1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra-high-relief gold coin sells for $4.75M

Front of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold coin that sold privately for $4.75 million.

Front of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold coin that sold privately for $4.75 million.

DALLAS — One of America’s greatest coins, the 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief, has changed hands for a record $4.75 million in a private transaction between GreatCollections Coin Auctions of Irvine, California and Heritage Auctions of Dallas.

The 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief PCGS Proof-68 CAC is among the finest examples known, and last appeared in a 2007 Heritage auction where it realized $1.84 million.

“After our display of the legendary 1933 Saint-Gaudens at the ANA in August, we had been searching for a superb Ultra High Relief for the same owner as the 1933 Saint. Twenty years ago, he set his goal to own both of these coins and today he realized his dream,” said Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections, after purchasing the coin from Heritage.

Back of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold coin that sold privately for $4.75 million.

Back of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold coin that sold privately for $4.75 million.

The coin was owned by Bob R. Simpson, founder of XTO Energy and an owner of the Texas Rangers, who purchased it in 2007 for $1.84 million. Prior to  Simpson’s ownership, its pedigree includes the famed J.F. Bell and Col. E.H.R. Green collections.

“The Ultra High Relief is truly one of the most impressive rarities in numismatics, with most examples residing in the cabinets of long-term collectors. We are grateful to Mr. Simpson for giving us the opportunity to handle this treasure via private treaty, and to Ian for the seamless transaction,” said Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage.

The Ultra High Relief issue was never available to the general public or even to numismatists at the time, and nearly all known examples can be traced back directly to President Theodore Roosevelt or Chief Engraver Charles Barber. President Roosevelt had a vision in 1905 to create iconic coinage for the United States, and he enlisted Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a renowned sculptor.

The 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold coin, graded PCGS Proof-68 CAC, shown in its plastic capsule.

The 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief gold coin, graded PCGS Proof-68 CAC, shown in its plastic capsule.

Fewer than 20 of the Ultra High Relief, or Extremely High Relief, were minted and it is estimated that just 13-15 exist today. Aside from the Ultra High Relief, a High Relief version was also issued in 1907, which routinely sells for $20,000-$40,000 in low- to mid-uncirculated grades. A regular low relief issue was then used on all Double Eagles (aka $20 gold pieces) from 1907 until 1933.