still. All the mottoes and information on the obverse remained the same except for the date but Miss Liberty lost the crown of stars and now had an even more youthful appearance and had rays behind her head – almost resembling a headdress. 

The reverse eagle appears to be coming on for a landing, but it has all the same phrases and words as its predecessors.  

(A 2019-W American Liberty High Relief $100 Gold coin, Proof, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].) 

The next American Liberty High Relief gold coin came about in 2021. It was a totally different interpretation on American Liberty – now Liberty is represented symbolically instead of an allegorical interpretation of a person. The obverse depicts a wild bucking bronco, with a western style saddle, which is supposed to depict the throwing off the yoke of British King George III’s rule during the American Revolutionary war.  Behind the horse is a rising sun from which rays are emanating. The Upper periphery has the word “LIBERTY,” the date “2021,” and the phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST.”   

The reverse features a close-up view of an eagle’s face with “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” below, then in tow lines above the lower periphery are “1 OZ.  .9999 FINE GOLD $100,” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”  

All these coins were struck at the West Point minting facility, bear the “W” mintmark, and were struck in Proof condition.

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